apple Our Fifth House: My Don't Buy Word

Friday, August 3, 2012

My Don't Buy Word

I attended the design session at the Haven Conference that was given by Darlene, Erika and Sherry.  I LOVED that session.  Honestly, it was just a treat to meet these women, but to have the opportunity to listen and learn from them was, well, in a word, okay, in two words, flipping awesome!

Over the past few weeks since the conference I've thought a lot about something that Darlene shared.  She talked about how to really define your style.  What hit home for me was when she said when shopping for your home it's a good idea to have a "don't buy" word.

I've always considered myself to be a "smart shopper".  I'm fairly frugal, with the occasional splurge.  I've recently realized that in actuality I'm a "smart spender" not a "smart shopper" and there really is a difference.  I've bought things that fit the budget and will work for the space I'm currently working on many times.  More often than not though, those items don't remain in the space for long.  They end up being stored away, donated, or garage-saled.  Why?  Because I never really LOVED them.  I liked them.  They fit the budget.  I bought them because I thought to myself, "This will work."  I've learned that while I'm in the process of putting a room together, I will sometimes be impatient and buy stuff that will work rather than stuff that I really LOVE.


Sure there will be times when what I LOVE will change as my style is always evolving.  However, buying things for my home with more of a discerning eye will certainly help me to better define what it is that I do LOVE.

So after some careful reflection and cleaning/purging of stuff, I've figured out what my don't buy word is.  It's actually a phrase -- This will work.  I will no longer buy things for my home with that thought in my mind.  If it's not the item I've been looking for or something that I really LOVE, I will not bring it home.

Identifying this phrase has really helped me to better understand myself, to have more shopping self control, to take inventory of what I have and to really define my style.

I have been more purposeful and intentional in my decorating lately.  It feels good to surround myself with those things that I truly LOVE.


Learning to be patient until I find the right piece isn't always easy.  Staring at blank walls and empty corners can make you twitchy sometimes (maybe that's just me) but I'd rather wait for "the one" than go through a bunch of frogs any day.  ;)

So, do you have a don't buy word?  Do you have any tips on how to define your style?  You'd think it would be easy to figure out what your style is but it takes time doesn't it?

41 comments:

  1. I'm learning this lesson as well. I have told myself that it is worth the wait to get something I truly love. It's hard because I love the instant gratification (don't we all!) but in the long run it's better to save a bit more or keep looking for what a really love!

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  2. My ohrase probably should be "Well, it's on sale..." Bought two rugs last weekend due to that thought!

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  3. Oh man, this is so me. I am queen of the "This Will Work." I am just so excited that I am getting a good deal, I don't really think about if I actually LOVE something. Ugh. It's a vicious cycle :) I am figuring it out though!! FINALLY!

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  4. We must be made out of the same mold. My phrase is "I can make it work!" Guess who I'll think of next time those words slip past my lips?! Great advice, friend.

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  5. Define my style - everchanging, because of blogs and Pinterest! :) It's so hard to be patient when you feel like your readers are waiting for the reveal you've promised! Thanks for the inspriation, my words are going to be LOVE it or LEAVE it!

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  6. So so true. Mine is "I think this will work." It's taken me a while to learn this for sure. Your shots are gorgeous. Did you make that scrabble board?

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    1. Those are scrabble coaster I bought at a local coffee shop. I used them as flashcards and word building tools for my little kindergartner last year. I just borrowed a few to hang in a vintage frame.

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  7. Oh, I'm the same way. I have a weakness for buying things that "might work" especially if they are on sale. LOL

    I've recently made myself start buying things that only fit my design plan. I know what I want and the look I'm going for, so I'm passing up the stuff that's cute... might work... or is a good buy. It's tough... but I'm really proud that the things I've bought lately are things that have been on my list and not just impulse purchases.

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  8. i am like you and pretty frugal when it comes to shopping.... but i am guilty of that phrase when i am specifically looking for something!!!! good one!

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  9. Very timely as I am right now considering a purchase that I just 'like'. My phrase WAS 'but its only $' but I think now it should be 'Would I be upset if this wasn't in my house?'

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  10. Great advice! I'm not a big spender or a big shopper, but my sister is. I have repeatedly tried getting into her brain my mantra "just because it's on sale doesn't mean it's cute"--- meaning, of course, don't get sucked into the sale. If it's something you wouldn't have paid more for, it probably doesn't belong in your home (this works for clothing, too!).

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  11. We have the same "Don't Buy" word!!! and I have another rule I use. I dont buy anything that is under 12" in size- it helps me keep the chotchkies to a minimum. Funny side note: if you look up chotchkies in the urban dictionary it says
    "A small piece of worthless crap, a decorative knick knack with little or no purpose. " hahaha so true!!

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    1. Great advice Amanda - thanks for sharing!

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    2. What a great tip! No little things! I am going to remember this!

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  12. That is a great new way of thinking! I could definitely benefit from thinking this way as well! Cheap is not always better!

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  13. Completely agree! My only amendment would be - "I like this but once I make these changes, I know I'll LOVE it" :)

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  14. I'm still working on this myself...sometimes I just feel like I *need* something right then, so instead of really searching out the perfect thing, I just settle )c: I definitely need a "don't buy" word...or several (c;

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  15. This is great advice. I end up donating/giving away so much stuff that I didn't really love. I'm with you about only bringing into our homes what we love. Patience, patience, patience! :)

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  16. Right now my don't buy phrase is "that would look good in the _____" when I'm not working on that room yet. I'm trying to decorate room by room and am finding my style as I do. It's so easy to dream about what I could do in the other rooms, but when I buy something for that room I find that it doesn't work out later on. I've wasted a lot of money doing this. I also buy things that I think are trendy or what others may like, but it's just not me. I need to go with what I love and not care so much about how it will be interpreted by others. Thanks for the great post. I found you on Centsational Girl.

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  17. Found you via Centsational Girl and love your style. May I ask the color of your master bedroom? About to take on an office redo and hubs wants to go bold! Thanks

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    1. It's Wrought Iron by Martha Stewart. It's a great navy blue. I chose this for our master because I think it balances out some of the more feminine details which makes my hub a happy man. ;)

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  18. Great post, and I could very well fall under your "don't buy" umbrella. Sales are another slippery slope (after all, ho doesn't love a good deal, right?). It's always great to hit the design trifecta though - I need it, I love it, AND it's on sale! Found one of those items today, and my heart started to pitter patter! ;-)

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  19. I completely agree!!! This is something I have learned about myself as well. My husband and I have been married and in our home for almost three years and what began as furnishing our home for the sake of having a table to sit at and something to cover up a blank wall, I have found myself purging from old things and allowing myself to be patient and save for that thing I have always wanted. A great lesson in patience and contentment for sure! Thanks for sharing!

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  20. P.S. I'm linking to your post tomorrow, since it was so timely to my shopping today. :-)

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  21. Great post! I often ask myself, "Would you pay full price for it?" Not only does it help me avoid buying things that aren't great quality or design, but it makes the sale price seem like an even better deal!

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  22. Love your post! This past weekend, we took down a huge set of floor to ceiling bookcases (that covered an 18 foot wall) that when my hubby built them I went out and bought all kinds of junk, I mean pretties, to fill all of those shelves. Sure, I liked the stuff or I wouldn't have purchased it, but I didn't love it, I was just trying to fill up space. Now that the bookcases are down (and new floors are in--that is the reason we had to take the bookcases down), we have this HUGE blank wall to fill with something. I am going to be super-choosy how I decorate it. I only want what is beautiful and meaningful to my heart. Just because it's cute and on clearance on Target doesn't mean I need it. RIght?

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  23. SOOOO true, I've made that same 'it's a bargain, it'll work' buying mistake. Sharing this post because I love it. :)

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  24. This is so me! I used to buy things (especially cheap furniture) because it would work for the time being and they were within our tight, almost nonexistant, budget. However, as I age and my style is more defined, I find myself getting rid of almost anything that isn't things I love. The biggest so far was my TV cabinet. We bought one that was particle board and although it's still together after almost 10 years, it wasn't me. I searched and searched and after months and months of shopping sales and auctions, I found it's replacement. I waited until it was within my budget and was a piece I really loved. I now have a gorgeous antique dresser that could fit in any room of my house and look great, plus the patina and age of it is absolutely beautiful. I find myself learning from that experience and applying it to others too... luckily my house is almost fully furnished, so I'm good with the "big" pieces, but we are remodeling rooms as we can and I want to pick finishes (cabinets, countertops, etc) that will work well with our 80+ year old house and our family that I won't get sick of in 10 years.

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  25. You really do "learn" along the way. When we bought our home 5 years ago I thought I knew everything that I loved. The colors I wanted in my home, etc. But I now love "some" different things. So not everything I bought was a bad thing, because there are many things I still love, but I have learned just like all of you, that if you don't love it, you should leave, good deal or not. I've had two large garage sales in 5 years and sold off a lot of it that way. Everything else went to the Salvation Army and hopefully someone else "loves" those pieces. It felt good to purge those things I didn't love and to move forward with less in the house. I will only buy things I "love" from now on. Yes my taste will change, but that is ok, maybe you can repurpose those things and then it's new all over again. Great post. :)

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  26. Wow!!! Great post. I'm a new reader and what a great "mantra". We moved into our current home almost a year and a half ago and oh boy, am I the queen of "this will work". I should have figured this out earlier!!!$$$

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  27. My don't buy word should be "this will be fine for now." Hello red flag! We recently did a ginormous purge after renovating our kitchen. After a full day sorting through stuff in the garage, my husband was like "Let's try to stop buying stuff for good will okay?!" Not "from good will" but "for good will." Sadly there was more than one thing that we donated that had never even made its way into the house. Thanks for the reminder that sometimes it's better to be patient than to buy stuff just to fill the space!

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  28. I love Darlene's advice and make a list of what I want our home to feel and look like based on her decorating philosophy. If a purchase doesn't fall into one of those categories then I need to admire it and then let it go. That means that we've lived in our house for 2 years and I still feel like not one room is done - that is kind of frustrating. On the other hand, I no longer have pictures on the walls that don't speak to me. I like your "don't buy" phrase - I think I'll have to adopt that one from you!!! Great advice.

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  29. I LOVE your "don't buy" word!! THAT is so great. I can't wait to hear how it evolves your personal style and gives you the freedom to fill your home with what you LOVE!! SO GREAT!
    Maybe your readers will enjoy this link. Here is my original "don't buy word" post: http://www.fieldstonehilldesign.com/2011/07/vision-dont-buy-words.html

    I am so thrilled you enjoyed the session, but even MORE thrilled that you are feeling the benefit in your own home!
    Thanks for sharing this, Carmel!

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  30. That is where I'm at. It is so hard to wait but I appreciate finding pieces with meaning...it makes the home feel authentic and true to your family! Good on the pocket book too! Great blog!

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  31. Great advice, my dont buy words would be "Its better than nothing" You just gave me a big "AHA" moment!!!

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  32. Great post! It's always frustrating to carry something around TJMaxx for 20 minutes only to talk myself out of it. But, in the end, I rarely regret it. I think my "don't buy" word/phrase is something like "well,..." or "maybe if I ______" followed by intense pondering. That's definitely the sign that I should put it down and just. walk. away.

    Off to read Darlene's post.

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  33. I just found Darlene today (totally unrelated to this post which I somehow missed) and my don't buy word is "small". With a house on this scale, which I love, and designed to be this way, almost everything small is too small and looks chintzy and dinky and ridiculous. I've got to suck it up and stop buying things that are cute but small, or my personal downfall, shiny and sparkly and small:)

    Jessica

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  34. I am a serial returner. If I go to Target, for instance, I may go in for one thing and end up with 10. I am better at being critical at home than I am in the store. But I know what you mean about waiting for "the one" rather than buying something that "will do." I've made that mistake many times, and I'm trying to get better at it. I find it most hard on larger pieces of furniture when I have something particular in mind that's fairly expensive. Sometimes it seems easier to buy some cheap chairs that will do in the meantime, while waiting for the big spend. In the long run, you end up spending more! Even with clothes, I try to ask myself if it's really flattering and I'd be super-proud to wear it, rather than just something that "will work." So hard!

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  35. In my pre-blogging days I was probably a little too careful ... waiting weeks or months on making decisions. Now as a blogger I find myself making rash decisions in order to get the room done so I can blog about it! Ahem ...

    I need to strike a better balance ...

    :)

    Linda

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  36. I am only just now, after almost 20 years of marriage, learning that "that will work" is not how I want to continue living in and decorating my home. We're in the process right now of purchasing our "forever" home. All this time I've wanted to decorate with MY style and things that I love, but haven't wanted to get overly attached to anything because I knew we weren't staying forever. Now that we're in this process, I'm realizing that there a many many things that I've allowed into our home because they were just "ok" and "would work".

    I'm ready for the new challenge of finding and keeping only those things that I love and that my family will love! I will definitely be waiting for just the right thing.

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Be nice or I'll tell your mom! xoxo -C

 
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