Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Tray Yourself

Last year I did a post titled "Being Trayed." It was about Sister Parish's practice of sweeping through her clients' rooms with a tea cart or tray and removing any objects that she deemed to be unattractive or inappropriate. As I understand it, the "traying" wasn't so much about de-cluttering as refining the look to reflect Parish-Hadley standards.

Traying feels relevant right now because it's a frugal way to spruce things up; cost-free if the removed items are not replaced right away. A tween friend of mine recently trayed herself voluntarily. She decided to give away her toys, rearrange her furniture, and create a wish list for a future teenage bedroom. It was a good rainy day, no-cost project.

So, as hundreds of other design junkies have already said, life is too short to live with things you don't like or have outgrown. Pick up a tray and have fun editing!

BTW: In Atlanta, The Thrift House always welcomes donations of household goods. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at 1837 Piedmont Rd., 404-876-5440.

Picture of Sister is from Parish-Hadley: Sixty Years of American Design (Little Brown and Company). Striped dog available through Basic French.


Southern Aspirations said...

I'd not heard about Sister Parish and traying before but I love it. I am big into an organizational kick and I think "editing" goes hand in hand. Love the idea of carrying around a tray to do it.

And there are lots of great organizations in Atlanta happy to take the trayed items!

Mrs. Blandings said...

I do this on occasion and it is so refreshing. All that medium "stuff" can be such a drain.

Style Court said...

And sometimes we are at a point where we really love all of our collected things, no desire or need to purge, but there is an unsightly trash can or wall hook that we never get around to ditching :)

Terry said...

Gordon took me to a house he'd staged. The owners were living there but gone. To me the place looked great.

He noticed everything and got annoyed over the way the owners had left a few things. He fiddled in every room, sometime removing and hiding things. Some things he moved only 1/2" but moved them none the less. It's great to have a talented, trusted friend who isn't the slightest bit sentimental about your stuff.

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Sister Parrish always set such good standards! I agree that editing a room of it's clutter is such a part of the end result and ultimately desired look.

Tracy Watier said...

I tend to like a bit of clutter in my own home but with a client, I can be ruthless... not when they're watching though!

magnaverde said...

I love that photo, because it seems to shows a more relaxed side of Mrs. Parish, one we don't hear about as often as we do the demanding, bossy, perfectionist side. The tinkling sound of her pitiless tea cart coming down a marble-floored hallway into a new client's living room must have been just as scary for a lot of women as the metallic buzz of the clippers is for new recruits in the military, and for the same reason: both sounds represent the imminent loss of personality & power, and total submission to a new & higher authority.

The transition from one state of being to another may be painful, but if one believes in the value of the end state--and here, faith is the key--it's usually worth it. How many otherwise handsome, well-designed & well-furnished rooms have you seen that have been mucked up by their owners at the last minute with bad art & cheesy accessories? I can think of a bunch of rooms I'd like to take a tray to. I just haven't got the nerve.

The bad part about the current tendency toward 'de-cluttering' is that in a cozy, cluttered room, you can get by with a few not-quite up-to-snuff pieces mixed in with the rest, but the less there is to look at, the better it better be. I remember a cartoon in The New Yorker of a designer explaining to a hapless client, "Yes, of course we can do minimal, but not on your budget."

Less really is more.

Style Court said...

Magnaverde -- that imagery is priceless!

Everyone has had great points here. I love clutter a la Joe Nye (and Magnaverde). I guess what constitutes "good" clutter is highly personal.