We all have them, they are irresistible. When I am walking the aisles of TJMaxx or scouring the local thrift store for vintage gems they call to me like little kittens that just want a home. I want them all! Personally I have a “small” obsession with animal tchotchkes. It’s almost getting ridiculous how many of them I have committed to dusting (which let’s be honest, I don’t do.) The newest addition to the family is a bright pink deer covered in pink velvet. I spent $24 on this, that’s like twelve iced coffees from Starbucks! For me to give up iced coffee ever is pretty remarkable. This spectacular deer has transformed I believe, the look of my living room. I placed it with care on a dresser downstairs and watched how a boring surface became interesting and a source of conversation.
Not all tchotchkes are so lucky. I have a cabinet full of animal ones, random rocks I thought were pretty, origami, pots, vases, figurines, and decorative non-functional plates. It eventually turns into an issue when u feel guilty to throw it out, but it takes up space, and you really do like it, but what good does that do if you have nowhere to put It, because you bought a new one last time you went to Pier One. Once I had a yard sale and discovered I had seven lava lamps hiding in closets. I guess at some point I will need a bigger house to hold all my “sitty aroundy things.” So the point of this post is to say A. I have a problem, and B. here are some tips for avoiding the trap of the tchotchke and how to repurpose the ones you already have.
Categorize the ones you have now. Even if you have the most random collection on the planet you should still be able to find some theme that ties them together. You could start with height, shape, or if you’re like me, animals. Use this as a guide in placing them around the home. Keep similar ones together. Or if you chose to categorize by color, keep the same colored ones together. If it’s scale keep small with small and large with large.
Relocate = repurpose. I am a big fan of changing accents in the home seasonally. In the spring I like to put out accent pillows in lighter colors and put out bolder ones in the fall. Do this with your tchotchkes, don’t leave the same ones out all the time every year. That is like wearing the same earrings every day for the rest of your life, and unless they are canary diamond earrings you should change it up. By placing tchotchkes in different locations it can change the look of them. Be sure to pick locations where they will not be in the way of everyday life. It’s no good to put it on the bathroom counter if you’re going to knock it over every day.
Give yourself a limit. Ways to limit yourself would be to pick one surface per room to tchotchke up, or limit yourself by how many you will put out. A rule I tell clients is five per room unless it is a set. Too many means too much to look at. When there is too much to look at you will not notice the individual awesomeness of the ones you have, you will not notice why you bought them in the first place. The bright pink deer that I have in my livingroom is the only tchotchske in that space. My reason for that is because it is bright pink! Also the scale is about the same as my Pomeranian. If I put anything else next to it you would never notice it because the deer commands so much attention. Keep this in mind when deciding where to put your decorative items. Sometimes one is enough. Avoid the temptation of covering every surface.
Transform the tchotchke. For this I like to go with scale as the determining category. Buy a can of black matte spray paint or white high gloss and spray them. Then place them in an organized way on your fireplace mantel. They will take on the look of a set because you have made them all the same color and kept them the same size. Cover them in red or gold glitter and suddenly they are a holiday decoration. This can also be a way of making dollar store figurines look more expansive if you are on a budget. My aunt Lori has a collection of antique tea cups that is amazing. She doesn’t clutter every surface with them. As tempting as it is to show them off year round, she has repurposed them by hanging them on her Christmas tree as ornaments.
Finally, how to avoid the trap of the tchotchke you haven’t bought yet. My Mom always told me that if you could not think of a place you were going to put it before you bought it you probably will not find a place after you bought it. So true! Trust me, I have tried to find a way around this for years! Unless it is your great grandmother’s antiques that you inherited, you should probably say no if you have no idea where you are going to put it. Some of us are not as visual as others so if that is the case try to think of the function it will serve. What is it you are going for? Will it be in the way? If you have kids will you be ok with them playing with it, which they eventually will do even if you tell them no.