Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am obsessed with purging everything in my house. I’ve always had the rule “One in, five out.” I extoll the virtues of a simple, uncomplicated life starting with getting rid of the things you own and hold tight to. Micro Living is all about simplifying your environment and making things easier on you. My theory has always been that you need to make room for the things you really love by getting rid of all the things cluttering up your life…

Big. Fat. Fail.

My husband and I are redecorating our guest room. We went to West Elm to get a desk and started talking to the interior decorator there. She was a sweetheart and very patient with all of our questions… We got the basics and then asked her for help decorating. My first admission, “I, like, don’t know how to decorate.” Second statement, “I just see all these people with all of this stuff in their houses and it looks so cute. I don’t know what stuff to get.” So, she started by asking us what books we have and suggesting ways to decorate with books. We had to come out with the truth… “We don’t have books.” I will never forget the look of shock and confusion on her face. I admitted that we have a handful of books, but almost everything these days is on my Kindle or his Ipad. Then she asked us where we store things, if we needed help with clever and cute storage ideas. “We only have 34 items in our entire living room, including furniture and knick knacks. I don’t think we really need storage.” She suggested that we go to a thrift store and buy some books we think are cute. Yeah.

It was at that point that I realized that maybe there was a reason that all of my friends’ houses looked so cute and finished… they have stuff. And I am not bragging about my awesome abilities at decluttering. I am saying that almost all of my plans to get rid of things have resulted in our house being sterile. Sort of impersonal.

And I came to the biggest realization of all: We have to go shopping to pretend we are normal people.

This is really sad and I felt a strong need to admit this on my blog. I am the first person to admit it when I mess up. As soon as this epiphany hit, I knew I had to put a big warning out there: Don’t get rid of everything!

Granted, most of my friends and relatives just have too much stuff. Almost all of my neighbors do. I walk past their open garages and am really confused… Do they think their houses are going to grow? There is no possible way they can fit all of that stuff in any house! And then I look around my own house and start to wonder what it would look like If I had anything in it at all. What if I let go and kept a few things? What if I was less of a perfectionist about my decluttering and had something to put on the walls? I’m getting ready to rob my neighbors’ garages for a bud vase!

Don’t get me wrong, I love looking at my closet and only seeing things that fit and I really love. I like looking at my living room and only seeing the things that really matter to me. But, come on! I am out of control!

So, remember me the next time you are decluttering and purging your house. Purge all the truly extraneous stuff that you have, but keep a few things to make your house look lived in. This advice is going against everything I hold dear and I’m worried that I’m encouraging my readers to keep too much. Let’s just say instead of “One in, five in” or “One in, five out” try “One in, one out… and keep one thing to make your house look pretty!”

This week, we are going to go shopping for some stuff. I’m heading to a thrift store this week to buy a handful of books that I think are pretty and interesting. I’m going to buy a few vases, maybe some candle holders. I’m thinking of looking at a few knick knacks. We have to frame a few pictures and put something on the walls. I am learning from all of you! Feel free to post pictures of how your stuff works for you and makes your house feel like a home. I have an open mind today and am willing to take a lot of advice. I’m excited to make at least one room in my house personal!

As a final note, please don’t see this as an invitation to send me all of the stuff you don’t need! ; D

4 thoughts on “whoops”

  • I bought some of my favorite old books from a elementary school library selling outdated or old books for 5 for $1. I've also found some great ones at the Library sales they have. Good luck going shopping for "stuff" 🙂 Just keep with your same philosophy and you will do fine. Only buy things you truly love and will find beauty in every time you see it.

  • You actually inspired me to get rid of more things and make my kid's room look better than it has for a long time. I'll be posting on my blog soon. I'm kind of a thrift store junkie so I pick up "stuff" I don't need all the time just in case I have a project. Though one thing about being clutter free is it's more expensive. I buy things when there are sales so I don't have to buy them at full price in the moment.

  • Mark HATES clutter too. However, with kids, we've had to ease up a bit. That being said, they definitely have less than the average kid in our neighborhood. We have used a lot of our travel stuff to decorate, even doing stuff with chopsticks and brochures. Art History books are the best for decorating. They are filled with all sorts of pretty stuff.

  • For me, part of making a home appear to be lived in is having full bookcases with the books neatly stored. I do major decluttering at least twice a year, but books are something I refuse to get rid of.

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