Five Steps To Building Your Story Wall

By January 27, 2019 Food for thought

I know we are all talking about Tidy Up, but that Sentiment stage – or the final stage where you dig out all of those boxes of pictures, awards, kids’ school papers, holiday cards, knick nacks etc. – that it’s ok to have a cluster or clutter of sentiments while still tidying up.

What if we made a win-win-win where we create a behavioral shift from over spending on holidays on gift exchanges amongst everyone you like enough to suprise with a gift and cover your bases in case they did too while instead creating a place of things that spark joy in one concentrated place, and more importantly –displaying  a story worth sharing.

I’m calling it Story Walls

Here’s one of mine:

You see, no candle, body lotion, picture frame (well, maybe) or bottle of wine gift can impact the captured things that trigger a story. Like together they help you add something new to your story wall instead.

And for the record, the only rule in building story walls is that it’s fun, vibrant and mixes and matches display types of everything and anything that you would enjoy telling the story about why it’s in the art arrangement.


Here’s my challenge to you that I have done:

  1. Walk around your house and choose a wall or corner or wherever that a mixed media display would work .
  2. Re-walk around your house and grab any heirloom, photo, souvenir, gift, trophy – “stuff with a story you will never depart with and would cry if you lost in a fire”
  3. Lay it all out on a large table or floor and arrange and play with it to see how it can work.
  4. Start placing, hanging and stacking. I’ve even wrapped boxes above cabinets to stack things and give different heights so it’s not all “blah straight and orderly”.
  5. Stand back, admire your work and post it with #StoryWalls

It’s almost a magical feeling. I look at my story walls regularly. I’m always studying it not only because I love to rehear myself tell the stories in my head of why they are there to where and how can I rearrange it to fit more into it without having to rerank what gets boxed? No.  I used to have purchased items mixed within the wall because I thought they were cool and A placeholder until I’ve got something genuine to replace that great bargain from Hobby Lobby. My only concern is when I exhaust that option, what will I do? Boxing is not an option anymore. Once on the wall, always on the wall.

I have been doing this for many years before I realized that I was doing this. It’s almost like I created a purpose while just trying to declutter my house yet keep the things that define why we live in our home.

It’s also kept me from jumping on the bug of getting a bigger home on a less trafficked road with some peace and workspace for us with a guest room. This quaint, still decent sized house in a growing subdivision is just what we need and carries so many stories within it that I’d rather have the problem of where to showcase more memories than basically blowing two vacations a year on a bigger mortgage.

I’m addicted to stories. Good ones. Defining ones. Nostalgic ones. Honored ones. Funny ones. Life changing ones.

What will your Story Walls look like?

Your coffee tables and closets and basements will thank you. Once finished, you’ll be able to look at it every day, focus on something different, reflect on that awesome story it triggered for you and you’ll find more joy in your day. You’ll see more positive each day.

You’ll challenge each other to who can add to your wall, forcing you to change it up to make more room. Maybe it’s a picture of a cool time you had, a funny and small souvenir you got to mark the moment, or who knows… It could be anything that triggers the story. Keep it if the story matters to you in a way that reaffirmed something about you. A piece in the puzzle of what makes you you.

I’ve got everything from Fireball lights from Jamie to a hairy Abersnak Troll from the Smokys that Bonnie and Larry got us. So many experiences that contributed to the moments of reflection.

Even the larger things I hang have significance.       

Now’s the even more fun part. Do nice things for the people you care about all year long. Don’t wait for Christmas. Make Christmas the time to gather and enjoy time versus scrambling for gifts. Even though I absolutely LOVE to give gifts to the people I want to give gifts to, I thoroughly enjoy the joy of genuine appreciation for the thought and heart that goes into them. Gifts are always, well, a gift.

So why save up all that giving all at once? Why not be spontaneous, with no reciprocation wanted during all the moments in your year? Don’t save it all up.  Instead, whenever you have a thought of kindness sharing to someone in your circles, whether from your private circle of people to the universe of facebook friends – if you recognize a moment, favor, sweetness or any kindness to show them within the means you can do so – do it! Don’t wait for Christmas. Don’t hoard it in your basement for six months waiting to put it under a tree.

Do Not not reach out to them even if just a text cause you thought of them at that very moment. I make a more conscious effort to do that. Whether it’s a care package to my Bree or anyone outside of Ohio or I’m gathering old crayons up around my house because a friend on Facebook I spent a cool Emmaus weekend with like three years ago is needing them to help take off her awesome business recycling them in smart ways, I do things to show I appreciate what they are doing to better humanity by being who they are. Whether close or once were closer.

If you can do something, Do it. To any one in your universe or outside of it with a genuine need, Like Habitat for Humanity or some lady who can’t figure out her cricket phone to get an uber to bring her back home with her shopping cart full of stuff and she has no friends or family to call. Get her an Uber.

You can do something, so do it.

Don’t wait for the salvation army bellers. I mean, still give or do it or whatever but don’t make it be your only thing. They should have every major retailer just have their card machines ask customers to give $1, $5, $10 or more every time they check out. I bet they’d quadra-tri-luple that red bucket. Sad but true. And yes  I’m calling Quadra-tri-luple a word to represent a gagillion dollars.

That’s what we all gotta do no matter how big or how small. Whether it’s putting your cart back in the corral as you should even if it’s cold outside or doing a kind thing for someone only takes time. Sometimes under five minutes. And I am NOT talking about “liking a post” or “posting praying hands” – even though half of us genuinely mean it just, you know, you are busy so scroll on. Or not wanting to connect to that person in a way that triggers moving them into a closer circle than you are ready to commit to at this time.

I’m developing this whole guide into relationship quirks and how to solve them by identifying the circles of relationships outside of ourselves and how people evolve in and out of them throughout years of knowing them based on life changes such as work, address, marriage, divorce, school – pretty much anyone you have came in to contact with and deemed them acceptable to friend on Facebook but no longer communicate past that.

Whether that changed or not, these days with the algorithms it’s not too harmful to now unfriend people you will probably never see or talk to again but are ok with them having access to your profile if they get curious and care to know what you’re up to these days.

Back in the early stages, you were more flexible with that and now are more effortly trying to keep your friends number at a more acceptable range. Almost the opposite of a credit score. Like, keep the number low enough to seem realistic or manageable in today’s standards yet high enough to see like you’ve got friends.

I’d say 300 – 600 friends is probably the maintain range. It’s okay to be above or below that range, but when you get up to more than a thousand, you’re either really trying to leverage relationships, kinda famous but not yet created a business page, or under 35.

They seem to be cooler with friends of friends or a highly shared number mutual friends to accept people they really don’t know but might run in to. They are the universe circle versus the let’s say 3 circle which are people you run into while enjoying life 4-5 times a year and may randomly text you and vice versa for whatever. This can fluctuate and change throughout your life based on where you live and where you work and friends of friends.

Either way, if I see someone in my universe that I don’t see hardly ever but recognize as my friend – I will make a point to say hello and give eye contact. If we don’t at least do that with one another, I’m going to help maintain my average number. And have a real conversation if time and context allows.

Throughout your life, people can weave through the layers of you based on where we are in life. Someone in the “3 zone” could now be ten years ago when you worked together and thought a lot of each other. Or someone you met at a conference and you had a cool time together. And that’s ok because you know they are good people from their sincerity when you met them.

I didn’t say mistake free, or annoying with the way they post or you hope they’re doing ok if they need superficial things like attention seeking posts to fill some void of not enough authentic in their personal lives within the 1-2 circles. Anyway, you still think and know they’re good people with some issues. We all got ‘em – am I right? We all got posts we didn’t think through back in the day like we do now and wonder what we were thinking.

But peel questionable choices aside and you’ve got a decent human being under that personal brand with stuff they haven’t worked through yet. So they may be universe for a few years and then closer and then out but always, always in your universe with no hard feelings because you know they’re good people.

Make a wall, from shelves to furniture to what’s stacked or hung on what and step back and feel awesome about all those great and wonderful moments with friends, family from afar and in town and everything you want to remember to tell someone so when it’s all done it’s something in your documentary story of you. The one only you can tell fully but hopefully everyone represented within each piece can fill in the patches of it through stories they have To complete it.

And it will help detectives learn who you are a lot quicker.


Hope you make a story wall or two or three,





Side story, I got to do this with Tiff on the tops of her cupboards with things that we both have stories about. That’s cool to me because there’s stories within them I still have to tell her about because we intertwined our belongings to make it all stage up in her specific modern Tuscany look)

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