Your Favorite Things

September 30, 2009

I wrote about the topic of favorite things this morning over at Real Simple in case you’d like to check it out. Also, I have a few favorite things to share of my own in the future, I’m just waiting for my boxes to arrive which will be around three more weeks! Once I have everything out and in place, I can photograph a few of my favorite things because I would really enjoy sharing them with you.

Your Favorite Things

And good news! I also plan to bring “Favorite Things” back as a regular once weekly column on decor8, especially since I still have a few in queue from some blogger friends who are waiting to share them with you, and I have many others whom I’d like to ask to participate. I believe the topic is a good one because it’s important to reflect on the memories behind the items in our home, of course not all have deep emotional attachment or value of any kind, like a towel from Target, but there are those things that you just adore and cannot imagine leaving behind in a fire or losing somehow. Pets and husbands and children are not the things that will be highlighted in this column as those are not really things, but people (or fur kids) and it’s pretty obvious that you adore and cherish your family members.

This column will explore the items in the home that mean something personal to the owner, why, how acquired, and anything else they’re willing to share. It’s important to value what we have and to also stop and think about our possessions and why we really have this or that in the home. We often get stuck and keep the table or bookshelf looking the same, and then realize that the space has been neglected. This is when you can move things around, or switch them out from room to room, or perhaps grab new things from corners where you’ve tucked away goodies for another season pulling something out of a drawer to replace it for instance. We tend to go shopping when our homes look boring… first try shopping from another room or from beneath your bed… More on under the bed in a moment, because I’m guessing you’re like, “What IS she talking about?”.

I believe that decorating the home is never “finished” and interior design is not something you “complete”. It’s an organic process of collecting and putting away and of recycling, upcycling, or selling. It’s a process of enjoying what you have today but if it no longer interests you tomorrow, that it’s okay to tuck it away and replace it with something that does. I’ve tucked away a lot in my lifetime, then retrieved it at a later date and felt first love feelings for it all over again. It just needed to rest for awhile in a closet for a renewed appreciation to occur. Often it’s this way.

Some are so quick to sell things they tire of, and of course this is fine to do, but have you ever rid yourself of something only to pine for it a week later wishing you had not? I have. That’s why I came up with a solution that works for me to end such regrets. And this is where “under the bed” comes in. It’s my version of playing some adult hide and seek game, where you hide something or place it away and then go back to it a month or two later to see if you have new ideas for the object or if perhaps you really have grown tired of it and that old spark cannot be renewed. A bed can be helpful for this if you lack space elsewhere (like I do, because apartments in Germany consist of rooms and no closet space whatsoever, you need to buy your closets here). Simply slide a storage container beneath your bed (cloth or plastic will do) and tuck away, or “hide”,  those things you aren’t keen on today. Then on your calender, 2-4 months out, mark a return date when you will “seek” for them — return to the container to retrieve what you’d hidden months prior. Look over everything, see if you can repurpose them or perhaps use them again, and if you are convinced that this or that item no longer feels right for your taste, home, etc. then you can give yourself the permission to get rid of it. I donate things on an annual basis (in the Summer) and I once had “tag sales” common in the states, though here in Germany less common — in fact, rare here in the city — so I’m planning to either take my things to the local flea market and rent a table for the day once in the Summer OR put things on eBay or perhaps bring them to a few shops that I know accepts second hand homewares. I find that by having a spot to place things that you can return to later to reevaluate and by having somewhat of a system to get rid of things (donations, selling, etc.) then you’re less likely to have a space cluttered with things you don’t really enjoy. Oh and another idea for getting rid of your goods — have a decorating party! I’ve done this in the past where girlfriends come over with clothes and we swap, or they arrive with home things and we swap, and it’s been great fun. You should be surrounded by things you consider favorites. Your home will feel better and more authentic if you have items that reflect your current taste and style.

So… with all that said, I will be introducing Favorite Things as a column sometime soon… stay tuned!

(images: holly becker)


  • Reply laura trevey September 30, 2009 at 6:29 am

    cute little elephant ~~ how sweet he would look on my bookshelf!!
    .-= laura trevey´s last blog ..Biltmore, Original Watercolor Painting, 8 by 10 =-.

  • Reply Deb@accessoryalamode September 30, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Yay! I am really excited to read MY FAVORITE THINGS on a regular basis now. Congratulations on the write up at Real Simple! I so agree that decorating is never finished. I am always finding more and more that I want to do or add. I love reading your posts and sharing your ideas!!

    • Reply decor8 September 30, 2009 at 10:09 am

      Deb – I have been writing for Real Simple since March 2008, so a 1 1/2 years now, I am over there three times a week – M/W/F.

  • Reply juliette September 30, 2009 at 6:38 am

    glad to see this will continue as a regular column. I’ve really enjoyed seeing people’s favorite things – I like how they’re almost always something old and cherished and not the latest thing from a store. Those things are great for inspiration and can help perk up a room, but seeing a favorite thing (not a coolest thing – which could also be fun) that has stood the test of time is lovely.
    .-= juliette´s last blog ..Stoffmarkt Holland in Frankfurt: a Fabric Market in Germany =-.

  • Reply Gem September 30, 2009 at 7:02 am

    Aw man, I’ve been looking for a nice purple rug forever! Where? Where, I say?

  • Reply chiaroscuro September 30, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Hello! Your system sounds very organized (seems like you are settling fine in germany ;-) but keeping stuff under your bed is so bad feng shui …
    .-= chiaroscuro´s last blog ..found in the trash =-.

    • Reply decor8 September 30, 2009 at 10:08 am

      Chiaroscuro – I guess it all has to do with your belief. Everyone is different. I personally have no problems sleeping and my bedroom is a place of peace and happiness, so I think the spirit is good in there. ;)

  • Reply Arabella September 30, 2009 at 8:59 am

    I enjoyed the Favourite Things slot while you were away and look forward to more. Thanks.
    .-= Arabella´s last blog ..I’m Outta Here =-.

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente September 30, 2009 at 9:14 am

    YAY! I am so glad this is going to be a regular feature! It was so much fun to be a part of and I loved reading everyone elses. It is a fantastic idea and one of my favorite things! (hee hee)
    .-= Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog ..It’s my bag, baby! =-.

  • Reply Melissa Allam September 30, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I’m looking forward to more favorite things. I really liked those posts. I have a large plastic box that I have labeled decorating in my garage. This is where I put items that I tire of and alot of times will retrieve them later. Everyonce in awhile I like to go shopping in my garage or elseware around the house to re-arrange or re-decorate a room in my house that needs change.
    .-= Melissa Allam´s last blog ..Uppercase Magazine =-.

  • Reply Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog September 30, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I love favorite things! I’m glad to hear it’s going to continue.
    Also, I love the hide and seek idea. I’ve gotten rid of things and then regretted it more times than I can count :(.
    .-= Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog´s last blog ..Gymless and loving it! =-.

  • Reply Lecia September 30, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I love your ‘favorite things’; glad to hear it’s going to be a regular feature.
    .-= Lecia´s last blog ..autumn color week =-.

  • Reply cristin @ simplified bee September 30, 2009 at 11:10 am

    How fun! Looking forward to reading it.

    cristin @ simplified bee

  • Reply Victoria Bennett Beyer September 30, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Same here…love these posts.
    .-= Victoria Bennett Beyer´s last blog ..Citrus Slices =-.

  • Reply jen jafarzadeh September 30, 2009 at 11:41 am

    fun! I love this column. I just love hearing people’s stories surrounding things that mean something to them.
    .-= jen jafarzadeh´s last blog ..the smiths in cross-stitch =-.

  • Reply Julia September 30, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Good question, Holly!

    I asked myself that very same question almost two years ago, when I was moving from Montevideo Uruguay to Minneapolis, MN. Another country, another language, another life… at least temporarily.

    In my case, I scanned a big heap of old family pictures, saved them on a cd and play them on my computer whenever I feel a bit sad. I thought about material things, artifacts or clothes, but I realized I can live without them for a while (we’re going back soon, so our home is waiting for us down south).

    When we were packing, I asked myself these questions:
    – will I be able to buy a better version of this item for a reasonable price?
    – will I be needing this item?
    – would I be sorry if this item gets damaged or lost in the way?

    So I didn’t bring anything I considered important with me. The only truly valuable things are our wedding rings and my husband laptop – containing his PhD research. It is surprising the sense of comfort that gives the knowledge of your things being safe, even if they are away from you.

  • Reply Cassandra September 30, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    I moved to London from New Zealand last year to start my life with a man I’d spent 34 days with. It was the best decision I made. The culling of a life’s possessions when there is a finality of movement was far more difficult than I thought it would be. My last week was a sea of Ebay sales and removal men and goodbyes. My home has always been far more important to me than perhaps thought normal. Most of it is still in storage somewhere near Heathrow as the recession meant a slight delay on buying a bigger house. What I brought into Ed’s house was my dog, some art, my copper pots, a small wooden jewelry box, photo’s of my family and books. Although I can’t wait for the day when I get to sit on my chairs, around my dining table and drinking tea out of my nana’s teaset, all of this can wait, as I now have a life with someone I never thought I would meet and he is happy for my books and dog to be in his life. Changing your life radically whether it works for the long term or not, has an unbelievable effect on what in fact is valuable.

    Your favourite things column is a lovely thing, most of all because it makes complete strangers human.
    .-= Cassandra´s last blog ..Home Sweet Home =-.

  • Reply Julia September 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Cassandra, I loved your comment! and I agree with you, changing your life changes your perspective in ways you would have never figured barely a month before.

    I watched a lovely movie a few days ago… Better than sex. Made me think of your story

    I didn’t mention this before but I did get rid of a lot of things, I just did it carefully: I gave my bike to a girlfriend, my plants to relatives, and old teapot to a workmate who knows how to enjoy the moment. I returned some presents because some people told me they wanted something from me to keep them company, and jumped on the chance to get rid of every less than perfect rag I hung on to, to donate all those books I hadn’t read in years to the local library and tearfully pass on my Cosmopolitan collection to my hairdresser (like 6 years of issues from 9 countries). I even took the time to finally send my former boyfriend all the pictures I took from him, and tear in pieces all the pictures in which we were together. It made me feel light as a feather.

    While I didn’t bring much with me, I made sure I did appreciate everything I left behind.
    .-= Julia´s last blog ..Julie , Julia y yo =-.

  • Reply Penny Patten September 30, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Sounds like fun, its nice to see what other people hold dear in their homes and or office etc. I like your swap idea with friends.

  • Reply Leigh @ Constant Cravings October 1, 2009 at 1:53 am

    Very timely post! I might be moving abroad for a year, so I’ve been looking around my space thinking, “What do I have to take with me?” And, “what do I love but can store away as I don’t absolutely need it in a third world country?” The last question is, “what should I give away, donate or sell?” This shedding of things is personal, sometimes painful for a hoarder like myself, but necessary. I always feel better when I’m down to just the things I love and need.
    .-= Leigh @ Constant Cravings´s last blog ..If You Could Do Anything =-.

  • Reply nina October 1, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Excellent…I look forward to reading these :-)
    .-= nina´s last blog ..Pretty + Feminine Bridal Style =-.

  • Reply Amy October 4, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Growing up, my mother packed a box of her decor items when she felt the house was too cluttered or wanted a change. I carried this with me as I’ve lived in small apartments and can’t use everything all the time. I love the idea of favorite things because it helps me see my things in a new light – and appreciate and enjoy them – and if I’m not – well out they should go. Holly – always such good ideas – thanks!

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