Just right, just right, just right

The other day when I was pulling branches to the burn pile from the just-pruned apple trees, I found a bird’s nest. It was an old nest, abandoned last fall, but still seated snugly in the fork of the just-trimmed branch. The brown grass of the nest was accented neatly by a single strand of briliant green Easter grass.

I whimsically imagined the bird’s satisfaction at its cheery find. How the bird worked to get the thread of color woven into just the right place in the nest. Maybe it even stood back to admire that finishing touch to its cozy work of art.

Today I felt like that bird, rearranging bits and pieces around my place, exclaiming with pleasure over my finds, and then surveying the result with satisfaction.

It was a simple enough project. My husband had two bookshelves on his side of the bed– nice enough shelves but a bit overwhelming for the space, not to mention cluttered. Meanwhile, my 17 year old was in need of a bigger bookshelf, and my 10 and 12 year old daughters had been campaigning for awhile for a bookshelf in their room.

I went through the books next to our bed, deciding on some to toss (old magazines and 80’s home décor books, anyone?), some to swap, and some to put into the kids’ bookshelves. I ended up with one bookshelf empty, which I moved upstairs to my 17 year old’s room. When she does some decluttering and rearranging of her own, her old, smaller bookshelf will go downstairs to my younger girls’ room. An improvement in three rooms of the house. For $0.

As fun as it is to occasionally buy new things for our house, there’s often a twinge of guilt over spending money that could have gone elsewhere, or sometimes even money that we don’t have.

I’ve come to realize that it is just as much fun to find creative ways to use what we already have in a better way. Decluttering. Repurposing. Maybe even finding some long-lost thing: today it was a book my husband forgot he had, and was on the brink of (re)buying.

That bird and I– maybe we’re easy to amuse — but my hunch is that in the long run we’re both happier because of it. And our homes benefit as well.

(* Bonus points if you identify the book from which the title of this post comes.)

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  1. simplejill says:

    I, too, find it very satisfying to find new uses for stuff we already have. A can of paint & a paintbrush can go a long way in giving a battered piece of furniture new life. I much prefer decorating this way than if I had an unlimited budget to indulge myself. Maybe I’m like that bird, too. 🙂

  2. Just Enough and Not Too Much?

  3. It’s one of my kids’ favorite books, a good one for learning to read, “Old Hat New Hat” by Stan and Jan Berenstain 🙂

  4. Just right by tom knight

  5. That is how we decorate.:) Most of our furniture has been in at least two separate rooms with more than a few uses.:)

  6. Old Hat, New Hat. One of my favorites as a kid! (I read an old, used copy, and we still have that musty, falling-apart thing. Probably 40 years old and not good for air quality at this point, huh?)

    I always have a stash of currently-unused containers and small pieces of furniture in the basement. It’s amazing how often those things get used, retired, reassigned, retired. It is kind of fun to be creative that way. I like your birds’ nest analogy =)

  7. Wouldn’t that be Goldilocks and the 3 Bears? Love your description of the birds nest and the one strand of bright Easter grass…

  8. I love cleaning around the house and finding a new way to use old things!

  9. Yup, it is Old Hat, New Hat– coincidentally a book about a person who decided to be happy with what he had!


  10. Just reading tonight, but I knew the book too. 😉 Probably still have it memorized . . .