I’ve been on a mission for the past couple of years to de-clutter but also hang onto my keepsakes. That sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Turns out, it isn’t.

I read an interesting article suggesting the new generation isn’t interested in holding onto the household stuff of past generations.  Where family china used to increase in value, it’s now more likely to be virtually worthless as time passes and you won’t find nearly as many new brides signing up for a china pattern on gift registries. The trends are toward downsizing and less clutter.  It seems my idea of clearing out some of my clutter is timely. I can add sparing my children the hassle of dealing with all of it when I’m gone to the list of reasons for doing it. This story also points out the hardship when the sad day of the passing of parents or grandparents arrives and there is the chore of liquidating the estate.  Selling the items has become more and more difficult and the value of them continues to drop. People are less excited by antiques, collecting things or completing a set of china than they used to be.

While this trend of cutting down on possessions is going up, so is the interest in family, heritage and traditions. People are interested in preserving, re-purposing, downsizing and also returning to traditional values and nurturing family relationships. Genealogy fits in here as a hobby that is becoming more mainstream and it influences how people are choosing to decorate smaller spaces.  People might not be gravitating toward antiques in the way of the recently past decades but they are interested in bringing them in if they can offer function, beauty and remind of family ties. Think of the countless television shows that suggest using vintage items as wall hangings or other forms of decor. The antiques or vintage items aren’t being used the way they once were, they are being used in new ways. In addition to being pretty to look at, using something that has deeper meaning is the ideal scenario.

Not everyone is creative

To mix together objects that fit modern decorating themes, pull their weight in some practical sense and also feed into everyone’s ability to have their home become a statement of who they are is a tall order.  It does require creativity. What happens if you’re not creative? Pinterest happens for some, YouTube video tutorials for others and hiring designers, buying books and guides happens for everyone else.

Here are some steps to follow to see where you fit into the creativity spectrum while you get in on these trends.

  1. Of course you have to start with cleaning out and doing a little organizing. Get rid of things that have no sentimental value, no practical value and haven’t been used in the past year.
  2. Gather up everything that does have sentimental value and put it all in one place. I have 3 or 4 storage tubs full and a corner of the basement reserved for bigger things.
  3. Include rusty old things that might be crafted into something really interesting as a decorating project.
  4. Don’t be too quick on the trigger having the discard items hauled away. Do a little exploring first to make sure some of these won’t fit some creative ideas.
  5. Explore for creative ideas. Use Pinterest, decorating blogs, HGTV, various other DIY-oriented television shows, YouTube tutorials, books, magazines, and so on. Align the ideas to your decorating style. Farmhouse decor lends itself well to these projects as well as shabby chic, cottage, vintage decor and eclectic themes.
  6. Review the keepsakes and mementos you held aside from your clean out and spend an hour here and there looking through those idea sources.  Some of them will start to appeal to you as favorites while others drop off your list.
  7. Think in terms of creating story prompts as well as using something as part of home decor.  Now that you have a general idea of what you have hidden away and what kind of projects exist for bringing them out into the room you should be able to pick out some projects.

Buy It Now

When you aren’t creative and you don’t have the time or the desire to try to find ideas you can buy your way to having a home that truly reflects your family story.  Do a little exploration of your family history, find associations to things you can purchase and use them as a means to tell the tales of how your family came to be when guests express interest in them. Invest in just a little bit of quality so the items upgrade a room just by being there but aren’t beyond your budget. A few nice items that are associated with family trivia are better than a house full of mass produced, randomly selected things that don’t have much meaning.

Still stuck?

If you’re still stuck for ideas check out this free guide.  Examples, images and links show you some specific ways you can take what you have, inject a little creativity and come away with a stylish piece of decor for every room in the house!