I remember when we bought our first house. We were young and poor, and I was yet to get subscriptions to every single “shelter” magazine published. And HGTV wasn’t even a glimmer in anyone’s eye. So we were two poor and ignorant homeowners, trying our best to turn all of those empty rooms into a haven. 

We didn’t succeed. It is very hard to decorate a home with the remnants of college dorm rooms, hand me downs from Mom and Dad (oh, the blue bureau with pink polka dots from my room at home—where to feature THAT?), and end tables made out of orange crates. We bought some posters of World War Two Russian propaganda (we were very “cutting edge” back then) that were extremely depressing, and we hung them in the hall. I used that stick-on shelf paper as wallpaper in the bathroom. It was ghastly, but we were so proud of our innovative spirit. 

We had a forest green sofa. It was very big and very, very green. I didn’t know about throw pillows back then. So it stayed green and big. You could say that it LOOMED. Our living room consisted of the looming sofa, a matching set of thrift store tables, and lots of scented candles. Oh, and we did have assorted crocheted afghans, lovingly donated by my mother. 

Fast forward forty some years. A lot has happened. Income, for one. Children born, raised, and gone. The dog died. Pottery Barn. I actually hired a decorator. Once. I subscribed to Architectural Digest for a while. I learned about the power of accessorizing. Sister Parrish became my icon.

And as the years went by, I bought things. Persian rugs. Lamps. Lots of little accessories. Some art actually signed by the artists. A few antiques. And thanks to HGTV and all those stylish magazines, I managed to arrange my rooms in a pleasing fashion. 

My closets and attic are full now. Good grief, I now have too many things! There are baskets galore in the attic. The pantry cupboards are full of tchotchkes not in current use. Really, it looks like the stock room at Crate and Barrel in there. 

And how does this make me feel? Some people would want to do a massive clear-out. Not me. I feel safe and secure, knowing that if at any time I need to switch out some throw pillows, I don’t even have to get dressed. I needn’t use up any expensive gasoline driving to the mall. I can keep my carbon footprint small. The attic awaits. The basement is no slouch, either.

Some people spent their entire adult lives building stock portfolios and retirement accounts. Not me! I acquired stuff. I am riding high! I am secure in the knowledge that if that vase doesn’t look good on the sofa table, all I have to do is look for something else in the vast reservoir of home goods in my stockpile.

My husband has given me a five year grace period to ride this wave of tchotchke bliss. Then, we have to start getting rid of all of it. 

No wonder my Mom gave me all those afghans she crocheted. My father must have been looking in her closets.

The pendulum swings.


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