Turn a shitty corner of your home into an altar for an awesome thing

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Altar of the Everyday -- Saturday AfternoonI have this weird personal quirk where I hate non-utilitarian objects. It makes me SUPER picky about the decorative stuff living in our home (and, as you saw in my home tour yesterday, it leaves our house pretty sparse). Still, I have a few things I just HAVE to keep that are a bit awkward. The weirdest of which is a 20″ blue titanium rod which held my broken leg together a few years ago. Its companion is a bloodied helmet. I can’t bear to part with them, but it’s a little weird to have a macabre reminder of a hard thing sitting around on the living room shelf.

You know what’s fun, though? Thinking about our possessions as religious relics. Creating an altar to us or our things, relationships, families. Making our own folk art.

This is our first challenge on Offbeat Home: Transform a shitty corner of your space into an altar for your neat things.

  1. Take a look around your home, house, apartment, barracks, dorm, hobbit hole. Is there a corner without a purpose? That place where the flow of the room kind of stops, no one ever goes, or things pile up like debris on a beach? Yeah: that place in your home that confounds your sense of style. When you’ve identified the nook, grab the camera and take a photo for a “Before” shot. Then set a bit of time and tidy the space if it’s cluttered. Dust a little. Re-home lonely items which have been dropped there for lack of a better option.
  2. If you don’t already have an item in mind, don’t get too flustered. I’d choose something which looks cool, even if it means nothing to you. If you can manage to find a thing which LOOKS interesting AND has pleasant associations — all the better.
  3. Now get creative and combine the two. Make your revered object a cozy space in which to live and be pondered. Give it a home. It can be totally secular, or silly, or pagan, or a memorial. Use whatever materials make sense — paint, cardboard, books, glitter, carefully jigsawed particle board. Need ideas? How about religious relics? Altars? Plaques? Trinkets?

Get to it! Turn an awkward corner into a place for contemplation. When you’ve got your befores and afters, send them up on our Flickr group and tag them with “Offbeat Altar Challenge”. We’ll take a look at the photos received by 9 am PST on Wednesday, March 9, and pull the most creative ones for their own little Challenge post.

Comments on Turn a shitty corner of your home into an altar for an awesome thing

  1. I do this everywhere in my home. I suffer from the decor philosophy that everything needs a story. If someone points to something in my home, I desperately need to be able to recite from memory where I got it and when, where it was before it was in my possession and why it’s still being displayed in my home.

    • Dootsie, that’s hilarious. When I started photographing my place for the home tour (coming Thursday!), every single photo I took I was like “Ooh, and I HAVE to tell the story of how that’s the last glass bottle we have from Tavi’s nursing days. And I HAVE to tell the story of that My Little Pony. And I HAVE to tell the story of that book!” Thankfully, I managed to hold my tongue — my tour is long, but I managed to not tell the story of every single object on every single shelf. 🙂

      • NICE! As long as I ain’t crazy. It’s something I got from my mom. We have a lot of antique family pieces and she loves to share those stories. That sense has managed to pour over into every single freakin’ thing I own. And I own a lot of stuff. XD

        • I’ve read in organizing books about journaling about decor, furniture, antiques, rooms that hold memories you don’t want to forget. It helps you get at the root of why you’re keeping things when you need to let go and is also great for keeping the memories of antiques and precious possessions passed down in the family alive for future generations.

          • I LOVE this. Thank you!
            Snapshots of all the pieces, with the stories. I’d love to get my mom to help, too. Brillllianttttt!

  2. Love it! We just moved, so I had to dismantle our little altar of marriage memorabilia (which I think was actually getting a little weird, so all for the best). I have so many new corners and shelves in the new place that everything is getting spread out and I’m having a hard time putting things in to close enough groupings. This will be a good challenge to make a little space with some significance!

    Also, check out “Beautiful Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women’s Altars

  3. I just did one corner(posting photos on flickr) and I realized how many parts of my room are awkward. Basically our whole room is a disaster…ugh. Another day.

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