Shopping Your House

Have you heard the concept of “shopping your house“? My sister Jackie and I keep using this phrase to explain how we’re beginning to think about how to decorate a new home. It’s so exciting to think of having a blank slate, a chance to start over in some ways.

We want to mix things up, rearrange furniture and decor, and generally just make things look nice. It’s really easy to quickly come up with a lengthy list of items we would want to buy to fill a new space. However, we are far from having an unlimited budget, especially in terms of decor, so we turn to a more creative approach.

I don’t remember when I first came across the idea of “shopping your house” because I’ve seen it so many places. I thought it seemed like common sense at first, looking at what you have before buying new things to fill a space. But in putting the concept into practice, I have been surprised by how many things were in our apartment that I wouldn’t have thought to use differently (or that I didn’t even know/remember we had!).

Just last night, my sister and I began moving things around in our apartment, trying to think of how we could rearrange things and move pieces from one room to another for after we move to a new place. It was kind of like a domino effect: if we moved one piece from its current home to another place, we felt the need to replace it with something else, which then also had to be replaced. That seemed to be the pattern for big things like furniture, anyway.

We started by filling the bookcase that had held books with DVDs to free up the storage cubes that Jackie wants to move to her room. A nice bonus was that the DVD tower we cleared off in the process didn’t have a home yet, and we realized its compact size makes it a great fit for some extra bathroom storage! It was really encouraging to see such tangible evidence of the fact that we do have more than we think, if only we will take the time to give our things a second look and consider what hidden potential might be right under our noses.

Once we started, it was hard to stop. We combined our craft and office supplies, as well as our medications, to save space and create a single centralized location for shared items. We ended up freeing up several storage containers and throwing away unwanted items in the process, which was an unexpected perk to our organizing. We were able to organize most of our shared supplies using containers we already had simply by reorganizing them in more efficient ways and getting rid of excess items.

To try to manage the chaos that was ensuing, we created a list of things we currently have, organized by room, and things we might want to get for each room. We added items to the list as we found them, assigning each piece a home, and sometimes changing our minds.

Simply repainting a bookcase, moving a chair, or pairing things together in a different arrangement can completely change the way a room looks and feels, bringing new life into it. There are so many tutorials for updating old fixtures or furniture, and even more ideas for inspiration on websites like Pinterest. Together, they provided us with a great deal of motivation to get our creative minds working to transform our space using what we already had before going on a crazy shopping spree.

You never know what you might find lurking in the back of your closet! Maybe you’ll see something with fresh eyes, repurpose a somewhat forgotten piece into something that is once again useful, or find a better home for something you already love. We certainly did! No matter what your goal is (decluttering, decorating a new home, redecorating your current one), I suggest starting first with what you have. I hope you find some great things that can make your house feel like a home!


Work With What You Have

This month, as I strive to not buy unnecessary things, I’m trying to be content with what I already have. I have started to see greater potential in things currently in my home, finding ways to get creative and repurpose items that have been overlooked or underutilized. This way, I can change things up when I want to while avoiding big hits to my wallet.

As my sister and I are hoping to find a new place to live, we’re taking this transition as an opportunity to look through the things we currently have and create a space that better reflects our personalities and what we want our home to look and feel like. We’ve both collected various items over the years that don’t necessarily represent who we are or how we want our space to function. We have picked these things up at thrift stores because they were cheap, gotten them as well-intentioned gifts, or even purchased them because we liked them at the time, but have since grown out of them. The result is an apartment full of mis-matched things that we’re not so crazy about. So begins yet another pile of items to be donated.

Hoping we’ll have a new home to call our own and decorate in whatever way we wish gives us a blank slate, an opportunity to start over in a way.As twenty-somethings, we don’t have much dispensable income (especially considering the fact that we’re looking to move), so we’re getting creative with what we have. Knowing there are some treasures hidden in the clutter we’ve accumulated, we are also brainstorming ways to create a space that does suit us better. My sister is really good at repurposing things, and I’m working on channeling her creativity and artistic eye in transforming old, ignored pieces into true treasures.

I began by taking a look around my room and my apartment to see what could use a little sprucing up. I also took inventory of what supplies I had on hand, both so that I can make sure I use them up in an effort to not accumulate too much, and to save money when possible by using what I already have. I knew I didn’t need to go out and buy all-new decor for my home to make it look and feel the way I wanted to; there certainly were things I wanted to change, and I set about trying to do it creatively.

When I purchased a new bed and bedding set a month ago, I told myself I was going to work to create a more cohesive color palette and decor theme. Instead of seeing such a wide array of miscellaneous things that don’t go together, I wanted to work to make things feel like they really fit and belong in the space.

I drew inspiration from Pinterest, of course, to find some DIY projects that wouldn’t break the bank, and my sister and I quickly put together a board full of fabulous ideas for our next home! Some things will have to wait until we have a new space, but there are others that I can try my hand at now to get a head-start on creating a unified, relaxing, calming space of things that I love and things that really fit well together.


I recently re-made my jewelry board that I didn’t want IMG_0577 (1)to get rid of but kept thinking was a bit of an eyesore. So I began by painting the frame of my jewelry board (just an old bulletin board) and recovering it with fabric that actually matches my room instead of the purple floral linen I had used when I made it a few years ago. I had the new fabric and paint already, so I didn’t have to spend any money on the project, and it fits much better with the other things in my room now (including a large picture frame that I updated with new scrapbook paper to mat the photo, tying it in to the other pieces I have in my room).

Of course, this little one-evening project got my wheels turning about what else I can do to transform my space. I have already come up with a list of small changes I can make,IMG_0580 and I look forward to slowly seeing my room come together as I cross them off the list. There’s a special feeling of accomplishment when you see your hard work pay off, and I think handmade items add a certain touch that store-bought pieces just can’t measure up to.

What kinds of things have you repurposed? When have you used your creative talents to transform a space? Do you have any suggestions for making your house feel like a home on a tight budget? I’d love to hear them!

Home Improvements

This month, I’ve been trying to focus on my physical possessions (although I’ll admit it seems like early summer business has distracted me quite a bit).

In trying to make my house (apartment) a home, I’ve done more decluttering and purging (shout out to my cousin for having a well-timed garage sale!) to create cleaner, more simplified spaces, which has felt like a bit of a cop-out since the effect is pretty minimal. After getting rid of unnecessary clutter and reorganizing what was left, however, I do find myself spending less time staring at my stuff and feeling dissatisfied with how much I have and how it’s organized/arranged. I’m getting closer to feeling like I have kept only the things that are useful or beautiful and gotten rid of the excessive clutter that just takes up valuable space.

I’m also working on some projects to spruce up what I already have and make it more beautiful so that I can feel more at home in my space. After all, we all want to feel more comfortable, restful, and peaceful in our homes, right? I find that comes more easily when our heads aren’t full of a list of improvements we need to make in order to appreciate our surroundings. Sure, there are always going to be things that need repairs or upkeep, but I’m talking more about doing the things necessary to transform a space full of drab, uncoordinated things that appear thrown together by chance into a cohesive space that doesn’t make us feel discombobulated or anxious to fix it.

I commissioned my sister and her friend to create a headboard for my new bed, both after seeing the great job the two of them did on her headboard and after realizing that a store-bought one would cost quite a bit more (and I didn’t see any I loved). They did a great job!

Eventually, I hope to work with them to frame my full-length mirror, too. My sister added a large wooden frame to hers a while back, and it looks so much cleaner, crisper, and polished (no pun intended) than mine that’s screwed directly into the wall with the manufacturer’s brackets.

I tried taking on the big challenge of re-fitting the slip-covers that have been on our couches since we moved in. The couches and covers were generously given to us, and while we are incredibly grateful to not have had to shell out a large sum of money for furniture, the covers don’t fit well and look rather disheveled. However, I discovered the work was far more difficult than it was worth, since it’s a bit above my skill level as an amateur seamstress. But I tried!

I also rearranged some of the kitchen cupboards’ contents to try and make our storage more efficient. I ended up moving some things around in our linen closet, too, and finding enough room to store some bulk items in there to create more space in the kitchen. I’m not sure how long it will last, since I feel like I’m continually coming up with ideas that seem more logical or efficient, but we’ll see!

What sorts of projects have you done around your house to make it feel more like a home? Do you have any tips for working with what you already have to create a more personalized and relaxing space? I’d love to hear them!