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An Epiphany at Hobby Lobby

Testimony from Elizabeth of The DC Boeses

The other day I finally convinced myself to drive 20 miles and check out Hobby Lobby for the first time. Many blogs I read talk about how amazing Hobby Lobby is — not only for their craft supplies, but also for their home décor items.

I’ve seen some beautifully decorated homes with items from Hobby Lobby, so I thought I should check it out and see if I could find some cute things to decorate the little apartment we had just moved in to. I had a coupon in hand and some of my designated “spending cash” ($60 to be exact). The coupon was good for 40% off a regularly priced item.

When I walked into Hobby Lobby, I was immediately overwhelmed. There was so much stuff!

I grabbed a cart and started walking around. I saw some things that were cute and would look nice in our apartment. My favorite was a $19.99 cross that was the same shade of blue as our comforter. I threw it in the cart and kept walking.

But as I was walking, I realized something — I didn’t need anything. Why was I here? There was a ton of stuff that I liked, but nothing that I loved. I kept trying to force it. Kept trying to find something that would work.

I called my husband guessing he would tell me to buy a few things and I could always return them. He didn’t, though.

He made me think back to Crystal’s post about not having a lot of things on the walls at her home. “Honey, we don’t need stuff for the walls. I’m happy that we have some wedding pictures and I’m happy living there with you”.

When he said that I put the cross back on the shelf (in the right section, I promise!) and headed to the car.

On my 20 mile drive home, I had an epiphany: Our home is our home. Yes, we want to be comfortable (and we are), but it doesn’t need to look like a Pottery Barn catalog. I keep our apartment clean, organized, and it smells just like fall. And to us, that is just perfect.

I think sometimes everyone needs a little epiphany like I had last weekend. It puts everything into perspective and reminds you that you may not really “need” something!

Elizabeth is a 22 year-old newlywed living in our nation’s capital. She’s a recent college graduate and mom to two miniature poodles. She blogs at The DC Boeses on life as a new young wife!

photo credit

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  • Candi says:

    I love those moments! They are a great reminder that we don’t always “need” the stuff that we may think we do. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Abigail says:

      Yes! How little we really need. People should always be the priority.
      I think it is a wonderful thing to fill your walls (not clutter) with beautiful things. You get to create something and bless others with the beauty. I believe it honors God, your Creator, when you create something. What better place to do it than in your home for you and your family and friends to enjoy! I don’t disagree with this post, simply want to caution against the pendulum swing. If you enjoy making your home beautiful and wisely shopping to achieve this, that is a good thing too!

  • karen b says:

    Love this, have lived in our house for 7 years & we don’t have alot on our walls:)

  • Sandy says:

    I was just thinking about this yesterday as I looked around our home and thought about how there was a time my mom took great pride in the appearance of our family home, always keeping it neat and tidy. Now, my mom spends her days in a hospital bed in our living room and there is medical equipment and supplies stacked everywhere. The beautiful furniture my dad gave to her as a wedding gift is no longer what catches your eye as you enter our home, nor do the pictures on the wall or the knick nacks which were placed every so carefully. I could care less how things look. I’m grateful my mom is home for whatever time she has left, and that I am able to spend my days caring for her and cherishing each day we have together.

  • I love this! I was talking to the mother of one of my recently married friends and when I asked how they were she said “oh they’re loving it, she has the house like a pottery barn showcase” (all frugal and DIY though!). As I started looking at ideas for how to do MY home like that, I realized the same thing – my roommate and I have pictures of us and a few pictures of jungle animals, and that’s all we want and we are perfectly happy. Hurray for simplicity!

  • Katie says:

    Having photos hanging everywhere in our apartment is so much more comforting and decorative to me than anything else– my husband and I love having memories hanging on our walls that we can look at! Keeping our home clean and organized and warm and welcoming goes so far and can’t replace anything a Pottery Barn catalog can offer 🙂

  • Ashley P says:

    I will NEVER have a shortage of things on my walls. I inherited all of the paintings my grandmotther had done during her life. They are far more precious to me than anything the decor stores have to offer! 🙂

  • Beth says:

    great post! needed this reminder. been married three years and we still have little decor around the house and nothing on the walls in our bedroom! If I could only learn the art of contentment I would be the happiest girl alive!

  • Corey Lesko says:

    I love this keeps things in perspective. And what is also great about it is when you find those items you love love love you do not feel guilty about it because you did not spend your money on random stuff that takes up space. So when you look at that decoration there is a wonderful memory to go with it. Such as a special trip with family or day out with a friend. I strongly believe decorations are something you aquier over a lifetime instead of getting stuff to fill a specific space in your current home.

    • Debi Z says:

      This is a great point. I think it is great to have super cute stuff on your walls whether family pictures, book covers from favorites, or stuff from Hobby Lobby 🙂 But when we wait for stuff we really LOVE we don’t feel guilty spending the money. We bought a new house a year ago and there is this huge wall over the couch. I knew exactly what I wanted (I love paintings of cities or blueprints or other architectural stuff, but not European which is the hard part) and since I waited until I found one I LOVED I gleefully spent the money. And it was on sale LOL.

  • Thanks for sharing about your experience at Hobby Lobby! Recently I earned some cash and was excited to spend it on some home improvements before my family came for a visit. However, the more I planned what I hoped to do, the more I realized I needed very little money for the changes I hopes to make!

    I am a former art teacher, so I had some small bottles of paint in the closet to touch up a few picture frames, walls, and floors around our home. I used leftover white paint from our bathroom to paint birch trees on the walls in our kids room, and I re-painted our hallway. Our landlord reimbursed me for putting in new door-stoppers. I used tissue paper and glue sticks to paste “fall leaves” on the windows around our home (with my kids’ help). I vacuumed out our furnace, repaired a bulletin board and butterfly decoration with hot glue, hung a clock someone had given us, replaced 2 broken lampshades with 2 more I found in our garage, and repaired 2 lamp stands with some JB Weld. Finally, I found some of my old paintings from high school and college in the back of a closet, and hung them around the house.

    I’m not an interior decorator by any means, and my house doesn’t look anything like a Pottery Barn catalog. I like my home simple and uncluttered. But after I was done, I felt like I had a whole new house! I made all those changes for the cost of a gallon of paint (for the hallway) and a tube of JBWeld. And I was thrilled with my “new” home when I was done! 🙂

  • This is another reason to stay out of thrift stores, too.

    I’ll think long and hard about garage sale purchases as well (I go with a list of needs, but I’ll occasionaly see other things and I remind myself of our needs).

    A well-designed home comes with time. Different things are added over time–things that you LOVE. If you don’t love it, and only like it, don’t worry about it.

    I remember being a newlywed and having 2 couples over for dinner who had been married for a few years and each had a toddler. I wanted our house to look nice. Our chairs were very old folding chairs. Our table was an old metal table pedastal tht used to be a piece of outdoor furniture, topped with a circle of plywood, painted black. My husband had a simple green tablecloth to cover it. I covered it, and set the table.

    The couples who came remarked on how they loved our new plates and silverware, and how they wished they could be newleyweds again so that they could pick out new plates and silverware!

    I hadn’t thought of things that way, but looking through someone else’s eyes was helpful to see our many blessings!

    • Jessica says:

      Part if the reason I stopped rummage sales is because I bought too much stuff just because! Such a waste. I stick to Craigslist and exercise patience for used items, such as a basketball hoop!

  • Heather says:

    It should always be about the life you have together and the family you have. A wall full of photos and memories are only acquired through years of being together and collecting things that mean something to you and your family, not something that may be mass produced. Items that are hand picked for you by loved ones through the years that have their own little story are far more beautiful than anything you could find in a store. That is just my opinion though.

  • Leslie says:

    Thanks for this post. I recently packed up all of our breakable decor and a few other items, in an attempt to better toddler-proof our small apartment. But, I was really struggling with missing the cozy/homey atmosphere I thought those things helped to create. One day I hope to be in a larger home where we can safely have those items on display- but until then, I am trying to remember that it is our family, not our things that make our apartment feel like home. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Lisa says:

      I am going through this also with my almost-two-year-old. What I am trying to see is that this is his home, too. So, my entry table doesn’t have a runner on it now (since it was always in the floor) but it is a great spot for launching race cars and a fun spot to sit under and read books (if you can fit). My floors are scuffed from tricycle tires and someone left a hatchet on my vanity. (Plastic, of course. Thank goodness Halloween is over.) Just yesterday, I noticed a smudged handprint on a wall in the kitchen. My first thought was to wash it off, but instead I left it. Someday, my house will neat, beautifully decorated, and quiet. And I will be long for the days of loud and messy. Take heart in this season of you life and enjoy it while it lasts.

      • Donna M. says:

        I fussed at my husband last week because he wiped our 2 years old grandsons 2 perfect little handprints off the dishwasher door. I had been wiping around them.

    • Andrea says:

      I gave up on breakables about 18 years ago when my first started crawling. Even if they know not to touch, accidents happen!

  • Charity says:

    Our Hobby Lobby just opened a few weeks ago and is about a 35 minute drive from us. I enjoy very much looking around there but usually end up purchasing thread, zippers, aida for cross stitching gifts etc…nothing terribly exciting. 😉 I agree so much with what you said here and I think it comes down to contentment, and thankfulness…the keys to happiness! 🙂

  • Alicia says:

    When we moved into our new house I did not have anything on the wall, as I was going to go looking for some “new” decor. . . My son, daughter-in-law, and a couple of their friends came to visit, and commented on the lack of anything on the walls. . . I explained that I was looking to put up something new on the walls. . . they all commented that it wouldn’t look like “Home” to them, is all the family pictures weren’t on the wall. My daughter-in-law commented that she was looking forward to our new granddaughter having her place among all the family pictures! Needless to say the “old” pictures went up on the wall. Re-arranged a few, added new frames to a couple of them, but they are the favorites everyone has come to expect when the visit Mom’s house. . . so it feels like home!

  • Deb says:

    We live in Timbuktu, so no Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or anything close. We bought a brand new house and the walls are pretty bare, but I have really switched to a more minimalist decorating scheme. I do love the country look, and when I go a house that is decorated that way, I still swoon, but I am really loving the crisp, clean uncluttered look and my kiddos are all older, so it is just different……..

  • Sarabell says:

    Congrats on being a newlywed! And yay, it sounds like you grabbed a keeper!
    I definitely agree with this statement. For a very long time I had dreams of a big fancy house decorated just like something in a catalog… but every time I’m in one of those houses I feel UNCOMFORTABLE. I am nervous. Can I lean on this pillow or is it just for decoration? Can I ask about the history of that item or is brand new and meant to LOOK rustic? Can I put my feet up on that automan? Should I have taken my shoes off?!
    In the end, I prefer cozy and home-y.

  • Liz says:

    I LOVED this article, as well as your blog (your regular blog, not your coupon blog–haven’t checked that out yet…was too busy reading ALL your posts on your personal blog…we are SO much alike!) Just wondering if you are being frugal in order to work on some debt repayment or other financial goals…would love to see a post about that on your blog. It’s nice to see other people’s financial goals (and updates) because it provides so much encouragement. Thanks for a thought-provoking, awesome post! I look forward to following your blog.

  • Great thoughts – so true! I think a lot of people think my house looks like we just moved in because we have so little on the walls, but that’s just our preference. I like things super neat, organized, and clutter free, so a wall with only one thing on it truly is soothing and relaxing to me. It’s freeing to know that our house doesn’t need to look like a magazine – it’s there for us to use, enjoy, and make memories. Thanks for sharing your epiphany with us.

  • Meredith B says:

    We have a lot on our walls, but only because my parents downsized when they retired and gave us a ton of paintings. We have a lot of photos up too. I had this epiphany the other day when I went to a playdate between my daughter and one of her preschool friends. They live in the prime neighborhood in our city. Their house was four times the size of ours, granite counter tops, cherry cabinets, two playrooms for their kids, I could go on for hours. I was in awe. On the way home my daughter said, boy they had a big house. I wanted to say positive so I said, yeah, but they don’t have daddy, sugar (our cat), your bed, or our things. She then said, wow, we do have a better home don’t we. It made me realize what we did have. Thanks to my four year old!

  • Nancy says:

    My daughter is living in her first house and went through the same thing about wanting to decorate every room all at once. I told her that she’d regret that later because as you travel around you’ll see things here and there that will mean something to you – and you won’t have any wall or shelf space left to put them!

    Don’t rush it – or like you said – don’t force it. It’s so much more fun to find something you weren’t expecting, that you fall in love with – and then find a place in your house for it. (Instead of saying I need something red on the mantle to tie in the red pillow on the couch!)

    Have fun!

  • Susan says:

    Great post. I wish I’d adapted that mindset years ago.

    I’m one who isn’t all that impressed with Hobby Lobby. We have one nearby and I was really excited when it first opened because I’d heard such great things about it, but I haven’t bought much from them because there isn’t all that much that I love.

    A couple years ago they had some metal Chinese lanterns, battery-powered tealight candle holders, in bright fun colors that I really did love. My daughter loved them too and we both thought they’d be darling in her room. Two years later we still love them, and I’ve never regretted buying them. I guess I’m just saying that Elizabeth’s advice is spot on. If you find something you love for you home — be it at Hobby Lobby or elsewhere — grab it without guilt (providing it’s in your budget of course). But if you don’t love it, leave it in the store.

    • Andrea says:

      Hobby Lobby opened here about two years ago. I’ve been twice, once to check it out when it first opened and once to check out their holiday decor. Both times, I was disappointed that I drove 30 minutes to the store. In addition to not having anything I really liked-let alone loved-, I wasted gas ($$$) and time that could have been used much more wisely.

  • renee says:

    Elizabeth, you are quite brilliant for being a young 22! May God bless you and your husband and your perfect home 🙂

  • Courtney Wade says:

    I needed to hear this today. I got the Pottery Barn Kids Christmas catalogue in the mail today and after looking through it I was green w/envy that I can’t provide my children rooms like those. Thanks for reminding me they don’t NEED a room like that. They are happy, healthy and they can make a mess just the same in a room Pottery Barn decorated or not!!

    • Alysia says:

      I feel the same way when I get PBKids in the mail! Or even when I see friends’ pics on Facebook….they’ve spent more than we make in a month on their baby’s nursery. I’m 34 and we have never had a matching bedroom set. I try to remember “comparison is the theif of joy” and try not to let t get to me, but it does 🙁 I spend so much energy worrying about making our house home-ey without spending money we don’t have. But the truth is, I would be a little embarrassed for some of those FB friends of mine to see my house….I wish I didn’t feel that way, but I do.

    • Liz says:

      I used to be the same way…then I got a fabulous idea: now I throw away the PB catalog without looking at it. LOL 😛

  • Marsha says:

    All I can say is that I have a weakness for Hobby Lobby which is approximately 5 miles from my house!

  • Patti says:

    This article reminded me of when my son visited a friend in a “McMansion” and came home telling me that is was just a bunch of wasted space. I surely hope he didn’t tell them that but it made us laugh out loud. Yes, in our home, we live in every inch and it is cluttered with too much stuff (we are constantly downsizing but still seem to attract too much). I have tried to make every item in our home something beautiful to us or very meaningful to us… but others like to give us “things” that are currently popular in decorating. I am going to use Elizabeth’s thinking when I select Christmas gifts this year and focus on experience gifts or something people can “use up”.

  • Hobby Lobby IS overwhelming to me also! Plus, it just puts stuff in front of me that all of a sudden I feel I “need” (not!). It IS great for creativity ideas though and they have fabric & sewing supplies that I like to put that coupon to good use on!

  • Tari says:

    So happy I read this today, I actually took back a gray comforter two days ago because I took it home, didn’t like it as much as I hoped I would, put back a freshly laundered comforter I had from when I first got married and was so content! 🙂 It reminded me that I love the things I already have. I also went to Hobby Lobby two years ago and bought quite a few red jars and red wall hangings with bible verses on them. They looked good in my old house, but when we moved to our new house, they seemed to just gel together in all the right places! Again with being content with what I already had! sometimes I just need to shop at home.

  • <3 You and your husband are headed to great places Elizabeth. I'm so proud of y'all. And I'm saying that as "Big Sister" and friend!

    (and yes, Hobby Lobby can be VERY overwhelming! I try to only go in there with a specific purpose!)

  • Elizabeth Kane says:

    Yes! I agree. That realization can be a powerful one. I’ve had the same thing happen to me with a coupon in hand, and money to spend in a store. I’m starting to finally listen to that voice when I’m shopping that says, “You like it…but do you really love it? And do you actually *need* it?” It’s taken me a while, but after too many impulse buys I’m starting to see the benefits of coming home without a shopping bag. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Jennifer says:

    This is so true. I have had the same realization when shopping with my sister at Costco — she was THRILLED about how much money she was saving, but it really was shopping for entertainment’s sake, not about buying things she needed, or even things she really loved.

    Kudos to you for having your epiphany before spending tons of your hard-earned cash…or worse, going into debt!

  • L says:

    So true! Society and catalogs pressure us to think we “need” that dream home or look when we are probably fine with what we have.

    I felt like this spoke to me in the Christmas shopping department as well-do we really “need” to spend a certain amount on our kids if they have everything they need and am I buying them lots of gifts to buy things? We decided to just get our kids some of the more expensive items that we know they will use long term and enjoy vs lots of things to open. They will tire of the fad gifts fast and we will have wasted our money and then have it all laying around. In every area of life (decorating, gifts, clothes) quality is worth more than quantity in ever sense of the word.

  • JP says:

    Thanks or this article. I agree so many of life’s greatest joys don’t come from the relationships and the people we have around us. Investing and reinvesting in those provide us with the most dividends.

    With that said, I’m on a journey in the opposite direction of your post. I have NOTHING on my walls. ZERO. I’m looking to fill them with photos by Henry Cartier Bresson, pictures of my good friends, photographs from man’s first adventure into the air at Kitty Hawk, articles I am reading, great leaders I admire and much much more.

    Sometimes it’s important to express yourself visually. My number one struggle with how many people design their home is that there’s little individual flair (I’m currently in this camp). Often, people design their apartments to fit into a catalogue (yep, I’m clearly here again).

    It’s time for some individual expression!

  • Lisa says:

    So true! I feel that way every time I look at over-decorated rooms on Pinterest. Plus, everything is “out of style” in a minute thanks to all the tv decorating hype shows.

  • Carrie says:

    I totally agree. I do not enjoy shopping anymore these days because I don’t feel like I need anything either. I like getting decorative things for the holidays within reason. But for everyday decorating – first, I don’t have a clue. Second, I’ve probably got enough stuck in boxes to keep me busy for a while. I love that I’m not the only one who feels like I don’t need stuff. 🙂

  • Mandy says:

    LOVE this! My little sister is a newlywed living in a little apartment in Capitol Hill! I will tell her about your blog. You two seem to have a lot in common 🙂

  • Emily says:

    Don’t forget going to thrift stores. The thrift stores near me have a ton of picture frames in great condition – some never were opened! Plus many other items for decoration.

  • T says:

    Please don’t be down on Hobby Lobby! What the OP says about not needing things is certainly true. But many comments seem to be “blaming” Hobby Lobby. I’m so thankful we have a Hobby Lobby in our “smallish” town. It’s a wonderful store. I love seeing the beautiful things, listening to the beautiful music they play… I don’t have to buy anything! But I have gotten some wonderful deals here. They have amazing sales and offer a 40% off coupon by email quite often.

    Last week I needed 50 fall cupcake wrappers. They were already on clearance at 50% off and I realized that even full price was less expensive than cupcake wrappers at the grocery store! I bought a little wooden sign with a Bible verse on it that cost only $3– not much more than some people pay for a nice card. The owners promote wholesome values and I’m thrilled to support them. I’m glad I don’t feel the need to buy something every time I’m there and I’m glad they are there when I do need to buy something.

  • What a beautiful post! if we take our time, we will buy less…

    about the blue cross you were thinking of buying at Hobby Lobby- I went there for the first time awhile ago. I appreciate them being closed on Sunday for their workers. I was dismayed that most of their products are made in China- and all of the Christian decor I saw was made in China. I made a decision 10 years ago- no Christmas or Easter decor (or overtly Christian products) made in China- they want Christians’ money but won’t allow the people religious freedom of any kind. So, I can’t change the world, but I spend less.

  • Missy says:

    I do this frequently when I’m in a store. It’s like materialism hits me straight in the heart and I just can’t bring myself to buy useless things that I don’t need. What wisdom you have to start your marriage this way!!

  • Christine Fontanez says:

    What a great reminder. Same in our house. The only things we have displayed are family photos and very few nicknacks that have special meaning to our family. For holidays I like to make homemade decor with the kids. It’s the memories we take with us not our possessions.

  • Terri L says:

    I like to shop stores and find beautiful things for my home, put them in my cart and keep on shopping. I may end up with 2 things, maybe 10. I admire them as I shop. I may even stop, take them out of cart and look at them some more and continue on. Then when I think I’ve spent enough time in store, I start backwards and put all the items back in their original spot (I never leave them just anywhere, I used to be in retail). It makes me feel good without buying (I really don’t need anything but because I’m a visual person I always think I need the latest and greatest trends) and it gives me extra steps for the day!

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