Do any of you bloggy buds just come to the end of your decorating rope? As in, going into overload with all the projects and props and mess everywhere? Or perhaps, like me this morning, you feel that if you see one more candlestick/vase/basket/dish/picture frame/chair/etc. you will go completely postal?
I love to decorate, be creative, find solutions. But, I often come to a place where I realize I'm not really LIVING anymore. I get obsessive about find the perfect mix of stuff for my shelves or the perfect color for a room, or a the perfect arrangement for my furniture. I get grumpy, I get frustrated, I get depressed. So in the midst of this, my house is generally a disaster area, laundry doesn't get done, dinner becomes grilled cheese on paper plates, bathrooms begin growing interesting stuff. We have a plethora of pencils or sissors or tape, but we have no idea where they are because stuff is such a disorganized mess most of the time. Kids whine that I won't just SIT DOWN and watch a movie with them. Hubby stops asking to take evening strolls with me to take in the colors of the trees.....
While I have a fairly large home (5 bedrooms, 3 baths, 3 living areas, 2 dining areas....) the rooms are small, and every single one has awkwardly placed doorways and windows. I want my house to be a mix of beauty and function. I spend tons of time and energy melding those two things, but for every step forward I make, it feels often that I've run four miles backward in another room. I drool with envy at Layla's house, slam my head against my keyboard saying why.can't.i.be.beautiful.like.her.have.a.house.like.hers. But Layla doesn't have 4 kids and a 100 pound dog running about all day, throwing toys and papers and shoes and dog hair everywhere. Or teenage girls who don't care for your decorating style and would prefer florescent aqua and zebra accents or lime green and mahagony canopy beds in their rooms. Or a budget of zero for new floors or beadboard ceilings or power tools. Or a hubby who can drop everything and remove a wall. That's just not my reality. It never will be.
My biggest decorating challenge is being content with what I have. While I love decorating magazines, I've found such solace in the decorating blogworld of REAL homes....homes with their slips showing, so to speak. Hearing and seeing the realities of so many normal women also trying to find time to make their homes peace-filled sanctuaries without going broke or crazy or both. There's always gonna be someone's house that is thinner or more popular or better dressed or younger or older......but most of us are learning to be content with what we've been given. Most of us won't have a Lettered Cottage. Ever.
Which brings me to the uncomfortable truth that there's just all kinds of wrong with complaining that I have 10 too many candlesticks and birds. I'm coming to the place as I makeover rooms in this house, that too much crap is sucking my time and energy. Years ago, I had a friend who had lived in her home for years, raised her kids there, collected tons trinkets and artwork from the gift shop she worked in, hosted guests every week for meals and/or overnights, and spent hours on her family's geneology photos and memorabilia. One night there was a gas leak, and she and her husband barely escaped with their lives before their home expoded into flames. Every single thing was lost. Afterwards, she went into such a deep depression that those close enough to help her feared she would commit suicide....her grief over her 'things' was overwhelming.
I remember thinking at the time that I never wanted to be so attached to my things that my life would be ruined if I lost them somehow. I would want to grieve the loss of the important things, not stuff. I took inventory of my home, determining what really had worth, and what was so much chaff. 90% was the chaff, and I realized I'd spend too much time fussing over the frou-frous in my house. At the time, we sold our newly built home and moved back to a cheaper town, bought a much smaller, older and cheaper home, and began to get off the treadmill of more, more, more. That was 12 years ago, and since then, we've had ups and downs....readjusting our priorities every now and then with seasons of life. Sometimes we've done really well with balance, other times we go off the deep end.
I'm thinking I'm now in the deep and needing to re-evaluate the meaning of my 'stuff' once again. I bought too much for this house. I spend too much time worrying over what will go where, what color this-and-such will get painted, where will I find some money to buy this-and-such. My kids are growing up in the midst of the chaos of mom redoing rooms constantly, never content. In light of this, I'm purging. I've decided this week I will take stock and get rid of stuff. Lots of stuff. Lots of stuff I really like. Lots of stuff I have inspiration for, but not the time or energy or space to store it. Stuff that somehow possesses me and my time and energy that belong to my family. It's said that if you always say yes to the good, you very often miss the best. I'm missing the best, folks.
I'm rambling incoherently now. I'm still going to work on my rooms, but I'm not going to fret over accessories. I'm going to give away what I don't have a place for, and I'm going to be thankful for healthy kids and food in the fridge, a hubby with a good job and a nice rear end, 3 cars and a ridiculous amount of supportive friends. Whether my candlesticks look 'just so' isn't going to be a priority anymore.