Have you heard the concept of “shopping your house“? My sister Jackie and I keep using this phrase to explain how we’re beginning to think about how to decorate a new home. It’s so exciting to think of having a blank slate, a chance to start over in some ways.

We want to mix things up, rearrange furniture and decor, and generally just make things look nice. It’s really easy to quickly come up with a lengthy list of items we would want to buy to fill a new space. However, we are far from having an unlimited budget, especially in terms of decor, so we turn to a more creative approach.

I don’t remember when I first came across the idea of “shopping your house” because I’ve seen it so many places. I thought it seemed like common sense at first, looking at what you have before buying new things to fill a space. But in putting the concept into practice, I have been surprised by how many things were in our apartment that I wouldn’t have thought to use differently (or that I didn’t even know/remember we had!).

Just last night, my sister and I began moving things around in our apartment, trying to think of how we could rearrange things and move pieces from one room to another for after we move to a new place. It was kind of like a domino effect: if we moved one piece from its current home to another place, we felt the need to replace it with something else, which then also had to be replaced. That seemed to be the pattern for big things like furniture, anyway.

We started by filling the bookcase that had held books with DVDs to free up the storage cubes that Jackie wants to move to her room. A nice bonus was that the DVD tower we cleared off in the process didn’t have a home yet, and we realized its compact size makes it a great fit for some extra bathroom storage! It was really encouraging to see such tangible evidence of the fact that we do have more than we think, if only we will take the time to give our things a second look and consider what hidden potential might be right under our noses.

Once we started, it was hard to stop. We combined our craft and office supplies, as well as our medications, to save space and create a single centralized location for shared items. We ended up freeing up several storage containers and throwing away unwanted items in the process, which was an unexpected perk to our organizing. We were able to organize most of our shared supplies using containers we already had simply by reorganizing them in more efficient ways and getting rid of excess items.

To try to manage the chaos that was ensuing, we created a list of things we currently have, organized by room, and things we might want to get for each room. We added items to the list as we found them, assigning each piece a home, and sometimes changing our minds.

Simply repainting a bookcase, moving a chair, or pairing things together in a different arrangement can completely change the way a room looks and feels, bringing new life into it. There are so many tutorials for updating old fixtures or furniture, and even more ideas for inspiration on websites like Pinterest. Together, they provided us with a great deal of motivation to get our creative minds working to transform our space using what we already had before going on a crazy shopping spree.

You never know what you might find lurking in the back of your closet! Maybe you’ll see something with fresh eyes, repurpose a somewhat forgotten piece into something that is once again useful, or find a better home for something you already love. We certainly did! No matter what your goal is (decluttering, decorating a new home, redecorating your current one), I suggest starting first with what you have. I hope you find some great things that can make your house feel like a home!


I am a twenty-something recent college grad trying to understand what life in the “real world” looks like, even as I trip over my own two feet quite a bit in the process. I am a firm believer in grace, fitness, community, nutrition, simpler living, travel, books, sunshine, kindness, creativity, living life with my people, and pursuing a full life in Christ. I like to spend my time cooking (and then devouring) healthy and delicious food, running outside, curling up with a good book and a cup of tea, and relaxing with friends and family. I'm a program manager for the maintenance side of a display fixture company by day and a writer/cook/reader by night. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Communication, but I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. When I'm not writing, you can find me cooking up some new-to-me recipes in the kitchen (inevitably making a huge mess), watching a show on Netflix (lazy Sundays, anyone?), hanging out with my friends or family (they're the best!), or curled up on the couch with a big book (the best way to unwind, hands down). My idea of a perfect day would include all of those things-- getting in a run in beautiful weather, making a delicious and nutritious series of meals, playing games, watching a movie, or just chatting with friends and/or family, and curling up with a good book and a nice soy candle. And maybe some dark chocolate. Always some dark chocolate. It is life. I am prayerfully seeking to live every day with purpose, intentionally pouring into the things and relationships that mean the most to me. I want to make the world a better place, one day at a time, in whatever little way I can.


  1. jacklynp22

    July 22, 2016

    This has worked out well for us to help sort through what we don’t need/want and help me specifically, not thinking of things we can or need to buy for our home, which can add up fast

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