October 13, 2009

Something's Gotta Give...

I love our home. I love my stuff. But, I'm beginning to realize that something's got to give. My stuff is owning me these days. Have you ever felt that way? It's really frustrating.

I look at the wonderful images on other blogs that I visit and for a while, I'm transported to these lovely places of white, serene and organized. Then, I close my laptop, look around and wonder what I should do differently around here. Man, it's worse than watching HGTV! Handsome is not a white, cottage-y kind of guy so he'll never sign on for that look. I need to find a different solution.

Currently, I'm frustrated by our kitchen. There are these great display areas above the cupboards. I have things I like to have up there, but I feel like it's starting to look more like a flea market than any kind of meaningful (or pretty) display. I have a collection of pitchers and creamers that are lost up on that shelf. Then there are Toby teapots, a much-loved antique jardiniere that belonged to my mother-in-law, a huge lily pad platter that was a gift from our daughter-in-law. You get the idea.

I asked Handsome for some insight. His first comment was, "How does something utilitarian like a group of creamers or pitchers get elevated to the status of a "collection", and why should they be displayed, instead of kept in cabinets?" How could I answer this with a straight face? Has the love of my life forgotten that I'm currently collecting acorns? In my mind, the fruit of the oak tree has become fodder for a new collection. We probably weren't going to see eye to eye on this.

I pulled out an old favorite book in hopes that I'll find a new perspective. It's called Eliminate Chaos by Laura Leist. I really like her approach to identifying, tackling and eliminating the problem spots in a home. I don't need more furniture (like a display cabinet). I don't want to get rid of all my stuff. But, I need to figure this out and I'm hoping you might be able to share some of your inspiration with me.

I've made the photo from our kitchen a link to other photos of our home. It will give you an idea of our decor. Handsome has always loved Scandinavian furniture, which I used to dismiss out-of-hand - until I walked into a store with him, saw all the teak, and fell in love with the look. My issue isn't with the furniture. It's with the "spare" look that goes with that furniture. How do I edit out my stuff?

Our dining room and living room are now furnished in beautiful Scandinavian pieces. But I still love cottage elements (sigh), and we have the oak table in our dinette area that was a wedding gift from my parents. I can't part with that! Our master bedroom is Tommy Bahama. Perfect for Florida. Scandinavian? Not so much. And then, there are the little knick knacks and other items on shelves and table tops that I like having around. What do I do with those? Are you beginning to feel my pain?

Really, I'll appreciate any input you can offer.

14 friends clicked here to leave a note for me:

Debra @ Common Ground said...

Hey Donna, I mailed the package today, it will probably take a few days to get there. I think it had boulders in it. Ha ha.
OK, I'm still hungry from your post on the crustless pumpkin pie! As far as editing goes, I need to do some serious work myself. Things have gotten out of hand with all my flea market and junkin' endeavors. But I'll tell you, I rotate things and collections. that helps me. Hmmmm..? maybe that's why my storage room is seriously out of control.
Love what your husband said. Guys, gotta love 'em! Take your long woolies to Wisconsin!

Christine Edwards said...

If you get it figured out, please let me know. I have similar problems with collections. I have heard that you can rotate your collections and don't have to display everything at once. I think you may already do this to some degree. My problem would be where to store everything. We also have a mishmash of furniture and styles going on in our house. I've started taking spray paint to some of the stuff in hopes of rejuvenating and unifying. That may be a bit drastic for some of the pieces you have. Keep us updated on your progress.

Terri said...

What make a home and gives it warmth is our personal collections. If you changed nothing it would be ok.
I notice the 4 larger pictures among the sea of pictures you have up there. I may be tempted to take away the smaller items and keep the bigger /bolder pieces up there. Perhaps we could find a new cool way to display the picture collection...perhaps in smaller grouping in various places in your home ..if it would look right. I wish I had more room I would start a collection of pictures in my art room to store stuff in the.

Terri said...

oopse the last line should be ...in them

Jane said...

I love your house and all that great sunlight that pours in. I do believe that I'm not going to be much help here because I kept looking for the clutter in the pictures and found very little....compared to my house!! The kitchen table you received as a wedding gift is my favorite piece.

Anne~fiona and twig said...

I'm in the same boat here, sista! Have you visited Mindy of Primitiques n'Poetry? She's doing some serious editing of her surroundings, and she's provided me with a lot of inspiration. Her blog is on my blog roll.
And don't let all the so-called "perfect" photos that people post get you down...they are mostly staged within an inch of their life!

Snap said...

If you figure it out, you can sell and make a bundle! I have the same problem!

Twyla and Lindsey said...

First of all, don't get rid of the things you love! Collections define our personalities, I think. I certainly feel your pain because I am a collector of Many things. I especially understand the problems of displaying items. I love those sparse white rooms too, but they just wouldn't work for me and my family. I like an eclectic look. Everything too 'matchy' isn't Me. Rotating your collections is a good idea. Sorry I'm not more help, your plight just reminds me so much of myself! Have a great day! Twyla

Diva Kreszl said...

Oh my yes...I can so associate with this! I too love my 'things' but sometimes look around and feel overpowered by the number of them. Other times I delight in looking at it all. Perhaps that says more about where I am on any given day than it says about my collections, hmmm?

Claudia said...

I love my collections and my things and we live in such a small cottage with very little storage. It is a constant problem! We need an addition on the house - but that will not happen for a long while!

Michelle (Shell) May said...

Well, I just typed a big comment and I don't know where it went, so here it goes again.
I'm the queen of give it away, sell it or let's make a trade! Here's what I tell my clients who are in this same dilema. First, if you look at it and the thought of never seeing it again makes your heart break, then keep it. If you think you might miss it, then put it in storage for a while and see if you do. If it were to fall on the floor and break and you wouldn't be sad, then get rid of it. Personally I don't think you have too much stuff. I think you are, like me, needing a change. I suggest just rearranging some items and use the ideas above. I sure wish I could come help you with this. I've done it so many times for clients and friends and it's always so much fun!
bunny hugs,

Brenda @Cozy Little House said...

Well, I looked at all the pics, but I don't get it. I don't see anything wrong. Up next to my mix of colors, it looks rather sedate, frankly. But then I do have a riot of color here. I was going to say, before I saw the pics, that you might take everything out of the mix, then add one thing back at a time until you think it starts to look cluttered. But I don't think it looks cluttered. So I guess we have different ideas of how far to go! I'm NO help!

The French Bear said...

I love all your "things"!!! Everything has stories and memories with it.... it would be hard to decide what stays and what goes! Taking pictures helps, then you can look at them honestly and edit or move things around.
One thing I did learn as a decorator was to add some black to a room to ground it! I am sure you will figure something out and I can't wait to see it!!!
I have just wrapped your parcel, sorry I am so slow, I said it was ready ages ago and here I am just finishing up!!! Sorry, I am just stuck at the store forever during this bad weather, but hopefully we get a break soon!!! I will email you the details!!!
Margaret B

Anita said...

That book looks interesting! I'm going to have to hunt that one down!


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