Furnishings and accessories are like our souvenirs for life.
It’s one thing to collect souvenirs when you travel, but it’s a whole ‘nother thing to collect meaningful objects from places that have affected, even changed, you.
Unfortunately, too many people just collect furnishings, and they wonder why their apartment or home looks like it has no soul, compared to when they visit someone’s well-thought, well-loved home.
Lately, with a move looming, my days have included trying to whittle down my space before I take possession of my killer new place, and I find myself looking at belongings and asking myself: Is it worthy?
Know when to hold ‘em …
For example, as I’m moving into what I call my Bucket List Urban Apartment, I know my coffee table’s the first thing to hit the road. It’s unworthy. It’s scratched in a “I’m badly made, not weathered” kind of way, it’s wobbly, it’s had a few desperation-screws added this way and that. It’s the holey-underwear of the furniture world. This is the end, my coffee-table friend!
Luckily, I’ve purged and pared back a lot in the last 4 years years, so my coffee table’s state is a rarity, and my task is not so arduous as it sounds.
Instead, it’s a walk down memory lane, since nearly everything I own, as far as art or knickknacks are concerned, are things that are attractive, in good condition, and generally have a connection with my life and my memories. Yes. Worthy.
More meaningful purchases
I think there’s a gift in being tight for money for a while. When we go through tough times and funds are tight, we tend to make more meaningful purchases. I had a number of years there when things I bought were either stop-gap solutions, or they were things I coveted so much I made it happen, and the latter objects remain well-loved by yours truly, and I’m proud to display them. My”stop-gaps” will soon be all gone, as the coffee table is the last of these.
When you purchase things meaningfully and sparingly, it’s easier to stay on top of your space, but it also means you’ll have a stronger connection to each thing. There’s nothing wrong with loving material things, as long as we do it sparingly and it complements rather than consumes our life.
Memory meets momento
Now my remaining art is either photographs of places I love that I’ve taken myself, or it’s artwork I’ve bought on travels or things I love that I’ve inherited. Same with knickknacks. I’ve bought them at times when I’ve had an achievement, or had a great day, and I often to mark those times with finding a thing I love that enhances my space.
Memory, meet memento. These are purchases we stay in love with for years, if not decades, and with good reason.
In talking about meaningful purchases, I hate to break it to you, but that Ikea vase doesn’t count. It doesn’t take any effort to walk into Ikea, see some mass-produced vase, and buy it. It’s a pretty thing, it might make your room look nice, but it’s soul-less, unless you personalize it.
Style wherever you find it
For bigger purchases like rugs, sofas, and the like, you buy whatever you love, no matter who sells it. Custom furniture is expensive and used sofas are kind of an iffy purchase no matter how you slice it.
But, with small stuff and accessorizing, instead of decorating with mass-made vases and the like, try scouring local stores, boutiques, and thrift shops, street fairs, or hitting merchants on your travels, running down yard sales and church sell-a-thons. When you put some miles and effort into looking for more unique spaces from more charismatic vendors, that’s when you find the neat unique piece that makes your heart beat and spreads a smile across your face.
When you watch fashion shows, they say, “Don’t buy clothes unless you absolutely love them on yourself.”
It should the same of anything we put in our homes.
Home decor as the outward expression of your life
Either it reminds you of the best of you, the best things you’ve done or places you’ve been, or don’t keep it around. When you glance around your home, it should be a time capsule of everything awesome in your life — people who matter to you, moments that defined you, and it should also evoke the person you want to be into the years ahead.
This is one of those times when all you really have to do is listen to your instincts.
Anything that takes up space, doesn’t excite you, isn’t useful, or doesn’t tug at heartstrings simply isn’t worthy of being in your space. Not if you’re looking for a home that really speaks of who and what you are, that makes you feel you’re in your special place every time you walk in the door.