House Tour, though, so since I'm feeling chatty, how 'bout I tackle some? I'll even sprinkle in photos from around the house to keep it interesting.
Let's start with:
Clutter vs Display
I admit it: I love clutter. I love surrounding myself with STUFF. I like the hominess and warmth of personal collections, and I like having areas filled with treasures for people to discover as they roam the house.
I also love antiquing. YEAH I SAID IT.
So. How do you keep all your beloved stuff from devolving into thrift store madness? A few tips:
- Start by putting everything you want to display on the dining room table. Yes, everything! You need to see what you've got to work with. Then clear off all the surfaces you want to decorate, so you can start with a blank slate.
I do this every year for Christmas decorations. Packing my everyday decor away for 4-6 weeks helps me see it with fresh eyes again come January.
- Work in vignettes. Don't tackle the whole room at once; start with a table top. A mantle. A book shelf. Select one or two "big" things from your cache on the table - things you really love and want to display- then build up around them with smaller, more generic items (candles, plants, etc).
- Collections need a theme. "Stuff I like"is NOT a theme. Arrange things by color, type, material, etc. Don't scatter all your Pop figures around the room, put them in one place! Have a favorite color? Arrange a table in it like I did here, using all golds and brass:
- Odd numbers are key. Always group things in 3s and 5s. Don't ask me why, it just looks better.
- Remember your height and (visual) weight. When I'm stuck, I look at the heights of what's in front of me. Mix 'em up. Add some highs and lows! And if you have a high skinny thing on one side, put a short squat thing on the other side to balance it out:
This is our bedroom makeover from a few years ago. I think you can tell I'm a fan of symmetry.
- Take a picture. This is my favorite trick, since the camera always sees what I can't. Stuck? Not sure if it looks right? Whip out your phone and snap a pic. You'll instantly see what needs to change, if anything.
- You don't have to use everything. I repeat, you don't have to use everything. Those leftover pieces on the table? The ones you didn't have room for? Those go in the closet for later, or to the thrift store. (I keep a shelf in my office closet just for extra decor stuff, since I like to switch things up.)
Which brings me to:
How To Prioritize & Purge:
- Have a permanent "donation bag." Mine's in my closet. I fill it about twice a month with a mix of clothing and housewares. Having one always started makes it easy to toss something the second I realize I don't need it anymore. Then we give everything to a Teen Charity thrift shop, so I feel like my stuff is still doing some good - which also makes it easier to let go.
So how do you know what to keep, and what to toss? Here are some guidelines:
- Sentimental treasures you plan to display. So YES to Grandma's pretty doilies, NO to Grandma's ugly doilies. And since you can't appreciate what you can't see, do you really need ALL of them? How about just one or two to hang on the wall?
For example, here's a terrible picture of my grandfather's antique planer, which I use as a display shelf:
Oh, and that antique pocket watch was a gift to John from my dad. Do I really display family heirlooms with Disney ornaments and video game toys? HECK YEAH I DO.
I also have a Songbird statue over the TV:
- Anything you love love LOVE, even if it's silly and you don't know exactly where to put it yet. If it makes your heart happy, that's enough. The rest we can figure out later.
My office is where a lot of my "LOVE MUST HAVE" pieces go, since its the least cohesive and, again, I have a high clutter tolerance. :D
Still, I try to keep it art-centered, and I tie all the colors together with black and white frames and furnishings.
Which reminds me of another thing you should keep:
- That thing you feel guilty looking at. I don't care what it is: unused craft supplies, a tacky wedding gift, fancy china you hate using, whatever. You haven't done anything with it yet, you're probably never going to... so cut the cord, dude! Someone else will love it, I promise.
- The metric ton of sentimental stuff you'll never display. I covered this in "keep," but it bears repeating. Especially big stuff, like furniture. If you don't love it or need it, donate it! Focus on keeping little things you can easily display instead.
- Stuff you like but don't love. Life's too short to keep stuff "just because." Sure, that vase is fine. Do you love it? Does it have a story? Is there anything more fun/interesting/personal you could put there instead? Your house is one big conversation starter. Do you want to talk about Bed Bath & Beyond? If not, then MAKE IT INTERESTING.
Dovetailing into Purge, there's also:
Fighting clutter starts outside the home, you guys. It was a real turning point when I realized I could completely love an item, appreciate it exists, but not need it in my house. That is HUGE when it comes to geeky collectibles especially, lemme tell ya.
- Choose your battles, choose your favorites. I have a few things I collect, but I don't buy everything with Stay Puft or a seahorse on it. Be picky. Think about your space. Play favorites.
- If you can't think of a place in your home to put it, DON'T BUY THE THING. This has saved me from more purchases than I can remember, and so far, no regrets. What I *do* regret are the pieces I bought while ignoring this rule. (We've had a massive antique record player in the garage for two years. TWO YEARS YOU GUYS.)
- Display what you love, not what "looks nice." Nothing gets me more riled than the belief that geeky stuff isn't "grown up" enough for the living room. GRRR.
I beg you, fellow geeks, fly your geek flag in the living room. Put your Pops on the mantle. Hang a ray gun on the wall. Get a light-up bookshelf for your action figures. Put your cosplay armor on a mannequin in the corner. Make it pretty. Show it off! It's your house, your space, and dang it, your space should make you happy. Not to mention all those things can look AMAZING and elegant and yes, "grown-up," if given the proper displays and design.
Here's a quick example I just snapped with my phone:
Right, I think that's enough for now! Maybe some other time I'll tackle craft organization (only the power tools are in the garage, Jenny; the rest is all in here!) and maximizing small spaces - assuming you guys aren't bored to tears right now.
I hope some of this helped, or at least inspired you to get more of your hobbies and interests out in the open! In fact, if you have something odd you don't know HOW to display, then please, tell me about it in the comments. I love a challenge.