To me, being surrounded by the things I love and that inspire me, make me feel at home. I like to fill my home with special pieces that I have collected over the years. Some items are mementos from trips that I have taken. A few special pieces have been passed down from relatives and hold special memories. Other pieces I have collected and assembled over time and have gathered from places some from auctions and estate sales. My advice is to simplify and edit your possessions. Keep only what you love. Now some of you are just starting out while others have a lifetime of possessions.

Look around your home, what items do you have that you truly love and what items to you have because your Aunt Edna gave them to you and you don’t know what to do with it? Or that you bought on a whim because you needed it and now you have 3 because you have so much stuff that you cannot find what you already have.Take sometime and go through the items you own…room by room, closet by closet. Remove anything you do not truly love. Make four piles with the items you remove:Sell – You can sell items at a yard sale, consignment shop, eBay or other on-line auction, the newspaper, etc. Donate – Pick a charity and donate you unwanted itemsThrow away - Anything that is not worth selling or donating.Store – Anything that you do not truly love but are not ready to part with you can store…After 6 months reevaluate how you feel about the item, if you are still ready to part with it you can keep it…I recommend that you get rid of anything that you haven’t used in the last 12 months (unless it has sentimental value). Now that you have pared down to the things you love, surround yourself with the best. Now you might be thinking yah right how am I supposed to do that on my income? Well, you might not be able to do it all at once….However, if you surround yourself with only the items you love and only the best, you will always be happy with what you have. Let’s take a sofa for example. You need a sofa, you fall in love with a $3,000 sofa that is very well made with a hardwood frame and hand tied springs but it is too much money to spend on a piece of furniture, so you go to the local furniture store and buy a new sofa for $1,000. You don’t love it but it is functional. A few months later, you decide that you really don’t like the sofa, it really isn’t very comfortable - the padding is getting really compressed and it the sofa is sagging. So, it is a year later and you buy another $1000 sofa to replace the one you hate… this cycle continues and pretty soon you have spent more on sofas that you do not like than you would have spent on the one you loved. Now the thing about buying the best quality (and the best quality doesn’t always mean the most expensive) is that it lasts. Quality furniture like the sofa can last for a very long time.

Quality furniture can be reupholstered in the case of a sofa or refinished in the case of a table over and over again…whereas the lower quality pieces won’t hold up over the years and ultimately can cost more in the long run. Now you do not have to buy brand new pieces to get the best. Often times you can find great pieces at auctions or estate sales for a fraction of what a new lower quality pieces would cost. Let’s go back to the sofa. You might not have $3000 to spend on a sofa but you want a quality piece, I would suggest that you visit quality furniture stores and become educated about what to look for in a piece of furniture and then hit the estate sales. A friend of mine picked up a top of the line sofa for $100 at an estate sale. A comparable sofa at a furniture store would have cost $6500. In her case, the sofa was in perfect condition and she loved the fabric it was upholstered in. But if you find a piece with good bones, you can always have it reupholstered. At another sale, she picked up an antique high quality dresser made out of solid wood with dovetail construction for $25. You see quality antiques are not just for mega-millionaires. When it comes to purchasing furniture for your home, buy quality pieces not just items to fill up a room. When you buy large items like a sofa, keep it simple. And remember that it is okay to take time to furnish your home. Furnishing your home is an ever evolving process that should reflect who you are. If you pick up a decorating magazine and look at the designer rooms, you will note that most of the rooms look like the evolved over time. They are not filled with matching sets of furniture. You should trust your eye when picking pieces for your home and remember that pieces that you love will always go together because they were “picked by the same eye”. A room filled with pieces that you love is always in style.

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