Decorating and Being Sentimental {how to deal with things you don’t love}

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Decorating and Being Sentimental {How to deal with things you don't love.}

Once there was a young girl who saved All. The. Things. Movie ticket stubs, every friendly note or scrap of paper, all souvenirs big and small, chewed pieces of gum from 7th-grade crushes. {Just kidding about that last one, because that is gross!} And she had a large, junked-up walk-in-closet to show for it all.

Decorating and Being Sentimental - you can't keep everything!

Or in this case, it was the guest bedroom. Thankfully it doesn’t look like this anymore.

And then this girl got a little older. And she began to learn that while she should probably keep some of The Things, if she continued on this path of collecting All The Things, then one day she’d be on the show Hoarders.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Decorating and Being Sentimental - you can't keep everything!

So, after some lesson-learning time, she gleaned that memories are not things. It’s OK to maybe have a few small collections that are worthy of display and pieces you love, but boxes and boxes of crap will serve no one. So she pared down The Things and could breathe a little easier because her closet was now used for clothing and not a storage unit.

This girl may or may not have been me. :)

I was once a sentimentalist to the core. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do believe in having things in your home that you love and help tell your story. Things that connect you to your loved ones and have special memories attached.

I mean, that is the definition of what makes a home a home, right? It tells your story. But, I’ve been known to keep things around that I didn’t like just because “Aunt Susie” gave it to me or because I bought it on that special trip so many years ago.

Let me give an example.

Decorating and Being Sentimental - you can't keep everything!

I’ve had these three black and white prints for 15 years now and they’ve been with me everywhere. I’ve had them hanging in my living room for almost a year now. But, I don’t really like them. At the same time, I couldn’t bear to get rid of them!

You see, they have a memory attached to them. I lived and studied in China the year after high school. I remember in the last few months of my time there, sitting down and intentionally deciding that I would buy some art to take home with me. My friend Amy and I made a special trip to a far away part of town and I bought these prints, thinking I would keep them with me for the rest of my life.

But styles change and decor preferences change and the prints from China just aren’t “me.” So, I finally got up the courage to change them out. I wanted more color in my living room, and so I took them down. And you know what? I LOVE the new art. {It’s from this art book.} It’s so me.

So now, instead of walking by and having an internal struggle and a negative reaction to those prints and their memory, I now walk by and smile because I love the pretty pictures!

Decorating and Being Sentimental - you can't keep everything!

Sentimental Rule: Keeping something you don’t love because it once belonged to a great-grandmother or because you bought it as a keepsake 20 years ago is not a reason to hang on to it.

 What to do with sentimental stuff you don’t love.

1. Paint it. Or repurpose it into something you do love. If you have a piece of furniture from your grandmother and hate the color, then paint that sucker! Add your own story to the piece and just add a new layer to the family history.

Chippy Painted Barstools

2. Just get rid of it. I came across some small magnets the other day that I’d collected from various trips. I’m not using them anymore and don’t have any intention of using them in the future. So, I threw them in the yard sale box. I have some fabulous pictures from these trips that will keep these memories alive. I don’t need magnets sitting in a box, too! So, throw stuff away, give it away or sell it. {One way that has helped me get rid of a lot of things has been my twice-yearly yard sale.}

10 Tips for Having a Successful Yard Sale

3. Create a Year Box. Not a yearbook, a year box. If it’s extra difficult to get rid of something, then stick it in a box and set an alert on your phone or jot it down in your calendar to check this box in a year. If you haven’t missed said thing, then get rid of it. If you still can’t live without it, then display it somehow or paint it/repurpose it. {See point #1.}

4. Take a picture of it. {And then get rid of it.} My friend Jackie gave some great advice recently in one of her free webinars. {She has an amazing blog, by the way, and great decorating advice.} She said if you have a piece of furniture that it sentimental, for example a rocking chair where you rocked your baby. Then make sure you have a picture of it before you get rid of the item. Hopefully you do have a picture of you rocking your baby and can let go of the large item and know you still have those special memories.

5. Store it. And if you really can’t get rid of something and can afford to rent a storage unit, then store it there. Or ask a relative if they want to hold onto it. You don’t want to have a home filled with clutter and not be able to enjoy living in it because of too much stuff. So, get it out of the house.

Decorating and Being Sentimental {How to deal with things you don't love.}

And in the end, sometimes the ties to our things overrule all decorating rules or styles.

Last summer, after my grandmother passed away, I specifically asked for some of her ceramic bowls and boxes that used to sit on her dresser. I wanted to use some of them in my own home and be able to remember her with them. I also have several blankets that she made, as well as a few miniature pitchers that she collected. These are treasures to me that I will never get rid of. And no matter how my home or styles change, I will display them proudly.

How do you deal with sentimental pieces in your home?

Are you more inclined to part with them easily?

Or do you tend to hold on to them no matter what?


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