Monday, March 20, 2017

Shopping tips

I will readily admit that I have bought things I should not have purchased, simply because marketing got to me.  Maybe it was at Marshall's in a shelf near the line to pay. Maybe it was precious, pink Easter bunnies on an appliqued set of napkins. Or my purchase might have been a result of sentimentality. It could have been a classic styled milk jug that reminded me of a jug my mom or grandmother owned.

Whatever the reason, I would come home with my purchase and then search for a location for it. Would it look better in the living room bookcase, or on a bedroom nightstand? I might move it around the house a bit, then sometimes relegate it to a closet in case I could ever use it.

Then we moved! And all of those "treasures" had to be packed, sold or donated. Friends wanted some of them while other things were sold. I still have a few piles in the garage that need to be donated.

What caused this access? Instead of worrying about that; I prefer to consider how it can be avoided?

I am now committed to working to make sure home accessory purchases fit these criteria:

  • Make sure I love the item, and am not just falling pry to marketing
  • Is it a style that fits into my decor?  I can love a purple, Easter table runner, but it will not "work" in my dining room with blue walls and a dark red Oriental rug.

    Many of us have seen houses that contain a random collection of items. If the homeowner is pleased, there is nothing wrong with that home decor.

    Yet, for those who want a home that looks coordinated, purchases need to coordinate with the style and color of the home as a whole.
  • Does it serve a purpose? (This is different than being functional like a bowl or serving tray that both have functions.)

    A ceramic pineapple can serve a purpose. The pineapple is a historic symbol of hospitality. It could be used in a bookcase, on a table, or on your kitchen counter top as a welcome symbol. It is serving a purpose.

    A wicker basket might serve a purpose. Large baskets can be filled with blankets, magazines, laundry, or any number of things. Small baskets can hold decorative soaps, styling products, candies, etc.

    Sitting on a shelf and adding beauty to our homes is a purpose as well. However, we still need to ask ourselves if this basket is the "perfect" basket for the space we need to fill.
  • Does it fit in the budget? We should not be embarrassed by turning down purchases because they do not fit into our budgets. It is a reality that most consumers have limited income and we all need to live within that income. We should never allow someone to talk us into something we don't need/love/can't afford. Buying things on credit is not wise. Can it be paid for without going into debt? If not, then it is best to leave it at the store.

    It is wiser to buy a needed mattress and inexpensive mattress frame on credit if necessary, than to purchase an entire bedroom full of furniture that will take us years to pay off. This is where creativity needs to be considered. Can we find what we want in a used furniture store? Something that will fit into our budget? Use creativity or borrow furniture from family while you save for what you want.
  • Conquer the stores: For those of us who easily get "overwhelmed" in large spaces with truckloads of wonderful products to pick though, it helps to know a "trick" that Lauren taught our decorating class. It applies to any type of shopping.

    Focus only on the item(s) you need. Block out the rest of the store.

    I will use an example of searching for a weather-proof trunk to use by my front door. It is needed to handle invoices/statements left by the yard crew, pool maintenance, notes from neighbors, etc. I walk into Hobby Lobby, Home Goods, or At Home and instantly see huge warehouse style stores with products of every shape/size/color/purpose.

    Instead of roaming aimlessly through the store, I need to find where my goal item would be if it was in the store. I can take a minute to scan the store or ask a nearby employee. Neither of these methods is fool-proof. The employee may not know, or I might guess incorrectly.

    I still may end up roaming through the store. But I am not going to allow myself to be distracted by other "cute," "wonderful," or "perfect" items. I am searching for a weather-proof trunk. I might not even have a shopping cart so I will be less tempted to add items to the cart.

    No trunk?  I head to the next store instead of allowing myself to search through art, clearance sales (they can be major temptations), or beautiful floral arrangements. I need a trunk! That is all.

    Lauren explained it in a more simple manner. She told her students not to worry about the abundance of items that weren't related to what we are searching for. Focus ONLY on what we need. That gets our focus off excess "clutter" in the store that doesn't apply to what we are looking for. 
In my world, creating a beautiful home is a process, not something to be handed over to a designer who has been given an unlimited budget to spend. 

I value designers and have worked with two ladies on our new home. One advised us through the planning and building stages. The other helped me with a few specific furniture pieces. 

But this is my home, and I want it to reflect my husband and me. While I am constantly on the lookout for things to use in our home, I also force myself to not buy something just to have my house totally "put together." I will continue to search for something better. Why waste the money unless the product is exactly what I am searching for?

Another "trick" that helps me. If I am looking for the illusive trunk for the front porch and see a beautiful fiberboard truck that will serve the purpose, I can be tempted to buy it. BUT...........I realize it will not last in the weather and my search will continue for the trunk I need. Instead of buying something that will work for a short period of time, it saves money to keep searching for the "perfect" trunk. 

Going Around in Circles is the perfect example of not buying something just to get the house decorated.

The headboard in the above photo is from a room that once belonged to a young boy. It is now magically changing to be at home in a space that two little girls can enjoy when they visit grandparents, or even adults can use when visiting our home.

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