Friday, October 23, 2015

The Study of Stuff

Decorations are slowly emerging from boxes and finding themselves nailed into the shiplap-backed walls and displayed on the heavy oak shelves. It's deeply satisfying. After I'd decorated these twin alcoves in the cavernous front room, I lit the candled votives and sat back and admired the familiar things. Isn't it strange how having our things around us is so comforting? It shouldn't be, but it is. It just is.

It doesn't take much, in my opinion, to decorate a space. It certainly doesn't take much money. The above is a collection of odd things: framed pictures from my siblings; a well-loved, limited edition run of Ethan Frome that I found in an antique store for three dollars; inherited candlesticks; old books from library sales; junk sale platters and candle holders from Target. It's a mish-mash, but it works for me.

I know my style wouldn't work for most everyone. I have friends who wouldn't be caught dead with a framed feather from one of their chickens... or my "moldy oldy" Plato books... on their shelves. But if you want to create a home that speaks to you... that greets you at the door with a solace hug each time you come home, try this:
  • Put away everything you aren't currently using or getting benefit from. Here's where to start to get a room you love: take everything out of it. Or, if that isn't do-able, take everything off a book shelf. Or off one wall. Then take a hard look at the stuff you've removed. That project you started two months ago but haven't gotten back to? Make a plan to finish it soon or chunk it. Seriously. Get it out of your room. It's dragging you down and giving you anxious/guilt trip-ish feelings every time you see it, right? Or how about that stack of mail? Same thing. Ugh. Sort, shred and file that mess. The endless coats/shoes/bags? Find a designated space to hang or store them when not in use, and get them where they belong. That picture you've never liked? Donate it. The chair that doesn't work anymore? Donate it, too. Think blank canvas- I don't care if you moved in last month or have lived there 30 years. Start by emptying the room of everything you don't like or need right now, then begin to...
  • Add things to your space that mean something and speak to you. Maybe it's a throw from your Grandma. Or a vase you found on your travels. Maybe it's a rug that makes your feet happy or a picture that reminds you of a time you loved. Corral the things you love right now. Once you have them- even if it's just a few things- begin displaying them where you can enjoy them. Get out the nice dishes. Frame the letters from your grandkids. Hang that picture you painted but are afraid no one will like. You can always take it down if it doesn't work for you. Put things out and really enjoy them.
  • Know that it's okay if your room isn't "finished" or others don't get it. Hint: good rooms are never finished, and some spaces are meant for only you. Don't feel pressured to hurry and decorate a space just because it's empty-ish, or people come over and ask when you're going to decorate. Shoot. This is your space... and home is meant to be sweet and solace- to you. If it looks empty and you like it, good. If it looks crazy and colorful and it brings you joy each moment you spend in there, perfect. If it's monochromatic but you find it soothing, stay with it. Don't rush the process of creating or updating a space to suit you, and certainly don't go with things (or keep them!) just because someone else thinks you should. You live there; they don't. Create spaces that mean something... and say something... to and about you.
Recently I got really wrapped-up in the book What Your Stuff Says About You, even reading parts out loud to a (very) disinterested Josh. Have you heard of the book? Completely fascinating. I think it would be mildly thrilling to have the author walk through Hedge House and tell me what he knows about me just from studying my things and how I have them out. Or maybe I wouldn't want to know. Apparently our stuff and how (and where) we place it is far more telling than we realize...

Anyhow. I still have the other twin alcove, to the left side of the front room fireplace, to decorate. I'm going for that solace hug here. It's beginning to get fun in the old house now, just in time for my favorite time of year! A tiny circle of light is visible from the end of the tunnel, finally.

Happy Friday. -Brin

This post contains affiliate links, which I include because it makes the books easy for you to investigate, and I receive a tiny commission on anything purchased from My Messy, Thrilling Life. But it's pennies, trust me, and pretty much covers the time it takes to create and post the links. :)


8 comments:

Betty said...

You nailed it Brin! I understand completely. My house is not magazine worthy but it definitely fits me. Wondering what others would know about me if they toured my house. Would be interesting or maybe I wouldn't want to know:)

Betty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HollyM said...


Our house tells the tale of what we've been bequeathed, what we've junked, and what we've collected. We're sleeping in the brass bed I bought at age 21 (and I'm 56 now); we're eating off my great-grandmother's pine kitchen table. We bought a house (a custom build circa 1979) that hasn't been remuddled into "open concept". The kitchen is not, and never will be, granite and stainless. But I have a pasture to look at out the front window and a wooded area beyond my back fence. The house's substantial fireplace, it's brick wall with arched doorways, and the built-in floor to ceiling bookcase clinched the sale for us. Oh, yeah. Books. We have hundreds. Everywhere.

Lulu said...

love it..

Terri Steffes said...

We had 3800 square feet of stuff before we moved three years ago. Now we have 1600 square feet of stuff. I am intrigued by the book and am going to order it and see what it says about me. Do you think it might say, you're junky, girl?

Gail said...

To me home is whom you love, pictures, smells from the kitchen the scrubbing and cleaning, music and laughter. After losing all, we found out it's just stuff.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wonderful thoughts!!
And I adore your style!! 💕💕

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wonderful thoughts!!
And I adore your style!! ����