A few of my friends have been reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, a book about purging unnecessary possessions from our life. One night my girl friend sent me a text about a chapter on cleaning out our closets. Get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy when you look at it, the advice explained. And while I haven’t yet read the book for myself (I plan to this weekend), those words resonated with me over the following weeks.
I became overwhelmingly aware of how many things I surrounded myself with in our home that were only bringing me anxiety and stress: the bin of fabric scraps I couldn’t bear to throw out that has now been sitting in my garage untouched for 3 years, the bags of kids clothes that never fit my boys quite right, the stack of coupons that expire before they get used, the shirt in my closet that looks adorable on the hanger and hideous on my body, the drawer of socks with no match that I hold onto “just in case” their mates turn up, the jeans I’ve had since college that don’t fit any more but I can’t get rid of them because of how good they once looked on, broken crayons, old receipts, college textbooks, empty jars, a stack of dusty cooking magazines, kitchen utensils I’m not even sure how to use. The list goes on and on…And it’s suffocating.
I’m all for sentiment–in fact, it’s just about my favorite thing in the world. Special photographs, family heirlooms, scrapbooks, grandmas paintings, handwritten letters–these are my most prized possessions and I have no intention of ever parting with them because they bring me joy. But we can’t have a physical reminder for EVERY memory and milestone in our life. That sh*t starts to get heavy. So many of the items I cling to are no longer useful. Instead, they’re serving as reminders of areas I fall short, projects unfinished, to-do lists unchecked, weight not lost, books not read, recipes untested.
When the very items we keep around us for inspiration begin to overwhelm us, they have ceased to serve their purpose.
With that in mind I set a goal for 2015: transform our house into a home filled with purpose and joy.
Every item and every room in our house needed to be functional, to serve a purpose –even if that purpose was simply to evoke feelings of joy and happiness.
So I started where I always start when I’m in need of some fresh ideas. Pinterest. A place filled to the brim with things of beauty. A place we go with the intention of being inspired, a place with thousands upon thousands of ideas for how we can be better, more organized, cooler, more accomplished.
This was only the beginning of my journey and already I found myself increasingly overwhelmed with images of perfection. I was pinning dozens and dozens of pictures of homes and design and organization tips I appreciated aesthetically, but couldn’t actually envision our family living in. What I was bookmarking in magazines and on Pinterest wasn’t realistic for us–it didn’t fit our family–it was better suited for a catalog than for our rambunctious boys and wild puppy. I would need to figure out “our style” for myself, but how?
It was like serendipity when I received some books for my birthday from a dear friend who knows me oh-too-well. I gobbled up A Beautiful Mess’s latest book, Happy Handmade Home, in one afternoon. It was on the very first pages that I found the tools to be able to begin answering my own question: What is my style? In the introduction of their book, Elsie and Emma ask the reader to answer a series of questions in as much detail as possible. The answers to these questions will help guide the reader to a better understanding of the things in and about their home that bring them joy.
I sat down with a blank journal, a fun jelly pen and I answered their questions one by one. I loved this exercise so much that I had to share it with y’all. As I mentioned before, I appreciate and love SO MANY styles. This love and appreciation has often distracted me from the style that best matches our colorful little family. But this exercise helped me to gain a better understanding of what our authentic style is. For example, I’m all about clean lines and monochromatic modern decor–in fact, I find it inspiring and beautiful. But, granny squares and vintage quilts and colorful pennant banners and chalkboards are what make my heart sing. This exercise proved that.
I’m only on the threshold of this journey to de-clutter and “home-ify” our house and life, but I’m already enjoying the small changes we’ve started to implement. Baby steps. One DIY project at a time–in our journey to a happy, handmade home. Below I typed up the answers I listed in my journal exactly as I jotted them down. I would love to know if you guys try out this exercise and what you learned about your style. Thanks A Beautiful Mess gals for this true inspiration!
1. Places I like to spend time (see above image for questions #1):
- Anthropologie: texture, old wood, vintage furniture, shopping, gift buying, handmade displays, charming, flea market inspiration, embroidered textiles, hard cover books, linens, cement floors, tassels, pom poms, embellishments, sense of wanderlust and nostalgia, another time and country.
- Nesting Place Blog: authentic, lived in, comfortable, white, crisp, bright, personalized, real, feels like home–beautiful and still lived in.
- The Pleated Poppy: I find every single detail of her home to be complete perfection. bright white colors, vintage accents, subtle pops of color, natural elements. I’m certain my family could move right into her home and the transition would be seamless, lol.
- The Agoura Antique Mart: place of escape and refuge, slow down, discover, DIY & decor inspiration, vintage, lace and linen, chambray, indigo, boho, leather, reclaimed and repurposed, handmade, pieces with stories behind them. My absolute favorite store at the mart happens to be called A Beautiful Mess.
- Catalina Island: casual, comfortable, care free, turquoise, over-stuffed furniture, white, blue, handmade Spanish tiles, Colbie Caillait playing, sea glass, bbq’s, shaved ice, smell of sunscreen, quaint, simple living.
- The Four Seasons, Westlake Village: relaxation, gourmet food, traditional, extravagance, escape, gardens, fresh, green, sustainable living, comfortable, grand.
- Whatever Craft House: I was lucky enough to spend a weekend at one of the most inspiring places I’ve ever stepped foot. Every room urges me to smile and create something beautiful–it’s an easy place to be happy. And filled to the brim with color.
2. Rooms in our home and how we spend our time in them (see questions 2-4 in image above):
- Kitchen: cooking, baking, weekly meal prep, recipe blog post photos, watch boys in the backyard.
- Dining room: family meals, homework, lego building, party set up, dinner parties, game night, chalkboard decorating.
- Living room: baby shower seating, writing room, business meetings, NO TV, sit by fireplace and talk, family meetings, seasonal mantle decorating, reading room, Christmas morning.
- Family room: relax room, tv room, family night, casual and comfortable, kids playing on the rug., movies and popcorn.
- Office: desk area, guest bedroom, inspiration wall, storage, visitors escape, Silhouette set-up, SOS & LMM headquarters.
- Master bedroom: sleep, get ready, cuddle, rest.
- Boys room: art area, sleep, sensory activities, clothes, reading, toy storage.
- Backyard: scooter riding, trampoline jumping, bbq’s, picnics, chalk art, bug catching, t-ball, sprinkler play, dinner parties, vegetable garden.
- Front yard: people watching, bike riding, lemonade drinking, neighbor chatting, cul-de-sac playing.
Jumbo chalkboard DIY, found here.
Our 3 day kitchen remodel with only paint, found here.
3. My fav inspiring colors:
- indigo: the greatest color in all the land. feels like “me”.
- white: clean, fresh, open, bright, crisp, happy. feels like home.
- yellow: happy, cheery.
- turquoise: inspired, crafty, DIY.
- gold: excited, fancy-schmancy, embellished, accents.
- red: pop, bold, country, vintage, rural, farm house.
- black: accents, statement, modern, love when paired with other colors.
- grey: neutral, relaxed, cool, homey.
- pink (blush and fuchsia): happy, feminine, boho.
- kelly green: down right awesome and trendy.
4. 100 Things That Make Me Happy:
I’m a huge fan of Beth Allen Art! So for Christmas my Grandma, bless her sweet heart, painted me a piece inspired by Beth Allen. I unwrapped it, I cried, and then I hung it above my fireplace for all guests to see. My sweet and talented friend painted this smaller piece below and again, my heart nearly exploded when I opened it. I find so much joy in showcasing items made with love in my home.
Hoop Art by Take the Canoli