Monday, December 10, 2012

Inside a Thriving Home: Downsizing Dilemma

Finally settling in to Orange County has been quite a challenge.  Going from a nice three bedroom, sprawling suburban home (in the middle of nowhere) to a quaint little two bedroom condo has been a bit tricky if you are the antique furniture hoarder that I am.  I have a tendency to go a bit cray at my local antique stores, garage sales and flea markets; I won't lie.  When I am in my zaney zone, gone are the thoughts of where it will fit and work in my home and all I can think is, "I NEED THIS NOOOOW!".

When time came last May to pack it up, I really had to make some tough choices as to what I was going to pack away into storage or into our new home.  First things first, I tackled my bedroom.  I knew I needed the N & E from my wedding to adorn the wall in my bedroom.  I had them placed above our bed in our previous home, but I decided to shift them as I had some new wall space to work with.

vintage home decor

On top of my knobbed out dresser I placed on old mirror to set my antique pedestal and cupcake holder as the perfect jewelry showcase bonanza.

vintage home decor jewelry holders

A la Pinterest, I took an old rake from my great grandparents home and used it to hold my various necklaces.

vintage home decor antique rake necklace holder

The rest of my jewels stay nestled in this 1950's train case, courtesy of my mother in law (Thanks G!)

vintage home decor antique train case small space organization

My love of hooks of course made it to my bedroom, and I have an entire row showcasing nothing but them!

vintage home decor hooks for small space organization

Using a hand stitched antique table cloth, I covered an old side table to place my makeup near my (very small) bathroom for my daily getting ready routine.  My actual makeup is stored in a flea market tool box, while eye shadows live in an old mirror and lipsticks/glosses in an old bowl.  My brushes stand strong and tall in a dollar store craft I whipped up gluing candelabras to crystal glasses.

vintage home decor makeup organization

Taking an old bench from my great grandparents home, I placed it at the end of our bed to assist me in getting dressed each morning (I have a tendency to have "clothes attacks" and change numerous times before leaving the house).

vintage home decor antique bench
One of our sweet rescue pups, Handsome, napped during our photo shoot.
I used small pillows I already had, covering a larger one in a vintage pillow case to add some color to my room.  Under the bench I used an old throw carpet my mother so kindly bestowed upon me, to warm things up a bit (thanks momma!).

vintage home decor antique bench rug dresser

Because I so wanted a headboard, but did not want a whole bed set, I got creative.  While I toyed with the idea of using a picket fence (I was sure I could find one somewhere), the stars aligned and I got lucky when my Aunt B snagged these amazing shutters for me at a rummage sale... score!!!!  I used a canvas wedding photo in the center above my bed and two vintage dictionary pages, one with a P and the other with a lobster to go on either side and complete the "bed wall".  I use two matching antique lamps my mom bought from a flea market to sit atop two bed side shelves I picked up at a garage sale for $10.  I love a great find!

vintage home decor shutters as headboard

Next up were the special little "knick knacks" I had collected over the years to add a personal touch to our kitchen. I of course used some more hooks (surprise, surprise) to hang some kitchen linens.  One handmade from my dear friend, (thanks Shell!) and another beautiful Anthropologie housewarming gift from the famous Ms. Jolie (thank you!)  I also used an old wine crate to showcase my favorite N & E cups (also from Anthropologie) that had been given to us as gifts across the years (I guess you know by now that my TH's name also starts with a N...)

vintage home decor hooks and wine crates small space organization

At a church rummage sale years back my mom spotted this darling salt and pepper set, obviously I had to have them!! This set also lives in an old wine crate and they are proudly displayed above our oven.

vintage firefighter salt and pepper shakers

Nestled in the same area is my great grandmother's "Rings and Things" ring holder.

vintage ring holder

My Aunt B gave me this cheery sign also as a memory of the OE (Original Emilia, I'm named after her) as she used to sing this song to me each day when I was a little girl.  Above my sign (in, you guessed it, wine crates) sit a teal sugar and cream set that I found at a garage sale for only $2!

vintage cream and sugar set

I have a pretty serious collection of vintage aprons that I not only am totally in love with, but that I also add to whenever I fall head over heels for a new one.  I hang them in my kitchen so I can grab a different one each night to match my mood as I make dinner for my TH or juice it up. 

vintage home decor aprons

Above one of my newest garage sale finds, (blue drawer) I hung a wicker basket, (using a hook, duh) to keep all my TH's crap (sunglasses, car keys, chargers, money clip) and keep it off of my counter.  My Aunt B snagged this clock for me and it fit perfectly next to our wedding guest book (addresses with personal notes from our guests).

vintage home decor wicker basket small space organization

My wonderful MIL (Mother In Law) collected antique fire hydrants once my TH set out on his life path and they added a great masculine touch to our home.  Next to my favorite step stool and old jack set, our living room gets to show a bit of us both.

vintage home decor fire extinguisher and ladder

A London Clock (and wedding gift) hangs in our living room near my vintage trunk and suitcases.

vintage home decor clock

vintage home decor suitcases small space organization

This Lady Baltimore matches my train case and was also a gift from my MIL (again, the amazing G, thank you!).

vintage home decor suitcase

After going back and forth quite a bit I decided to bring an antique coat rack along to the new pad instead of storing it.  While it took us awhile to decide where to put it, we finally nailed down the location above the trunk set.  Taking old bottles, I glued ribbon and hung them from the hooks to serve as vases for my weekly fresh flowers, I LOVE fresh flowers!

vintage home decor coat rack and bottles as vases

While we were able to take some other top picks from our old home, most of my great loves are in storage waiting patiently to be showcased in our future dream house.  I just can't wait to be surrounded by ALL my things again soon and look forward to sharing more of my home with all of you!

Related Articles


  1. Where did you get your wishbone necklace?? I need one.


    1. Jane,

      I am so glad you like it! I actually got it a few years ago at Nordstrom, good luck!

      Strive to thrive,

  2. Love all your little storage techniques. I have a super small apartment right now and I had to be creative with choosing what to pack and how to store everything. I have hooks EVERYWHERE.
    Penniless Socialite

    1. Tara,

      Hooks are the best they really are. I think trunks, suitcaes and under the bed storage are the best (and cutest) ways to to make the most out of space. Just stay organized and usually it will all fit and work out!

      Strive to thrive,


We THRIVE on comments, so please share your thoughts with us!