Are you looking to create a home that reflects your style, your values, and your heritage? My fireplace and mantle was a mess! Instead of thinking about how I wanted the area to “feel”, I’d just thrown things together willy-nilly – and it showed. It was time for some serious thought about the statement I wanted my home to make, and how I wanted to feel in my own space.
Is home where the “stuff” is?
If you’re been following the blog for awhile, or if you get my newsletters, you know that I’ve been on a mission to reduce the amount of extra “stuff” in my house and life. Many of us, whatever our life stage, are finding that too much “stuff” makes us feel drained and weighted down. We long for a home (and life) that fits us, nurtures us, and doesn’t overwhelm us.
To get there, however, requires that you examine your relationship with “stuff” and determine what’s important enough for you to keep (because not everything is). Once you decide what you want to keep, don’t bury it in a box – display it and give it a place in your home. Otherwise, how important can it really be to you? (Thank you, Peter Walsh – you’ve helped me tremendously!).
I’m a little embarrassed to show that this was the extent of my “decorating” for the past couple of years. I know – it’s awful! On the bright side, there was nowhere to go but up, right?
You can see that there’s too much “stuff” and too little thought that went into this.
I first set to getting rid of the clutter and junk. I knew I wanted less small stuff and more pieces that made a statement and respected the heritage I come from. My dad is from a ranching family and my mom’s family were small town business owners. Our family is small, but it’s the most important thing in our life. And while I lived for many years in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I’ve always been a small-town girl at heart.
Since I’ve returned to the farming and ranching community I grew up in, and the house has a Spanish ranch house feel to it, I decided that it was time to decorate with an eye towards honoring my roots.
Honor your past with your decorating
Several items were carefully chosen to display. Each of these items has a history that I wanted to honor. The bronze bookends by the picture on the mantle belonged to my mother’s older brother. I never knew my uncle because he was killed in a car accident before I was born. But these bookends were among the items my grandparents kept and displayed in their home until their death. I grew up looking at them and understanding that they were a special reminder of the son they lost.
The kerosene lamp on the right (bottom picture in collage below) belonged to one of my great-grandmothers. The other two belonged to my mom. They all still work so we’ll not be left totally in the dark should there be an extended power outage. How I’ll get my computer and Kindle to work – well, that’s another question.
The rocking chair belonged to one of my mother’s grandmothers (I’m not sure she even remembered which one). My mother inherited rocking chairs from both of her grandmothers and stated that she wanted each of her own granddaughters to have one when they grew up. This one is waiting for the day my daughter has her own place and is ready for it. Who knows, maybe she’ll rock my grand-babies in it one day.
The cowboy influence
The boots and spurs belong to my dad. While I was a “townie” and didn’t grow up on the ranch, my father did. In fact, I’ve heard more tales of ranch life since we moved back than I ever had before – and it’s been fascinating (except when he tells stories of snakes in the barn and under the porch – eek!). The folks who settled this state and have made a living farming and ranching are some tough people. They faced (and still face) hazards that would cause many of us to cry “uncle” and give in.
My dad actually made a joke about how clean these boots are compared to the ones he always used to wear when they were working. Now those boots, he said, were covered in mud, cow poop, and whatever else they’d trekked through that day. But even though it’s been years since that was part of his daily routine, he’s still partial to his boots. I guess it’s true that even when you leave the ranch, part of it stays with you.
The little pistol holster hanging on the fireplace tools is one my dad made for my oldest son when he was a little boy. While I’m a big believer in paring down and being selective in what you decide to keep, I have a “special box” for each of my children that contains a few of the items I’m most sentimental about. They’re small boxes so it’s okay – besides, paring down doesn’t mean you get rid of everything. It just means that you purposely decide what’s worth saving and have a system to keep things in good shape.
I’m sentimental about the holster because my dad spent time cutting the leather, sewing it together, and doing the leather work. It also makes me smile to remember my boys singing “Don’t Fence Me In” and playing cowboys in our backyard. This video from the King Ranch shows some leather working skills in action as a saddle is made. It’s quite interesting and the process of sewing the leather is the same that my dad used. It doesn’t show the process of using the tools to create designs in the leather, but it’s still worth a look. Once you get to the site (from the link above), scroll towards the bottom of the page to find the link to start the video.
Other influences are important too
The copper pot with the delft handle is one that was left when we moved into our previous house. I fell in love with it immediately and since the previous owner didn’t want it, I was thrilled to get it. I’d made a trip to Holland with my mother years ago when I got out of college and we both fell in love with Delft china. As you can see, I use it to keep my tea light candles in (Yes, I’ve got a thing for candles!).
Now I admit that I didn’t inherit my mom’s talent for flower arranging (she was a florist for many years), but it’s something I’d like to get better at. I chose to go with sunflowers because I thought the yellow was a pretty contrast to the blue vases (one of which was a gift she gave me) and because yellow was her favorite color.
Pulling it all together
I’m pleased with the final result and I’ve achieved the look I was going for. It contains items that have sentimental value, that represent family members, it pays tribute to my heritage, and it makes me smile when I see it. I’d call that a success.
Obviously, your personal style is unique to you. But the process of paring down, selecting items that are meaningful to you, and decluttering is the same regardless of style preferences.
How would you describe your personal style? Are there any areas in your home that are in need of a makeover? I’d love to hear what you’ve done to your home to make it a place that truly represents you.
If you like this post I’d love for you to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board and share it with your friends. I’d also love to welcome you to our community when you sign up for the newsletter. Lastly, be sure to check out the posts 11 Signs You Have Too Much Stuff (and what to do about it) and The Critical Question You Must Ask to Get Rid of Clutter.
I hope you’ll come back to join me in June. Each Monday I’ll add a new post about clutter, dealing with “stuff”, and organizing.