“I know I should get rid of that old (blank) — but it’s serving a purpose, so I’ll just make do.” Sound familiar?
In decorating our homes, as in many areas of life, we can find ourselves “stuck” with items that are neither beautiful nor particularly useful. They don’t contribute to creating our ideal home environment, so why do we sometimes fight so hard to keep them? Why don’t we just replace them with something we like?
Last night, I came across this quote in a book about leadership communication that I thought applied really well to this very question.
“First is anchoring–as humans, we naturally remain anchored in our past. Human beings are also programmed to have an aversion to loss–people are typically more concerned about the risk of loss than they are excited about the prospect of gain. And a similar bias, the endowment effect, gives us a strong desire to hang on to what we own; the very fact of owning something makes it seem more valuable.” (Article by Roxburgh, C. in McKinsey Quarterly 2003 (2) quoted in The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling, Stephen Denning)
I can see these at play in my own house. There’s a boxy little dresser in my front hall that has followed me around for decades now. There is nothing special about it — the drawers don’t even open particularly well — but it fills a purpose as a place to keep gloves, scarves and assorted purses. I keep thinking I will fix it up one of these days and then it will be really cute. (I have had a hundred different schemes for how I’ll jazz it up with paint or wallpaper and fancy new handles…) I could/should probably have just replaced it years ago. But I keep thinking that would be such a waste of a perfectly good dresser.
What I have to recognize is that until I replace (or at least beautify) that dresser, my foyer is going to leave me feeling deflated instead of happy. I’ll have a place for my gloves, but maybe not the most functional place. Certainly not the most beautiful. And because the dresser is makeshift, the rest of the foyer is too. Blah.
That’s not what I want for my house, and I’m ready to make a change. One of the projects on my list for 2012 is to make that all important entryway to my home welcoming – and beautiful. Simply owning that dresser isn’t going to cut it for me anymore.
Have you got a piece of furniture or an accessory sitting around your home that you’re holding on to simply because you own it? What is it? And what possibilities are you not open to because you’re still hanging on?
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