Hi, my name is Anne and I am not a good shopper. When I go out with a purpose of finding something for the house I come home with the wrong something or nothing. More often than not I come across something I love and talk myself out of it because I don’t know if it will go, I don’t know if it will be the right color or if there is enough space to fit it or if it is the right style. I have zero confidence when it comes to picking things out for my own house. A similar thing happens when I try to buy clothes but that would be a far longer post. This is why large portions of the house are largely under-decorated. Well that and I don’t have as much drive to decorate a rental as I would my own house. In an effort to boost my confidence and make it harder to stop talking myself out of the right items I created a little binder for myself.
I wrote that paragraph and the rest of this post a year ago. I am proud to say the following tips and binder made me a better shopper in 2013. Most of the pieces I brought home are still in use today. I feel like a lot of the rooms in my house have a style even if it has taken a year to really pull it together. It feels like my home and I am very proud of it. The bedroom dresser is my favorite with the penny side table in a close race. The china cabinet has potential but it still needs work. I updated the tips with some of my experience over the year and hope it helps you get the perfect items for your home.
binder – the right size to fit in your purse this one is 9×7 and 1/2 inch thick
dividers – I used Martha Stewart dividers from Avery
business card holder sleeves
sheet protectors – I like the Martha Stewart version with the flap at the top so things don’t fall out
In the business card holders I cut out paint chips to create the color scheme. These chips match my planned color scheme, things I have already painted and colors of fabrics in the room. For instance our living room rug has a lot of colors so I picked some of my favorites and matched paint swatches to the to make sure it would work with what I purchased.
In the sheet protectors I have any inspirations pieces or fabrics swatches. In the kitchen section I have some wrapping paper I love that was the inspiration for the colors. The craft room section has fabric from the curtains.
On the graph paper I have drawn out each room with the measurements listed on each wall. Where I have already placed furniture I have sketched that in as well and it make it easy for me to figure out how much space I have left. I have also noted any heights of windows and ceilings I think I might come in handy for curtain shopping.
Carrying this book and a measuring tape took the guess work out of shopping. The follow 5 tips were my other trick to bringing home things I would use and love instead of things I would display, replace and donate within the year.
1. Know what you are looking for but let your eye wander
Go with a little bit of mission. Know what pieces you need in the house right now. It will help eliminate that overwhelming feeling in the larger stores. As you look for those pieces scan everything else and if you eye catches something go in for a closer look. It might turn out to be exactly the thing you need for another room. Limiting yourself might keep you from finding your perfect match.
2. You can paint just about anything but you have to make the time
I learned the lesson about painting too late but when I did I bought many things with the intention of painting them and turning them into the perfect piece. You know what they say about intentions, the road to…well you know what they say. When I wrote this post the first time I had just found spray paint and had all kinds of great ideas. Now I have all kinds of projects either half done or not yet started. Try to keep in mind how much time you have to redo that great piece. If you don’t have time make sure you are comfortable looking at it as is for a undetermined amount of time. Case and point my china cabinet came home in the summer and has yet to see a paint brush.
3. Put it on hold
Just can’t decided if it is the right piece for you? Then don’t! Shop around, if you afraid someone will grab it before you decide take it with you or have them put a hold sticker on it. But make sure to sit with that big decision. Most likely you can’t return it. If you can return it go for it. Otherwise mull it over. If it seems right and you feel like you would regret not purchasing it then do it. If you just aren’t sure let it go something better will most likely come along.
4. Make sure you need it
Don’t buy it just to buy. Unless you want to make a small business out of refinishing and then reselling on craigslist. If that is the case buy as much as you have time to work on and money to spend. Since this is not my goal I am putting a lot of stuff down and saving money to get my very own house some day.
5. If it is a dream piece and you have room buy it
If you have lusted after, dreamed of, coveted or your grandma had one just like it and it was your favorite…buy it. Make sure you can afford it and it is in good condition but don’t walk away regretting the fact that you didn’t get that piece.
Are you organized when you shop? How do you know if it is the right item? Do you have any tips for the challenged shopper?