Updated: Nov 5, 2019
The squirrels were ticked last fall when I made this acorn wreath, a Pinterest project.
It's fall. Hibernation is near and like a squirrel, I feel the urge to hoard. My fall hoarding tendencies tend to be in the form of freezing batches of soup, but I have been know to vie for an acorn or two, or four-hundred.
Spending more time indoors drives my instinctual urge to feather my nest. My quest for a cute home has caused a bit of stockpiling in the decorating department. Unlike a squirrel who has the whole world to use as her storage, all my treasures were stashed in the basement and garage. I have 1300 square feet to decorate which means either our house can have the ambiance of a Cracker Barrel, I am a slave to decor rotation, or the unused decorations just take up valuable space in dusty boxes. I'd say it's been a combination of all three in the past.
It was through our whole house decluttering marathon that I was finally able to change my habits. I sorted through a combination of homemade DIY, heirlooms, gifts, and stuff I bought (largely on impulse). I probably got rid of an equal amount of each. Here is what I have learned from the things I have kept:
My decorating style. I noticed that I gravitate toward things that are vintage (in age or just in style), timeless, and a bit kitchy. I appreciate handmade and one-of-a-kind art. Because my family is full of artists and makers, I have been blessed with plenty. Natural decorations are a favorite too. I'm not sure there is a term out there for this style. Crafturally Vintchy? This is not to say I live in a bubble and ignore all trends. Who can resist a succulent, afterall? (Are they even still in? Ehh! Who cares?)
This painting has always been a favorite. My mom painted this landscape in college and it hung in my grandparents' living room.
They don't make 'em like they used to. Like I said, I love timeless things with history which includes the furniture I have inherited. The IKEA stuff we have purchased to fill in the gaps is functional, but probably not as long lasting. You get what you pay for. A soft pine dining table does not stand up to heavy-handed drawing and occasional toddler fork jabbing, for instance. I choose to see this as adding a distressed look rather than getting too distressed internally. I am grateful to own our increasingly dented table because with three leaves to extend, our table can seat plenty of friends and family.
My Grandma's (and her mother's) cabinet holds our dishes, glasses, and utensils.
Low maintenance is more fun. It's so exciting to put up holiday decorations, especially for kids. It's not as fun to put them away. The kids are nowhere to be found. I have narrowed it down to the amount that feels festive without burdensome. Thank you to those people with the traffic-stopping light displays we visit as an one of our advent activities. (Thanks also for not living next door.) We appreciate the work you do decorating when it's 50 degrees, but even more so when it's 20 degrees while you are taking them down.
With my birthday in early December, I have received many holiday items as gifts. This advent calendar is a favorite. The kids love to see what fun activity is in store behind the doors everyday.
Our house feels more spacious and calm. The increased spaciousness is due to the visual editing as well as just owning less in general. There is just more space. The increased calmness is due to less visual stimulation for sure, but there are other factors as the intentionality trickles down into most aspects of our lives (our schedule, for instance). Don't get me started on all that right now though. Must. Stay. Focused.
This year's (non-carving) pumpkin on our "distressed" table. The bowl (again from Grandma) of lemons in the background holds the lemons for my morning lemon water. It makes a cheerful centerpiece during the depths of winter when there are no flowers to be picked.
Some small living decorating hacks. By "small" I mean both in space and budget.
Natural decorations are great for this, so it's lucky that I love them. Who doesn't? You can't improve on nature's beauty and it really makes an impact if you allow it to. You don't need much more that a vase of flowers, a bowl of fruit, a unique pumpkin, or some sprigs of pine and holly.
"Wow! Look how much (my daughter's name) looks like (my husband's name)!"
Think flat. Decorating with paper saves space. Keep a few seasonal photos around and change out the prints in your frames. The older the picture the better. These are always a great conversation piece. Pennants are having their moment. These are cheap and easy to make. I keep one for each season in the sleeves of a binder.
If you have kids, raid their memory boxes for seasonal artwork. We don't keep everything they make, but the keepers are fun to bring out. My mom used to do this. Heck, you can even just have the kids make a few things and then toss them when the holiday is over if you are really short on space.
The urge to say, "This snowman melts my heart," is just too strong. Sorry.
Curate you own living history museum. Your home should tell the story of you or your family. It's not a story found at Anthropology (although now and then I wish I lived in one as there is no granola all over the floor there). Creating a room out of a Pottery Barn catalog will not scratch the nesting itch the way your own loved artifacts do. Right now our home should have a sign that reads "Currently the rug is rolled up in the living room exhibit while potty training is in progress. We apologize for any wetness you may experience."
A box of old family keys on display in our entryway/dining room exhibit.
Decorate for you. The decorations in our nursery are mostly only seen by our family. The little tinsel tree with great grandpa's vintage ornaments make the space all the more cozy during bedtime rocker snuggle time.
Let your best shine. You know the advice to remove one accessory from your outfit before going out? It's the same for decor. Your favorite things make a bigger impact when they aren't competing for attention. I enjoy our things more (and even dust them sometimes!) and feel increased aesthetic enjoyment of our home.
Decorating is an innocuous addiction. If you don't think HGTV is decorating porn, then you are kidding yourself. Like most addictions, the behavior is an attempt at finding comfort or escape. Unfortunately, rarely does anyone feel a rush of contentedness after binge watching Chip and Joanna.
Shopping is addictive, and so is buying decorations. A quickened pulse when approaching the red-stickered treasure trove endcaps at Target might indicate a problem. I can relate. Sticking to an IKEA shopping list is a real accomplishment for me.
Making decorations is equally addictive, but is seen as a more wholesome hobby than shopping. Your hobby is shopping? Lame. You are artsy? Cool. It can still yield the same results of having too much though. I'm not talking about sewing new pillow cases to replace the threadbare ones, I'm talking about a crafting compulsion. Crafting with natural materials is a work around for this problem. When the weeds you dried start looking shabby or faded, it's easy to part with the old wreath and make a new free one. I am trying to summon my inner Andy Goldsworthy.
My sister is a gifted weed-dryer and wreath creator! Seen through the wreath are homemade felt shade covers. These are an example of a kitchy craft. My kids love how they glow when the lights are on over the dinner table. Can you spy the laundry basket waiting with Monday's kid chore, folding napkins and dishtowels?
Love the home you're with. My 1950's homemade cabinets are wonky, but the wavy trim above the sink is endearing. And though my counter tops are from the eighties, they have hosted many a craft project, homework assignment, and thousands of rolled out cookies. Thank you counters. I used to wish for a walk-in closet until we decluttered our wardrobes. Sometimes I wish we had a sidewalk, but then I think about our great yard with so much room to play and plant and our beautiful view and I fall in love with our home all over again. It's not that we'll never remodel or even move, I just don't find myself obsessing over our home's shortcomings as much these days. This is helpful, since neither is happening right now anyway. I can spend my energy in more important ways. At the end of the day, being grateful and appreciating where you live and, most importantly, the people who live there, is what makes a home a home.
I found an organic beef stick in this homemade stocking that had expired in April when I was taking pictures for this post. I quickly threw it away in case my husband
decided it was still good.
Interested in creating a home with unique and timeless style that reflects your family by using the things that you love? We do that. Check out The Interior Style Edit.