Over the years as I’ve moved away from being a stuff manager into a Cozy Minimalist, I realized one of the biggest mistakes I used to make was incorporating a ton of small items into my home, especially on surfaces and walls.

Here’s a great example of my stuff manager ways. 

This is our family room ten years ago. I still have the majority of this stuff, but I use it differently. Because I didn’t start out with the right size art over my sofa, I ended up with an accidental gallery wall full of a bunch of smalls that I liked but never loved. 

Not only that, but the four or five pieces on the wall that were especially meaningful to me (the silhouettes of our boys, the big black and white canvas of the boys and the photo of me and Chad) didn’t get the attention they deserved because I packed the wall with extra stuff all in the name of filling in that big expanse of space.  

Everything on that wall is clamoring for attention. 

As a Cozy Minimalist who values more style and less stuff, I decided to finally honor the couple of items that were the most special to me and feature them so they could soak up all the attention.

I wanted the silhouettes to be able to stand alone as a grouping of three, so I found much larger frames with wider mats to act as arrows that say “hey, pay attention to this, it’s important”. 

I got rid of the 8×10 frames and went way big to these 20×20 frames.

Finally, the silhouettes are getting the attention they deserve. 

Instead of including the the silhouette of our dog to complete a grid of four frames, I added the gorgeous ribbon art by my friend and talented artist Angela Chrusciaki Blehm.  

This awkward wall where the loveseat needed to be off center because of the TV placement on the adjacent wall had been a tricky, lovely limitation and the asymmetrical ribbon art was the key to balancing everything out. 

Now, each item truly adds meaning and beauty. 

After finishing this wall, the meaningful beauty and presence it has in our family room has made me realize I want every wall in our home to have this kind of power, importance and personalization. I’m slowly working around the house and asking myself if each wall represents what we truly love and value.

If you’re curious, these silhouettes were cut by silhouette artist Lena Bengston.  

Ours are fourteen years old and I can distinctly remember when a local shop announced Lena was coming to our town and opened up appointments for silhouettes–we did not have the money.  

I’m the thrifty, more budget conscious one in our family and in my soul I knew I would sell anything to have silhouettes of our boys created. And I was right. I can’t remember how I found the money, but theses three silhouettes that capture our boys at five, six and nine years old are absolutely priceless. One of our best investments and one of my most prized possessions. 

Lucky you, if you want silhouettes, even if your kids are grown, you can simply send Lena a photo of your child’s profile, and she can create a beautiful silhouette for you–it’s not too late if you want one of these! 

Moral of the story: Don’t be like me. If you have something you love, don’t pack it away for years. Dig it out, and find a way to give it all the attention it deserves.