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Would You Rather: Have it to Have or Nothing At All

October 2, 2014  —  Written by Julia 

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Since passing our 1 year mark in this home last month, something has overcome me. I don’t know if it is a changing of the design tides, or what! but I am on a purging spree. Just because we have it no longer means it is worth keeping. Just because it was “perfect” in our last house, that doesn’t give it a free pass in this house. And the things that are still boxed up and in closets? Outta here.

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There are some larger things that I’ve posted in our local online classifieds too. I’ve sold my old glass-topped desk and lamp that lived in our last office/guestroom. I sold the rug that used to be in our old guest room too, that I recently put in the reading room as a placeholder. And then I thought, why?! I don’t love this rug anymore. It doesn’t fit the shape of the room. It doesn’t fit the style. I am really just putting it here to have something. And that’s what started it all. I have decided I don’t want things just to have them. I want to fill my home with things that I actually love in this house. Kind of like dressing for your current shape, I think you should dress your house for your current house. And this house is so very different than our last.

But then I really started thinking–the pillows on my couch that I no longer love.  Do I keep those to have pillows until I can purchase/make some new ones? Or do I stick with my just-decided-mantra and get rid of them now even if it leaves me with a bare couch? I think I’d prefer the bare couch. The lighting situation is also a hard one to swallow in our great room. We’ve been getting by with the large arc lamp, but it doesn’t really fit very well in this home–so I put it up for sale, too. (Even though I really love it. It hasn’t sold…maybe it’s a sign I should keep it. Ha!)

Now that I’ve made up my mind pertaining to things in our house, I’d love to know your thoughts! Would you rather keep a hypothetical area rug that you aren’t in love with or sell it and have bare floors?

Ps. There are no right or wrong answers here–these would you rathers are just that–which would YOU rather.

See more Would You Rather posts here.

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What do you think?

  1. I’ve been in a purging mood lately as well. We have a spare room upstairs that’s been full of boxes and odds and ends since we moved to our current house 2 years ago.
    I don’t even have the patience to have a garage sale or craigslist it. I’ve already pulled a bunch of stuff out to send to goodwill.

    Anything else that needs to be stored will be transferred to organized plastic bins and put on shelves that we plan on buying for the garage.

  2. I’m totally feeling you on this. We’ve been in our new home for six months and all our rugs are rolled up—they just don’t work! I’m torn about keeping them (maybe they’ll work in the next place?) or letting them go. I agree with another commentor. If it’s serving a specific and necessary function, keep it. Then again, if you get rid of something there’s more incentive to replace it (or maybe you won’t even miss it). I’m torn!

  3. Lauren says:

    For me, it depends a good bit on my financial situation. If a rug functionally works, I’ll keep it until I can really replace it. A piece of decor, I’d sell or donate. I cannot feasibly get rid of everything I dislike- I wouldn’t have much left! It does, however, give me time to mull over what I really want. And moving to a new house has helped me rework old items in new ways. But I do understand. Some stuff that was in our old house just doesn’t have a place here. For those kinds of things, purge! I suppose my one exception would be an item that I really, really love. Then I’d find a way to make it work.

  4. JoniB says:

    I too am purging. I finally got rid of this hideous side table/magazine holder that I’ve had since COLLEGE(30 years ago), and am just living with the empty space until I find just the right thing. Since my living room is soooo small, I think the perfect thing may turn out to be the empty space itself.

  5. Haley says:

    Working on purging these days also. I’m in a different situation so I kind of hold on to a lot of things because we’re expanding in the near future, but I would definitely rather have a bare floor or couch than have something I don’t love.

  6. Meagan Briggs says:

    Oh man, this is a constant dilemma in my life. I’ve had the same decor since we moved to Florida over 4 years ago. Same couch, furniture, bedspreads, dishes, lighting, picture frames…you name it, it is STILL the same. I keep saying, well, when we buy a house, we will eventually upgrade the furniture too and get new pieces too, but now I’m thinking why can’t we do that NOW. I’m all about sewing your own pillow cases, at least a few, but it is fun to buy some to add more texture.

    The biggest change has been painting our kitchen table white. It is amazing what a little paint does for your furniture!

  7. Debby says:

    I think if it’s something you love, like your arc lamp, you can try repurposing it somewhere else to see if it could work in a different setup. Like, maybe your lower level family room? My general attitude, is if you absolutely love it, you can make it work, or hold on to it in a less in your face space, so when the design tides turn again, you won’t be kicking yourself for getting rid of it-like all of my parents things from the 70’s! Man, I wish they kept their stuff!

  8. You guys have the right idea! It’s ain’t working? Get rid of it! I am a big advocate for selling and purchasing things for place you are right now… not the place that you were – both physically and metaphorically speaking, I guess!

  9. We recently purged a ton of “stuff” and it felt great! We had most of our belongings packed up for a year while we remodeled our house. When it came to unpacking, I carefully placed only the things we really loved or absolutely needed inside the house. The rest was sent to the garage and after a few more months of not missing those items, we held a huge garage sale. The profits helped us pay off some of the remodel debt, and any leftover items were donated. It was win-win!

  10. Trilby C. says:

    We purged during our move 18 months ago. It felt soooo good. I’m of the ilk that I’d rather have no stuff for a while until we can find the right stuff. Which is why, after 18 months of living here, our house is still three-quarters bare. But it’s coming along, even if slowly.

  11. Alison says:

    I agree with “If the item is performing a specific needed function, I’d keep it until I found a replacement”, otherwise I am in the get rid of it category. I have been purging for a while. The question is just because it was a family members, do you keep it whether it works or not? I have been getting rid of airlooms too. It is hard at first, but we live in a small house, so it feels freeing too.

  12. Floriane says:

    Amen to that! we amass so much things we don’t need and never take the step to throw it or give it away or sell it. I need to think of it more often…
    Do you know this quote of William Morris : “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
    It helps me to take some decisons sometimes…

  13. We recently remodeled our fixer-upper, and first home. I’m totally living my this mantra, without really giving it much thought.

    While my husband isn’t totally digging this new minimalistic style, I’d rather have less than something that I don’t absolutely love. It’s been exceptionally challenging because it our first house, and our family has been so generous with wanting to give us their hand-me-downs because we “need” a rug, or accent chair here and there. And it is tempting… but I’ve been doing my best to keep my standards high, and slowly our first home is becoming the exact reflection of us and our vision. And it is SO exciting!

    I’m totally your soul-sister with the modern farmhouse aesthetic… I’m digging an eclectic style, with unexpected combos of 19th-century windsor back chairs and mid-century brass accent tables. Ain’t no rules in this house! (My friends might not totally get it… yet. But they will :)

    Thanks for an inspiring post, as always!

  14. Tiffany says:

    Purging actually feels very good. I was holding on to a lot of art that I hadn’t used in my current house for years. Felt good to let.it.go. off to the Goodwill it went.

  15. Amanda says:

    If the item is performing a specific needed function, I’d keep it until I found a replacement, and finding the replacement would be a top priority. However, if it’s just decor/something I can live without until the right item comes along, I’d let it go. I actually started asking myself these same questions because there are shower curtains/rugs in our guest bathroom that I have grown to HATE, and I’ve decided to just let it go, even without replacements, because we don’t really have guests right now and I can easily move stuff around if someone does come over before I’ve figured out what I really want to do in there.

  16. Katie says:

    I seriously need this reminder every day. I am a self-labeled hoarder with a strong desire to purge – I am my own worst enemy. Hopefully your enthusiasm is a little extra motivation for me to follow suit!

  17. Adrienne says:

    I think I’m in the get-rid-of-it-all state of mind too! Maybe it’s the change of seasons? It makes me much happier to see a bare spot in a room design (read: potential!) than to see something that just doesn’t fit. You’ve now motivated me to get my stuff on craigslist!! I, thank you. :)

  18. we recently moved and i have been purging like a mad woman… i find myself to be mildly hoard-ish. LOL i’ll come up with a reason to keep something i didn’t even know i had for years… but, i’m turning a corner. just don’t want the junk any more. :) plus, i also think that tastes change and when you’re in a new home, things just don’t always go like they did in the old house.

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