Well it's happened. I finally hit that point where I just know I've got to do something about my addiction to collecting "stuff". Decor stuff, and no I'm not just talking about the inventory of staging items that literally has its own room in our basement. Yes, I have a problem there too! Technically though, that's business stuff and I'll talk about that some other time. Today I'm talking about my own personal stuff that fills every shelf and covers ever wall in my now seemingly out of control living spaces. Sound familiar? If you're one of those rare kind of people who were basically born with exquisite style and taste and have a really good handle on your home already, you might not want read this style angst article that I'm about to write. If you do however, find yourself in a style rut, like I have been for a while, READ ON!
It all started when I was about 17. Yep, I started young. I found some dishes at Walmart on clearance (I started thrifting young too) that I just had to have for my "future house". They were a lovely soft yellow colour with dainty Tuscan-esque floral paintings, and my young decor-loving heart had never beaten faster! "Deanna!" I shouted to my sister "This dreamy box of dinnerware is only $19!" Needless to say, I left the store with 2 boxes.
And so the collecting began.
Jump forward 10 years to present day, and I do in fact still use those dishes each and every day! But as you can imagine, they weren't the only things that I collected all those years following. In fact, when Isaac and I moved into our house, the only things we needed to buy for our kitchen were some cooking pots, a whisk, a cheese shredder and a cutting board from what I remember. Between his bachelor collection of kitchen things, and my pieced-together haul, we almost had too much stuff!
I always planned to have a really neat and tidy home. One that was cozy and comfortable, well designed and coordinated. HA! Young, naive, Amy. Little did I know that once I tasted the sweetness of thrift store finds and clearance bin bargains, my dream of having a neat and tidy coordinated house would not be so easy to achieve. This, combined with my "microwave" personality where I had to have everything insta-decorated 1 month after we moved in, left the house feeling kinda scattered--like my brain! For example: I thought I would paint the house ONE colour. Well, when it came down to it, I picked 3 colours each in MASSIVELY different colour schemes. Peach, turquoise, and a bluish-purpley grey. Throw in different coloured curtains on every window, some colourful furniture, and oodles random decor pieces, and you get...
one. hot. mess.
At this point I'm feeling quite terrible about myself because I thought I knew better than this! I had a plan for all those years! I thought I knew what I wanted and when the time came, I went the total opposite direction! So what went wrong? Well, I know exactly what went wrong. It was a new space that I had 100% creative control over. I got over-excited as I normally do and I rushed. I literally bought every cute thing that I found and expected it to all look good together, even though my inner logic was shouting "NOOO!" my pounding-thrifter-dreamer heart was screaming "OH HECK YES!"
You know, for I while I was quite content with it. The mismatchy-ness worked for me, and I enjoyed my spaces for the most part. Time started going by however, and my tastes changed. Suddenly all the "stuff" started to make me feel claustrophobic and uneasy. Instead of sitting down in my living room and feeling at ease, the way one should, I just sit and stare at all the things that I can't wait to get rid of in my yard sale!
All of these pretty things that I've collected, are indeed pretty. But that doesn't mean they all look pretty together. I know, I know. Colours, textures, and placement are all key design elements that have to co-exist harmoniously, that's basic! I guess I just had to get all that jumbled decor smoothie out of my system, ya know? Want my totally uncertified advice on the matter?
Here it is!
It's just stuff. It's just a house. Just a garden. Just a haircut. Just clothes. Just furniture. Have fun with it and give yourself some room to make a few mistakes and styling faux pas.
It's all a learning curve, and without these kinds of experiences we wouldn't learn how much we really like or dislike something. Everybody has to start somewhere and we all grow into our own styles and develop more specific tastes over time, but even those can change! So don't beat yourself up if you haven't "perfected" your style yet so to speak.
As much as I get frustrated with myself for backtracking (my biggest pet peeve) with this whole house situation, I just gotta get over it and look forward to getting things rearranged and organized in the near future! It's a good thing, because now I've actually got a pretty clear goal and vision in my mind for how I want, and what I don't want. I've also learned that I'm gonna have to start saying "No" to some thrift store or yard sale finds *weeps softly*.
So if you find yourself in the exciting yet sometimes daunting position of styling or restyling a home or space, learn from my mistakes! If you don't have a clear vision of what you want, don't feel like you have to rush out and buy a bunch of randomness just to fill all the spaces. It more than likely will end up on your front lawn a year or two later with a $2.00 price tag on it, and you'll find yourself frustrated and starting over and over and over. If it's too late for you and you've gone and been a microwave with your styling, like me--don't fret! Remember, it's just stuff! Redecorating is a common term, and we're not the only ones who were a little over-zealous or hasty. It's passion. Embrace it, and make the best of it! You'll soon find you are able to streamline your style so it fits your tastes just right!