The middle of winter with the lousy weather and post-holiday lull is such a cozy, indoor time. Not surprisingly, this is why TV consumption peaks in the winter. So... what are you binge-watching this month?
Have you seen my new favorite Netflix find, the BBC’s The Repair Shop? It’s a sweet show that reminds me of if Antiques Roadshow met How It’s Made crossed with The Great British Baking Show. Its charming personalities, beautiful thatched-roof barn, fascinating antiques, and stories of family history make for a “can’t-stop-watching” program!
Let me tempt you with the show’s intro:
“Welcome to The Repair Shop, where much-loved but broken treasures are brought back to life. Furniture restorer, Jay Blades, and a dream team of some of the country's most skilled craftspeople bring their talents to bear on beloved pieces of family history. Utilizing expertise passed down the generations, transforming priceless pieces of family history, the Repair Shop team will resurrect the items, the memories, and the stories behind them.”
As a Certified Professional Organizer®, this idea deeply resonates with me! So much of the work I do with clients involves helping them sort through their possessions, paring down the excess to reveal the hidden gems that they truly value, just like this show.
An emotional moment in every episode is when the presenter Jay asks the heirloom’s owner, “What will you do with this once it’s repaired?” The heartfelt answer is always the same, “I’ll give it pride of place in my home.”
“Pride of place” -- beautiful! We don’t use that phrase much in the U.S., but don’t you think we should? It means to showcase a valued possession in a prominent location in your home so that you and your guests can admire it.
How many times have I been with a client when we discovered something precious buried in a box in the attic or at the back of a closet, not having seen the light of day in years? Sadly, sometimes by the time we found it, it was broken or in disrepair from having been stored improperly.
As Peter Walsh says in his fabulous organizing book, It’s All Too Much, “Don’t tell me something is important, has personal value, or is a family heirloom if it’s covered in dust, lost in a pile of clutter, or buried somewhere in your garage. If you value an item, you need to show it the honor and respect it deserves.”
If something is truly meaningful to you, give it pride of place in your home.
Remember, too, that if everything is special, then nothing is. You can’t give everything pride of place -- weed out the fluff so you can spotlight the best.
When sorting your possessions, think about what an object truly means to you.
If you answer yes to any of those are clues, then it’s likely a treasured heirloom that deserves pride of place. If you answered no, then this is probably something you can let go. Donate it so it can delight someone else and find a place in their home.
So, where exactly is pride of place?
Believe it or not, in many people’s homes, you’ll see that the refrigerator is pride of place. Not for what is in it, but for what is on it: children’s artwork and schoolwork. (Check out my earlier blog for tips on creating a display space for children’s work). You might even have fond memories of your own mom proudly pinning your 100%-correct spelling test onto the fridge.
How did the fridge become the go-to pride of place? Probably because the kitchen tends to be the hub of the house. Everyone checks the fridge daily while getting out food, so we all look at it frequently.
For heirlooms, pride of place is a highly visible, and maybe somewhat protected, spot in your home. As I mentioned in a post this December, you can simplify holiday decorating and maximize the impact by concentrating on one focal point. Find a place in your home where everyone’s eyes are drawn and put your special items there.
It’s not necessary to have only one pride of place spot. You could have a special shelf in the living or dining room, one in the kitchen, and another table in the upstairs hall. Maybe it’s an entire wall that you dedicate to beloved art or photos. Or perhaps the mantle holds treasured objects.
In my grandmother’s house, she had a side table in the living room that held her prized antique pillbox collection. I have her collection now in a small wall cabinet, and looking at it brings back memories of visiting her and making a beeline straight for that table so I could examine each tiny box up close.
What special items enjoy pride of place in your home and where is that place? I’d love to hear your unique story!