REALTORS® serving Calgary and area

Feb. 26, 2016 | Deborah Harrison

Curated collections of garage sale finds

'A place for everything and everything in its place'

Over the past several months, I have been getting ready to move. And as I've packed up my life, I've realized every object has a story, whether that be who designed it, where it was bought, where it has been or how it has been used and by whom. This story gives the object more importance. It gave me a reason to keep it or chuck it.

Yet even if you're not moving, you should all be editing your objects. Don't think about it too hard about it. If you love something, keep it. If not, repurpose it, whether that be putting it in storage or donating it to charity. After all, one person's junk is another person's treasure.

If you have many pieces of one collection, (my weakness being cake plates), put them together instead of spread everywhere. Show them off as one. Or repurpose them take sea shells from past vacations and put them in a glass vase or crystal bowl lined with a handful of sand. Also, keep your collections in perspective. Some people are addicted to collecting – buying random things they like, figuring there will be a place for them somewhere when they get home. Yet you don't need to show everything off all at once. Tuck away precious pieces that would become eye candy to those more inquisitive.

The key to collections is "a place for everything and everything in its place." Keep things organized or it could start to look like the garage sale you just came from.

Before you buy more stuff, curate what you already have. Newfound treasures should come together easily with existing pieces in the house to enhance the picture, becoming the "beauty marks" in the room.

After all, single objects don't enhance a space; it's the objects and what they're surrounded by that start the great conversation – like a good coffee table book placed on a fantastic ottoman. In your home's landscape, the clutter is the topsoil, consisting of stacked books, collected objects and variety of seating. Eventually that topsoil becomes chapters in a book, as unique objects improve with age and are complimented by new additions.

Take your collections and display them, promoting a sense of discovery. Don't try to make them look too perfect. Use them if they are useable – it only adds to their importance with a memory.

If something gets broken, mourn the loss, giving thanks that it brought you joy while using it. Otherwise, there isn't much of a story, is there?

When people walk into my home, I want them to feel the desire to explore it – sweet surprises everywhere; filled with vignettes of the collections I love, full of memories past and present.

What I know to be true is if you surround yourself with a few things that inspire you – that which nourishes your soul and improves the quality of your life, while investing in people not things – you will be blessed. For whatever is meaningful and beautiful has no vintage, but creates its own story by living in thankfulness and gratefulness. Hold things lightly, use them and enjoy them; someday they all end up in a garage sale anyway.

Deborah Harrison is designer with Inside Out Design. Send your thoughts, questions and inspirations to

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