Monday, December 04, 2006

Regrouping after a move

Q: I think we moved around the same time, and I don't know about you, but I'm still finding it hard to decorate my house… I know I will collect things in time. However, I can't afford to just go out and buy all new decorations. I keep reminding myself to be patient. How have you handled moving to each new house and trying to fit what you already have into a new space? Do you hold onto the things that just never find the right spot? Or do you get rid of them and start collecting new items for each new house?

I was just telling a friend not to be surprised when she comes over. The reason you only see glimpses online is that the house still looks SO unfinished! It always took me six months to get a new place feeling like home. I had hoped this house's move-in condition would speed our settling in. It didn’t. Apparently, while I was laboring on the fixer-uppers, I was also daydreaming, planning, and picking up bargains on the side. I may just be a 6-month settler, regardless of the circumstances.

I would say only 70% of furnishings transfer from one home to the next, and that's probably optimistic. Another reason not to overspend on home decor! Very few families ever have a "forever home" anymore. Also, I think it can be pointless to keep shopping fruitlessly or by a rigid timeline. You only get tired, frustrated, and ready for Rooms To Go. Trust me! One day you'll be about your routine--unpacking a box, stopping at a yard sale or visiting a friend--and WOW!--you'll spot the perfect fabric, painting or idea that makes a whole room come together. You just can't force inspiration. At least, not on a budget.

You wouldn't want all new decorations, even if you could afford them. A house looks best when it's layered in personal history. I still have artwork from my college apartment, furniture from our honeymoon 7 years ago. My general style may evolve from house to house, but my favorite colors have stayed the same. Everything else—and I do mean everything—is subject to change.
If something doesn’t fit, doesn’t sing to you as you walk by, I would not feel bad about letting it go. Sell it on Craig’s List. Put the money in your yard sale envelope. Enjoy that empty space while you wait. If there’s one thing I’ve learned by junking, it’s that there’s no shortage of great stuff in the world.


It's a Mom Thing said...

Thanks, Meredith. This brings up yet ANOTHER question I have for you. How much money do you budget for buying things at yardsales and thriftstores? I find that I can spend just as much during one month at yardsales and thrift stores as Walmart or Target. Either way, when the money is gone, it's gone.
Maybe I'm just not fully embracing the entire "frugal philosophy." I know I've got a long ways to go, but I'm trying.

Portrait of Peter said...

I sometimes have a reluctance to part with items after a move and find they are just gathering dust in an attic.

Although I do try and donate to a hospice shop - one problem I end up buying items every time too.

Thank you for sharing such an interesting and informative blog.