...because home doesn't happen overnight.
07.13.13 / Five Things

When we downsized to this house just over a year ago, I had already done a pretty good job editing our belongings down to only what we needed, loved and used. But on the actual moving day, many things were thrown into the attic. Some, rightfully so. Like Christmas decorations and questionable college pictures. Other things were stored in the attic to get them out of the way until we needed them or found a legitimate spot for them elsewhere in the house. There were those few items that I liked and couldn’t quite let go of even though I had no idea when/where I would use them. Throughout the past year, more items came into our house that I didn’t have the energy to deal with {seriously, why am I so lazy?} and were quickly carried up to the attic never to be seen again.

Sure, the attic contents were out of sight but I knew they were up there lurking, not being displayed or used. The literal and mental weight of the stuffed attic was always on my mind. I am the type of person who feels best with little clutter hidden away in closets, the attic, the basement {we don’t have one} and the garage {don’t even get me started on the garage}. This past spring I finally made myself go up to the attic and confront the mess. After all the pre-move purging, it took two more trips to Goodwill to really get our stuff under control. Now the attic is nearly empty and I feel so much lighter!

The best part about organizing an attic {or other cluttered storage space} is finding stuff you loved enough to buy and keep in the first place. Here are five things I came across in my attic that I will be incorporating into our decor and sharing with you over the next few weeks. One has already made a blog appearance!

nightstand 2

The wire basket on the bottom shelf of HH’s nightstand was an attic find. It was part of a set that I bought at Kroger a few years ago. I’m not sure where the other baskets will end up.

attic finds 1

I also found this forgotten woven bowl. It’s pretty large and would be a good paper purgatory. There is always a random stack of mail, clipped coupons, kids’ drawings and to-do lists hanging out on the kitchen desk. {Catch a glimpse in the background.} Throwing our paper trail into this bowl would help the kitchen look less cluttered.

attic find 2

Next up is this commissioned painting of our very first house in Illinois. Our BFF’s in Illinois hired a friend to paint it for us as a moving away gift when we moved to Ohio 6+ years ago. This piece means so much to us. I’m ashamed it’s been living in the attic for the past year. It needs a proper home pronto.

attic find 4

I also found two matching pictures frames that I think will work well in either the boys’ room or the hallway. They match the painted one seen in this post and I had totally forgotten we had THREE!

attic find 3

Finally, I’ve fallen in love all over again with these wooden sculptures. I bought them at a local Ballard Designs outlet when we were living in our temporary apartment during renovations. I had no idea where I was going to use them but I loved them grouped together and the price was right. I’m thinking they need to live on the open shelves in our living room originally seen here.

Expect to see more of these items on the blog soon! Have you recently rediscovered long lost loves in your attic, basement or garage? I have been referring to my recent finds as my ‘flowers in the attic.’ {Any V.C. Andrews fans out there?} If you have a neglected dumping ground in need of some attention I encourage you to spend a little time purging and organizing. You will feel so. much. better. and likely have fun “shopping” your stuff along the way. Just do it!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Our attics are a bit of work to get to. A few friends have walk out attics (no stairs to climb to access them). The only thing in our attics are holiday decorations, camping gear, and old pet cages (aquariums, hamster cages, dog kennel). I am a purger and if I don’t have a need for something I drop it off at Goodwill within the week or we have donation trucks that come by at least once a month. One the plus column side I rarely have “junk” hanging around the house. On the negative side I don’t get to shop my attic. On a few occasions I have thought, “If only I kept___!” Mostly, I am okay with my purges. It really is crazy to think off all the things I donate. I certainly could have put together an entire house with it all.

Oh, and yes I loved VC Andrews while I was in High School.


Love the title of your post! I read the whole series of VC Andrews books in my early college days. I should go find some flowers in my garage, as that was our dumping ground for our most recent move!


I’m like you in that thoughts of excessive ‘stuff’ lurking in closets, the garage, or (in my case) basement drives me crazy. It seems like I am always going through things around here. We moved into our house a year ago and in honor of that, last week, I took 8 garbage bags of ‘necessities’ we moved with us to Goodwill (why we moved this stuff in the first place, I’ll never know…). I love me a good purge! Unlike you, I didn’t discover any treasures waiting to be displayed. I need to get shopping to make this wonderful house into more of a home for us. I’m tired of welcoming people into the house with “Hi! So great to see you! Ignore the formal living room – I need to buy more furniture!” :-)


ok, you and the word lazy could never truly be found in the same sentence, unless it was “not lazy”. I marvel at your continual accomplishments that take more than just a little bit of energy. Love how your bedroom is really making a design statement now. Very nice


Our attic is my nightmare. Tons of Rubbermaid bins, full of kids’ clothes. I purge incessantly, but the amount of clothes we store for hand-me-downs just adds up. Can’t wait for the day when we can pass them on to someone else:)


the VC Andrews reference made me chuckle. I lived with a friend for 4 years with many things in storage. I moved to my own place in October and have enjoyed re-discovering some things I owned but totally forgot about. I had quite a few frames that were still in their packaging. With a friend’s help I finally drug them all out and put together a gallery wall. My goal has been to try and purge down to the point where I don’t need to store anything in the attic. I’m not sure if I’ll make it, but I’m trying!


I am simultaneously inspired and overwhelmed. My attic is actually only full of insulation and I have no basement. But the shed, garage and guest room…? Oy. Full of stuff to be sorted. And I have already purged so much over the last few years. Where does it all come from?! (I don’t even have kids or a big house! Just me and my sweetie in 1000 sq ft) But I might just tackle a corner of the guest room today, the corner with the dozen antique quilts I salvaged from my grandparents house. Start small and that usually leads to more inspiration…I hope!

I was a huge VC Andrews fan in high school. :)


i went through the same kind of attic purging this spring and goodness, it feels good. i just cannot live with clutter! it’s also comforting to know that someone with 3 children can have a clear attic, as right now it’s just my husband & i. i’ve often wondered what would happen to the attic when kiddos come along. glad you found some nice things to re-incorporate while “shopping” your attic.


Your first house looks adorable! I’d love to hear or see more of it :)


Ironically, I also found pictures of our first home’s interior during the Great Attic Purge of 2013. Let’s just say my style has evolved since then but I do think they would be fun to share!

I found pillows at my friends house! I had been looking for them on and off for months and figured I must have gotten rid of them somehow. Turns out I lent them to a friend for a party [they went with the color scheme] and she never returned them. Luckily, she’s a good enough friend I let it slide ;) just this once though!

Ugh I just did the same thing with all my clothes. I’ve had some tucked in old boxes for so long that I like them again. Found some stuff I never managed to even wear but between my little sister, my sister in law, and the donation bin, I feel so much lighter. It’s amazing what’ll fit in the dresser when you get rid of all the crap you don’t wear!


We just downsized from a 4 bedroom/2 car garage house to a 2 bedroom 1300sqft condo. Nothing that we didn’t love made it with us to to the condo. I absolutely agree with the feeling of lightness and emotional/mental freedom that comes with less stuff.

Love the wire basket and the sculptures :)


I just helped my parents do a huge purge of their attic, because a lot of it was my stuff (and my sisters’). It was so rewarding to get it so clean! Most was garbage but we found some treasures and so many childhood memories. The best find was some baby clothes from our childhood that we put on our baby girl, it made my mom cry :) And they agreed to keep storing a childhood chair that I dream of getting reupholstered someday…


I think you must be talking to me, with a full attic. I am overwhelmed but I’ll do it because you did & inspired me! I’d love to find some treasures.


You moved into a new house, having to deal with unpacking, remodeling, a new baby, and 2 little boys. I don’t think “lazy” is the right word to use. Cut yourself a break! ;^)


I love the unusual shape of your first home – what style would you call that? It’s incredibly eye catching.

Our only storage area is our small one car garage and it’s so disorganized I can’t even get to the light switch! Since the birth of our Son it has become a catch all for things that are not baby friendly, outgrown baby items, goodwill piles, project overflow, and the tools that can’t get to their proper spots due to all the before mentioned items. After our boy turns one at the end of the month it is our mission to regain control of that space. We even have to figure out how to fit my Husbands old VW.


I think the real estate listing referred to our first home as a cape cod. It was a one-and-a-half story with a partially finished basement.

Our garages sound similar! Although ours is full of projects in waiting…namely all the materials for our second bath reno. We’re trying to tackle some outdoor projects while the weather is warmer though so the kid/guest bath won’t receive our attention until fall/winter.


Love the V.C Andrews reference…took me waaaaaaaaay back! I remember not being allowed to shave my legs or read VA until I was 12. Oh the memories. Little did my mum know I shaved my legs 2 days prior to a swimming carnival and me standing around in my bathers petrified she would notice! Just need an attic to store my ‘stuff’ in now so I don’t have to notice it around the house…!

I love getting rid of our extra clutter too. It seems like its always an ongoing process as we figure out what we use and what we don’t. I love your attic finds. What a beautiful painting of your first house. It makes me want one of ours.


Oh my . . . VC Andrews. Those books went from weird to weirder. I have not thought about them in forever!

Eek! We have a huge pile of items we’ve lugged into our new fixer-uper and I know I will feel GREAT after sorting through it. That’s what we’ll do this weekend :)


I’m dying over your bedding. Where is it from? I clearly stumbled upon you on pintrest and cannot find the link to where you discuss your bedroom.

Thank you!


The bedding is DwellStudio draper ash stripe duvet. I got mine via Wayfair. Read all about my bedding here…



Would you consider writing a post about managing clutter/keeping your house simple and de-cluttered with kids? I’ve been very inspired by your work to keep your house from being cluttered, and I’m trying to figure out how to maintain that with 2 preschoolers running around. I know you have young kids. I’d love to know ideas you have via a post sometime! Bc obviously some of the clutter is unavoidable (toys, school papers, random shoes and socks popping up everywhere, backpacks, etc) but I think I use that as an excuse to allow way more clutter in my life than necessary. And though I give tons away all year to Goodwill, somehow I still end up with a cluttered house. I know some of it is me being lazy about cleaning things up (and my 4 and 2-yr-olds not cleaning up) but some of it is more than that. If you’re looking for an idea for a post, I would LOVE to read your thoughts on this and how you do it!


Okay, I’m on it!