loving my “things.”

As most of you know, I’m nearing the end of a 15 month renovation and couldn’t be more thrilled. After months of tear-sheets, inspiration images and dream shopping, it’s almost time to decorate the space. And decorating? Decorating gives me chills.

A few weeks ago, I mentally took stock of everything Ken and I had packed up and moved with us from Los Angeles to Indiana. Surprisingly, the only furniture that I truly missed were two rickety chairs I’d found on the side of the road while biking from my local coffee shop on a Tuesday afternoon. I remember peddling home, running up our wooden stairs and bursting open the bedroom door, screaming at Ken to help me carry these junk chairs home.

He did, and they sat in our garage for two years, begging to be sanded, painted and re-upholstered. Life got in the way, of course, but I knew I wanted these two chairs for the long haul.

And now, those tossed-out and long-forgotten chairs are pieces that I treasure more than anything else. I could care less about the dining room table we scored on Craig’sList for cheap, or the mid-century rockers I purchased on eBay. Those items don’t tell stories (although my credit card bill did!). Our IKEA dressers have no heritage and the Anthropologie curtains I lovingly folded and tucked away into boxes mean nothing now.

Today, Ken and I are going on a thrifting adventure to make memories. We want our furniture to tell stories, to make us smile. We want to build coffee tables that remind us of splinters, Saturday afternoons and work gloves. We want to sit on overstuffed sofas and remember the stories our grandparents told while curled up eating tomato soup.

We want to dine in two rickety chairs that remind us of sunnier days, salty air and busy streets.

And although not every item in our home will tell a story, I want it all to be meaningful in some way. Whether I pick up a new notebook at Target while with a girlfriend or reward myself with a new mug for a job well done, I want to remember my purchases and reflect on those moments.

I want to collect, not hoard.
I want to acquire, not buy.

I want to be frugal, mindful and reflective.

What about you? How do you view the things around you? Any rules you stick to in order to keep the clutter away and invest in pieces you truly love?


  • Oh, I love this!

    I’m on a quest to rid our Brooklyn apartment of excess everything. We have a house in the suburbs with a full basement. I want to clear that out next. Then I want to streamline our finances, get on top of forgotten projects, throw away old clothes, and make room for new experiences, bigger careers, and, eventually new family members.

  • what an AWESOME list, amber! i’m thinking we need a staycation this summer to tackle everything. sometimes life gets in the way, yes?

    LOVE your plans. DO IT!

  • I’m in the middle of redoing my living room which was a decision I didn’t come to lightly. The interesting thing is that when it came down to wanting to clear out and do something with my apartment, instead of doing everything at once just to get it done, I made lists. LISTS! Amazing. So now I know exactly what I want for the living room because I’m going room by room and looking at the spaces that way. And thankfully I live in the perfect antiquing spot (Upstate NY). Point is that I totally feel you on this. I’m being very thoughtful about what I want in my space. It feels good to do it this way. Yanno?

  • I am totally with you here–pieces that mean the most are the ones with memories attached. Plus, I usually find that pieces with character are so timeless.

    A few months ago, I needed a new bed. After looking around, I ended up asking my dad for help and we built a bed frame together. It was a little more expensive and much more time-consuming than if I had just picked one up at Ikea, but the time we spent together and all the funny stories that came out of it were totally worth it. Plus, it led to me needing a custom headboard, which involved a trip to my cooky seamstress aunt. Nothing like furniture to bring a family together!

  • It’s the rickety things that always look the best. I have a chair that I got in exchange for babysitting from my antique-loving-neighbor, and even though my friends call it a “pile of sticks” it’s my absolute favorite piece of furniture in my house.

  • I am all about this!

    Now, I’m a very simple girl, and do not have a lot of meaninful things – but I have a lot of ‘stuff’, which attracts more stuff, and then it’s suddenly not an Oprah ah-ha moment, but an oh-my-why-did-we-need-this moment. I have been de-cluttering, donating and repurposing items this last week – and it’s slowly working. Having some room to grow is lovely, and open space seems more open to possibility, making memories, and deserves to be filled with those meaningful items you talk about. This concept is sort of a little piece of happiness to me. Out with things and onto fuller meanings!

    Lovely post, Erin!


  • minus the technology, just about everything in our apartment is vintage. if something wasn’t when we brought it home, it is now because we’ve been married a long time ;).

    i used to buy things i couldn’t live without and then figure out where to put them. after many years as a collector, i would do the reverse. i think we have a bit too much for my taste and selling is harder than buying. that would be my advice. oh, and have fun!

  • those are fantastic goals, erin…that’s definitely something i feel missing when i make purchases. it feels empty and all i notice is that my bank account has drained just a little below where it should be. you are full of budgeting and thrifty genius, aren’t you?

  • I really love this! I’m adopting this as my new mantra as I shop for new things and purge the stuff I have. I’m hoping to move halfway across the country soon, and I only want to bring things I truly love with me. Thanks for sharing!

  • oh you girls are such great goal-setters! i love your ideas (particularly heather’s lists – genius!) and am so on board with what you’re doing.

    i can’t wait to see where this new mindset takes us, yes?

  • oh dear: i’m also in the middle of this! only our house renovation is going on 4 years with a gutted first floor. (we finished the upstairs and now we live up there.) Anyway: Yes. We brought nothing but our bed and two dressers to our house. i’ve tossed almost everything and every month, I toss more. I’ve gotten good at not buying ANYTHING I don’t absolutely love. we still don’t have a couch. but i’d rather find one we love than buy something we want to give away in a year!
    good luck!

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