I’m one of those “shove the junk into the closet” types of people. So when I came across the newest iteration of home decorating titled Design Well Within Reach by Michael Cannell in this weekend’s NY Times, I thought my prayers had been answered. Oh rather, I thought my excess of junk would be more excusable, since NY Times said it was trendy.
Yet my conscience and pesky inability to be lazy got the best of me, and I fell into a mindset of trying to make the best of what’s around. Oh Dave Matthews, you still manage to remain relevant in my life, long after I’ve gotten over my high school obsession with your band. I realized that since we’re going to live in our home for the foreseeable future, so I might as well try to improve its “chi.”
Consequently, I got on a huge spring cleaning kick this weekend and was stunned by how much better everything looked after putting in just a few hours of my time. It felt so good to pack away holiday decorations, rearrange rooms and get rid of excess clutter. Note to all: WikiHow’s “How to be organized,” which recommended I begin at the beginning and not three steps ahead like I normally do, was a borderline spiritual experience for me. Simple instructions really reoriented my thinking to be about getting rid of extra junk rather than spending money on storage to hide the underlying clutter. I’ll spare you the before and after photos, but Future Husband was equally enthralled with the results I had to show off after he got back from his comedy shows Sunday and Monday.
Rather than buying, buying, buying, my dabbling in reorganization got the inner me singing the old PSA from my youth: “Recycle, Reduce, Reuse.” Since the wedding will be in a classy venue, I can’t with as much of a woodsy, natural vintage look as I had initially dreamed up, but I realized there are plenty of opportunities to do it up with elegant, gently used accessories. Here are my new decorative obsessions as of late:
Buttons – There’s something sweet and pragmatic about buttons. I’ve seen them incorporated into bouquets, place setting cards and the likes. A friend sent along a great how-to guide for making a brooch bouquet like the one pictured above and I look forward to giving that project a whirl one weekend.
Books – Whenever I walk into an antique bookstore and take in the warm, musty smell of well-loved books for sale, I think of my dad. He’ll scavenge a great used books store from top to bottom for a first edition or signed copy from a favorite author. I came across a post at the beginning of the year with beloved books incorporated into centerpieces, and then another, and then another, and I’m starting to think I’ve stumbled onto a trend that reflects Jimmy and me, both avid readers, and our heritage as well.
Chalkboards – I love the new trend to elegantly written menu items or table numbers on chalkboards placed in gorgeous frames. The dichotomy between the kid-like nature of a chalkboard — which I suppose could harken back to my days in the teaching world — and the beautiful details in the frame that surrounds it is a beautiful thing. The world isn’t black and white, but I’ve always loved the power of binaries that literary theorists dreamed up.
Eclectic little vases – My mother has always loved little things. Whether it’s been miniature figurines to put in her garden or tiny, little vases that denote the beauty of a single, fragile flower, I too, have become enamored of the interesting juxtaposition of differently sized and colored little vases as opposed to overbearing and sometimes monstrous centerpieces. Going back to feng-shui, which is really just a word I like to use more than a theory I’ve completely bought into, I don’t want to have physical barriers between the guests, that hinder the flow of conversation and make it hard to see one another.
Future Husband and I have made a lot of progress in our wedding planning over the past few weeks. We have nearly all the major players in order and just have to start throwing down cash to secure their services. Some may fault me for planning too early, but it feels so good to know that I still have a year ahead of me to enjoy finding joy in the little tasks that will arise along the way. I love assessing what we have and recreating and re-purposing our things, which all have sentimental value in one way or another (even the junk.) As good old Dave sings, “Turns out not where but who you’re with/ That really matters/…We’ll make the best of what’s around.”