Thursday, January 19, 2012

The problem of vintage

borrowed from: la woman

I love vintage.

Anything vintage, really.

Dishes, tablecloths, sheets (I have several dresses that I've made from vintage sheets), curtains, furniture, artwork, dresses... the list goes on.

And this wouldn't be a problem... except that I just seem to keep piling the vintage on.

It seems to me that many vintage-lovers also tend to be vintage hoarders.  No, not Hoarders-the-TV-show type hoarders, but people who keep-keep-keep just the same.  It's true.

Yes, it is true that I.. may or may not be... one of those people who will buy vintage bits and pieces just because they're pretty, just because they're cute, or even just because they're old.  I'm not usually thinking about where I'll put when I walk out of the store with it in my hand.  Or maybe I'll have every intention of giving it away to someone else, but if I'm honest with myself -- really, really honest -- I know that, a.) I don't need it (even if it's for someone else), and b.) just bringing it into my home makes my life more complicated than it needs to be.

Check out these photos I got from googling, "vintage rooms":

borrowed from: country living

borrowed from: bellz & whistlez

Those are such beautiful rooms, aren't they?  And I know some people (most?), would be fine as far as the stuff factor in each of these rooms.  But for me, beautiful as they are, it just feels like too much.  And that's how so many vintage styled houses and rooms tend to be.  Lots of stuff, cute little things, pictures, and books -- all of them so fun and beautiful to look at.  And all of them there.  Together.  In once small space.

I used to look at pictures online and in magazines, and think some of the same things I think about these two photos: beautiful! So fun, with such inspiring pieces.  And I love how people will mix and match different vintage eras and somehow still come up with a really cohesive room.

Loving this style, as I do, I just assumed that continually adding more and more cute, vintage "stuff" to my home was the only way to achieve it.  That somehow continually layering and layering on new pieces and textures was the only way I could truly be happy.  I'm very visual, and pictures like these have an incredible appeal to me.

But simplifying your home isn't just about the way things look.

Because the way my house looks affects the way I feel.  About my life, about my space, even about my relationships with other people (namely, the Mister!).  Being as visual as I am means that I tie pictures to my emotions and feelings, and vice versa.  And what I came to discover is that even if we had as many beautiful, intriguing bits and pieces layered around the house as one of the above pictures, I was still not going to get the same feeling from my own surroundings as I got from a photo.

No.  Instead, being a naturally messy sort of person, I was going to get the opposite effect!  A disaster!  Because a messy person + too many belongings = a giant mess of too many belongings!

So, a dilemma has arisen.  How to combine my vintage loves with the absolute necessity of paring my lifestyle down (dramatically, for me)?  I don't really have any reference for that look.

I'm decidedly not into stark.  This photo,

borrowed from:

while, indeed, beautiful (that is one of my favorite shades of yellow), is not something I could get behind.  So, the traditional "minimalist" look is out.

I thoroughly understand why other people would want this look, and, of course, to each their own, but it's not for me.  I love the homey feel of soft, pretty curtains, an old (but well kept) couch, a handmade touch, some throw blankets.  I love pictures on the wall, and even a few throw pillows (what kind of simpleton am I?!) for texture.

This may change, of course.  As we continue along the path of simplifying.  I fully expect change, and I'm excited about it.  So, if I do decide, someday, to let go of my last throw pillows and afghans, then that will be that.  In the meantime, however, I still need to keep some of these things that inspire me and make me love our tiny little house and the lives we live within it.

So, what I'm saying is, I think simplifying a home looks different for different people.  For some, that picture above, of the stark house overlooking the ocean just encompasses all their minimalist hopes and dreams.  For me -- and for the mister, too (I think I can speak for him) -- I've got to find a middle ground.  Somewhere between the traditional "vintage" look with lots and lots of layers and the traditional minimalist look -- spare and slick, with plenty of hard, unyielding surfaces.

What does all this mean for us?

We've really just begun to tackle the madness that is our little house, and it's still pretty overwhelming.  While I've mostly got my sewing and general craft supplies under control, my yarn still has a life of it's own.

So, right now I guess it means I need to go start tackling the GINORMOUS Mount Yarn in the former sewing/knitting/all-things-crafting room.  Oh!  And the old wooden box of yarn in the living room.  Mmhm.  And the wicker basket under the blue chair that's full of sock yarn... and don't forget the other wicker basket full of dishcloth cotton beneath the end table and, of course, the one that houses all my odds and ends at the corner of the couch...

And guess what?  About 80% of my yarn is vintage!  Like I said.  A tendency to hoard.

If anybody knows of any charities that will accept 100% wool yarn, puh-leaze let me know ASAP.

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