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My “Prop” Closet + Thoughts on Unpacking

My Prop Closet + Thoughts on Unpacking - roomfortuesday.com I’m about to take you inside my favorite room in our house! Spoiler alert… it’s a closet, but not just ANY closet. It’s the place where all of my treasures are currently existing. I’m not quite sure how this closet was coined “the prop closet”- I think that was Emmett’s doing, because the goods that fill this space aren’t exactly “props”. Sure, I use them for styling our home and decorating, but I also hand picked every single item in this room and the majority of them have meaning. Emmett and I have collected things from our travels, received gifts from friends, and these are the accessories that have moved from home to home with us. Upon moving into our new house, I shoved everything into this shelf-lined closet, knowing things would be safe and protected amongst unpacking and endless renovating. That led me to ponder, why are they still here? Click through for a peek into my “prop” closet and my thoughts on unpacking and decorating as of lately…

I don’t know if you’re going to consider this post a behind-the-scenes treat or leave the blog terrified. Ha! Hopefully the former rather than the latter. Here we go!

My Prop Closet + Thoughts on Unpacking - roomfortuesday.com After our offer was accepted and we knew we’d be moving into this house, I immediately called dibs on this “room”. I knew it would be the perfect place for our precious pieces- especially given how we renovate.

My Prop Closet + Thoughts on Unpacking - roomfortuesday.com In here, you’ll find family heirlooms, things from every state we’ve lived in, art I’ve painted, artwork from friends, paintings and drawings of places we love, textiles from different continents, rocks and geodes from memorable hikes, feathers from Emmett’s father’s collection, vintage glass dug up from my childhood home by my own father, plenty of estate sale finds, and pieces that remind me of the past or a specific point in time. It’s really a weird and special place down there in the basement closet. Instead of “stuff”, I walk into that room and see memories.

My Prop Closet + Thoughts on Unpacking - roomfortuesday.com I know this closet tucked away in the corner of my basement won’t remain my favorite room in the house for very long. We’ll renovate each room over the next few years and I’ll fall deeper in love with this house little by little, but in the meantime, there’s something really cool about seeing all of these “things” in the same room, that tell our story and show our personality- and eventually make up our aesthetic.

My Prop Closet + Thoughts on Unpacking - roomfortuesday.com Oddly enough, this is Crosby’s favorite room too. We’ll often find him being nosey or napping down here. You can also catch a sneak peek of what I’m *thinking* will be the guest bathroom art. I met the sweetest British lady named Margo one day skiing and she gifted me this jockey portrait from Churchill Downs in Kentucky (close to where Emmett and I grew up). I need to reframe him or her- we can’t tell the gender, but I suppose that doesn’t really matter… it’s just driving the “every piece tells a story” point home again, you know?

My Prop Closet + Thoughts on Unpacking - roomfortuesday.com

Because I’m curious- my question for you is this… how much do you decorate or style a home, knowing you’ll have to remove everything prior to renovating or updating a space?

My Prop Closet + Thoughts on Unpacking - roomfortuesday.com Does that sound like too much work? Or is the joy of a beautifully curated room, that is representative of you, worth it in the meantime? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments at the end of the post! For me, keeping things in the closet gives me a sense of safety, knowing they won’t get broken. It’s also kind of weird to see all of the things I love looking at on a daily basis out of context. Given my already full plate, I sort of feel glad I’m not creating more work for myself… yet at the same time, since this renovation will take longer than any other we’ve tackled, maybe I’d be happier having a home that looks more put together from the very beginning?

My Prop Closet + Thoughts on Unpacking - roomfortuesday.com

I personally think it’s much easier to style a room if you can see all of the accessories and decor you have to work with.

Before styling a space, I always note what I have available. There’s also a fun merchandise feel to it… like I can shop my favorite things from the comforts of my own home. The thought of decorating the house room-by-room and visiting “my prop closet” to pick and choose from my treasures actually really excites me. Then again, I also have a vintage hoarding problem. So there’s that. Ha! Part of me wants to go for it right now, but I think a bigger part of me doesn’t mind living in a half empty house knowing the reward and wait will be worth it.

My Prop Closet + Thoughts on Unpacking - roomfortuesday.com I suppose this post doesn’t need a concrete answer. At the end of the day, whether you’re moving from an old home to a new home, into your first home (and just beginning your collection closet), or if you’re purging for the new year… I think you have to do what’s best for you. Decorate and style when you’re ready, keep finding things that put a smile on your face, and part with those that don’t. Despite the lack of a definitive answer, did you find this post interesting? At the very least, fun to see all of my junk in one place? Haha! I hope so! I really am more excited about this house than I have been for any other. Even without our “stuff” scattered around, it already feels like home– and that’s a very good sign. I have a feeling it’s going to be an amazing year! Happy Tuesday, my friends.

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  • Reply
    Peggi
    January 15, 2019 at 4:59 am

    Hmm. I think you did quite an artistic job of storing your finds, and I love the idea of Crosby trying to soak up your history! I don’t own many decorative items, but I can understand wanting to keep them safe during messy renovations. I have found that I like to have my art on the walls though. I even err on the side of possibly haphazard placement because if I’ve found a piece I love…I want to look at it! I also think the notion of renovating would give me a certain freedom; if I’m going to be patching and painting anyway, let’s try those paintings in a bunch of different spots!😉

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 15, 2019 at 3:29 pm

      Hah! Thanks Peggi. I love the way you phrased that about Crosby soaking up our history- that gave me all the feels. I’m kind of the same with art… holes in the wall don’t really matter- so I’ll throw something up quickly and sometimes it sticks and sometimes it moves :)

  • Reply
    Melissa
    January 15, 2019 at 5:49 am

    I’m not horrified, I’m jealous! I struggle with finding the space to keep extra decor accessories. I I like a tidy organized home, but I also like to rotate and change up my accessories seasonally or just on a whim. You have the perfect set up! As for how to live in your space while renovating, I wouldn’t bother with rooms you don’t spend much time in. But for me I would have to have some personalization in the most used rooms- something that makes me happy amidst the mess. I guess it’s a matter of what you can live with.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 15, 2019 at 3:30 pm

      I used to have the same problem Melissa! We have more than enough closet space in this house, but at our last place, I had to get really creative with storing seasonal items and decor. I feel thankful to have this nice, new setup! I’m certainly feeling less stressed. I love the idea of adding some pizazz to the rooms we spend the most time in… I think that’s a happy medium :)

  • Reply
    Emily
    January 15, 2019 at 6:13 am

    It’s funny you bring this topic up; I just started binge watching “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix and I kept thinking about whether these props bring you joy or not! If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend it; she has a beautiful way of thinking about the “stuff” in our lives and putting into perspective how much we really need vs. that which we can thank and send on its way.

    When it came to our current home, it was a disaster when we moved in and we lived in that disaster for a while. So, decorating anything really wasn’t in the cards for me. But I’ll never forget that moment when the curtains were hung and the art was on the walls and my grandmother’s desk was in its place. It finally felt like HOME, not just a place where we lived. I had been on edge because it was unfinished, but also because it never looked like us. I think decorating a space can make you feel happy and “at home” while you are working on renovating it to truly be what you want. :)

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 15, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      I’m definitely familiar with Marie Kondo, but have yet to watch the Netflix series. Maybe I’ll add that one to the list! I think your last sentence hit the nail on the head though- it’s all about making a place your own…. during every step or season of the process. Thanks for the insight! xox

  • Reply
    Karen
    January 15, 2019 at 6:56 am

    I am in love with your collection of treasures, all nestled safely together! It sounds like you’re a bit sentimental about (some of) the items, and I totally get that – I’m the same way.

    We moved from a 1400 SF house to a 3000 SF house, and at the same time our finances changed pretty significantly (for the better) – we renovated six months after moving in, so upon arrival at the new house, I did not decorate, and all my decor items remained boxed for about 8 more months. Once our reno was complete, I realized about half of my items were no longer fitting of my style, nor the style of our post-renovated home. So I brought out what fit, and have been SLOWLY collecting new pieces, putting much thought and time into finding what I love. In fact, just last week I put some of those “unfitting” items into the garage, their temporary resting place prior to the Goodwill (like my vintage aqua blue and sunshine yellow 70s glass grape bunches!)….but I just can’t make the plunge to the sending them off! (And funny enough, my sister-in-law posted on IG pics of green grapes from her visit to a flea market, so I’m actually going to see if she wants my grapes!)

    I spend a lot of time puttering around my house, specifically the kitchen/dining area, cleaning, reorganizing and re-styling my treasures, cooking and baking. I love doing that – it’s usually a Saturday morning, my girls are nearby hanging out, I have my coffee in-hand, Billie Holiday is playing….and I just love being at home. I have often thought if/how that will change for me as I grow, and my girls grow – I do see the (almost) “pointlessness” of feeling “joy” from all these things around me, but for me, and for now, a beautiful and comfortable home is something really important to me, and I truly enjoy the process of curating it and being in it.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 15, 2019 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks so much, Karen! I’m definitely sentimental about lots of the items we have tucked away in the closet. I had a similar situation moving from our first to second home- I found that after unboxing things after months of renovating, I didn’t love a lot of those pieces anymore. I think growth is a big part of that too- and that’s certainly ok. You just painted my ideal day… puttering, styling, cooking, baking, music, the whole nine yards. I love that little scene you just painted. It sounds absolutely perfect!

      PS. I think your grapes are actually coming back in style!! Ha! xox

  • Reply
    marie
    January 15, 2019 at 7:25 am

    I loved this post !!! It felt much more personal ! I’m also renovating a house, it’s been a mess, but we’ve been enjoying putting one or two tchotkes when we could, or a pretty lamp, even amidst the chaos… Also we do have a lot of plants.. it has proven challenging to keep them alive with all the dust, but it gives a feeling we’re home like no other… Can’t wait to see the guest bathroom.. and also a floor plan of the new house. It seems gigantic !

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 15, 2019 at 3:38 pm

      Oh good!! Glad to hear that Marie :) I feel you on that… the never-ending dust and cleaning that comes with renovating. I think that’s why I’m reluctant to take anything outside that closet. Haha! I’ll try to put together a floor plan once the guest bathroom is finished. This house is definitely spacious. We’re loving it and all the possibilities! xox

  • Reply
    Chelsey
    January 15, 2019 at 8:02 am

    First, I love this post! Partially because I am nosey and love to see how people organize stuff like this, and partially because seeing all of your stuff together inspires me to go out and get some more goodies of my own! Second, I wish that I had one place to put all of this kind of stuff in our home. We have a shortage of storage so our stuff gets tucked away and never used because we forget it is there. To answer your question within the post, I would definitely prefer to keep stuff stored like this prior to renovating a room versus decorating/undecorating/renovating/redecorating. Then again, I have a problem with paralysis by analysis and never decorating because I overanalyze/try to perfectly plan before doing anything… so maybe ignore me :D

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 15, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      Yes!! Go get some goodies- I have so much fun collecting stuff like this! We’ve never had this much storage, so I can certainly relate to that being an issue. I think I’m with you- I feel less stressed keeping stuff stored away… clean and protected from the renovating chaos. Ha! xox

  • Reply
    Natalia Tomlin
    January 15, 2019 at 8:13 am

    This is very cool. I wish I had space for the same arrangement. Mine are stuffed in the storage unit in the basement. They are safe but I can’t assess the whole bunch and enjoy the display of textures and colors lol.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 15, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      Thank you Natalia! I am really excited about all of that shelving. It helps to see every single thing, knowing what I have, and then choosing items for decorating. I used to tuck things in baskets, bins, drawers, and boxes and I ended up forgetting what I had. I do enjoy the store / merchandise vibe. haha! xo

  • Reply
    Kaitlin Jenkins
    January 15, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Ahhh I love this and I’m so excited you shared! It IS like a sneak peek and I love it. Your post actually gave me the great idea to do this in my little used basement closet as well. My collection doesn’t quite rival yours (ahhh all those pillows and the lined up artwork under the shelves is so satisfying!) but I can do this in my home too and be able to ‘shop’ my own collection when I am wanting to switch things up.

    We moved into our home about 8 months ago, and things are still finding their places. The basement closet is actually storing all these types of items already, but still boxed up in rubbermaid tubs which means I forget about them or get too lazy to dig through the bins to unwrap and find the ‘one thing’ so this will help me out a lot! I don’t have but a single shelf in my closet, but adding some myself, or a dresser or other storage solution is so smart and so achievable.

    Thank you for the great idea! And for the peak into your collections of treasures- they are beautiful.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 15, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      Yay!! So exited to hear that, Kaitlin. I honestly think it’s easier to “shop your home” when you have everything together, right in front of you. It’s a fun concept! I hope you’re enjoying your home. xox

  • Reply
    Brittany
    January 15, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    No way! Where are y’all from? For about 13-14 years our family has moved several times but always along I-64 between Louisville and Lexington. Small world!
    Anyhow, I like to at least hang my art on the walls so nothing gets broken-young kids, smallish house. And I find I like the more lived-in look as well. I’m a wannabe minimalist, but I love the art to give personality.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 15, 2019 at 3:48 pm

      Small world! We actually both grew up southern Indiana… just on the other side of the river, but my family lives on the Kentucky side now :) I totally understand wanting to get art up first. Not only is it safely out of reach of kids and pets, but it also feels so much more personal! And I’m with you… I don’t think I’ll ever be a minimalist. Ha. xo

  • Reply
    Anne
    January 15, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Reminded me of the Vogue prop room from the The Devil Wears Prada movie, so Prop Room feels apropos! What a great idea – will have to apply in my house too ^^.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 15, 2019 at 7:11 pm

      Ha! You’re right Anne!! Maybe that’s where we got the name :)

  • Reply
    Stacey
    January 15, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    Sarah – I am obsessed with this post. I have two “prop closets” in my house. I have a cabinet in the unfinished basement that has all of my vases and baubles in and then I have an extra hall closet that houses our extra throw pillows and some art that I am waiting to reframe and such prior to finding its home.

    We recently moved into a house that needs lots and lots of renovations too. Since I know we won’t be able to do all of it at once (because who has that kinda budget) I have added some touches of styling to spaces I know won’t be touched for awhile. While others like our living room, powder room, master bath, and office are pretty sad because they will hopefully be at the top of our list first.

    Your “prop closet” seems much more organized than mine and beautifully photographed. I can’t wait to see how you transform your new home so your gorgeous collection of items can also be used again in a space they suit! Thanks for sharing your behind the scenes!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 16, 2019 at 11:30 am

      Thanks Stacey! We’re in the same boat… we renovate room-by-room, as we save up for each space. I like your idea of adding some decor to the rooms that are further down on the renovation list! Although, right now- I don’t have a lot of extra time to style since we’re tackling the guest bathroom, but hopefully soon :) xox

  • Reply
    Kathy
    January 15, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    OMG…I would absolutely love to walk into a room and see my most prized possessions thoughtfully displayed…. it would be like a dream. Seriously, it reminds me of the “props room” at the furniture market in High Point NC, which I got to use for some room setup’s many many years ago…. so fun! Same kind of dream.
    Perhaps it’s odd, but I don’t like to move my artwork & accessories into a room until I’ve re-done it. I’m not sure that’s smart because I don’t enjoy the room before but when I totally transform it and bring in my possessions, I am SO happy…it’s the big reveal. I’ve been in my house for 4 years now and it just seems to be the way I roll! And I do have an art room…just not as nicely arranged as yours. And a pillow bench (2 layers)…and a “someday consignment/yard sale” room….for a lot of the previous owner’s stuff.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 16, 2019 at 11:34 am

      It really is a fun feeling to see all of our special things in one space! I’m kind of with you on not “moving in” or fully decorating until a room is totally finished. I’m not exactly sure why though…. maybe it’s the excitement of a big reveal, or maybe I’m a little lazy, ha! Regardless, I’m predicting that’s how this house is going to unfold. Thanks for weighing in Kathy :)

  • Reply
    SF
    January 21, 2019 at 11:17 am

    I am so j ealous! I want a space like this in my own home. I have a hard time finding space for all the treasures that I don’t want to part with but aren’t currently in use. But my house was built in 1904, and we don’t even have a closet on the first floor, much less an extra huge space for styling storage!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 21, 2019 at 11:59 am

      Old houses are so hard in terms of storage. We had a home built in the early 1900s when living in Ohio and storage space was so difficult to come by. I feel like I’m spoiled now!

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