A friend from high school recently posted a meme on Facebook of a fall seasonal kitchen towel. The meme was a funny PSA to inform men NOT to wipe their grubby hands on these towels because they are intended ONLY for decoration.

Check it out below!

In response, she insisted that this PSA shouldn’t be limited to fall or winter specific towels but also year-round decorative towels.

Too funny. This is where I had comments.

I hold sincere affection for this woman. And I acknowledge she’s clearly able to do whatever she pleases with her own home. None of my comments below are directed at her. But since it came up, let’s use this topic to illustrate a tradition many Americans practice without thinking.

So let’s start at the beginning. Why would anyone showcase decorative towels in the first place?

Because the photos on Pinterest and Zillow showcase perfectly arranged decor with perfect towels hanging from the oven rack and the bathroom towel bar. Movie sets and tv shows paint pictures of perfectly decorated rooms, untouched by the grit of daily living.

And when we see these perfect homes and families, we aspire to attain the level of beauty and peace and warmth they make us feel.

To reproduce the ideal, we buy decorative towels and other items that look like items that would be used daily, and we put them on display hanging them just so perfectly folded. But the idyllic appearance will be tarnished by actual use.

So we’ve succeeded in replicating the ideal. Except those ideals are fictitious. We create unnecessary obstacles for ourselves.

If my decorative towels take up all the available towel bars in both the kitchen and the bathroom, then I have to use additional storage space for my actual daily used towels somewhere out of you. So when I need a REAL towel I have to take extra steps and extra time to get my hidden towels.

Now imagine how many different times in our home and in our personal lives we displace and replace what’s practical and natural and useful for what’s decorative and resembles an ideal we saw somewhere else.

How much money did we have to spend to achieve that ideal? How much time did we spend working to earn the money to achieve that ideal? How much inconvenience did we create by reallocating space time energy for decoration rather than application?

Where do we draw the line?

I love a well-designed home, and I enjoy paintings, sculptures, and other decorative items. I still find them to be useful for enhancing the warmth and energy and vitality of a home. But I I find the most unnecessary decorations to be those that replace the space of a practical item with an impractical item.

For example, a bookshelf with decorative books that a person will never read simply because they look pretty is a waste of space. Especially if one actually owns books they actually want to read which now must be stored elsewhere.

If you don’t own books to read, but you want to have a bookshelf for decoration, that’s less of a conflict. But decorative towels, books, and pillows that aren’t intended for practical use get in the way of regular daily life.

If you want to sit down on your couch you have to move the decorative pillows. You have to put them somewhere. That either means you place the collection on the floor (which looks bad and could get dirty), or you’ve also purchased some sort of storage trunk or coffee table with a container to facilitate their storage during use.

Then you have extra work to put the decorative pillows back on the couch when you get up do you have created additional work time energy and expense for yourself in order to achieve this one decoration.

The Takeaway

If you’re feeling triggered or criticized, let’s pause and refocus the message of this page. I’m not saying you’ve failed at adulting. Live your best life the way you see fit. But while I do the same, one of the things I do is question the “WHY” behind what I do, and in that process I make adjustments when my habits or worldview doesn’t pass muster.

The goal is to examine our own lives and to know why we do what we do. And it’s important to ask ourselves if the smallest things (like throw pillows) hint at opportunities to streamline and improve the function of our daily lives.

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