Diary of a Well-Loved Sofa

sofa title

I am hopelessly sentimental and a historian by training — which sometimes leads me to horde things like letters and cards and all my origami-folded notes from middle school and my kids’ artwork and books and twelve-year-old sofas.

Our beast of a sofa has served our family since my teenager was a year old. Because I was an idealistic idiot, I bought an off-white, slipcover-“style” sofa from Value City Furniture in Charlotte, North Carolina for $449. I wanted the one from Pottery Barn but it was much too spendy for our budget back then. Off-white slipcover sofas are wonderful. I daresay they’re even practical. Anything removable and bleachable is a win-win when you have children.

The operative word here is “slipcover-style,” not to be confused with an actual slipcover.

The Value City sofa did not have removable upholstery and I did not have spic-and-span children. You can see where this is going.

I told myself and my husband that we would not allow our child or any future children to drink apple juice from sippy cups on the sofa and we most definitely wouldn’t allow food or dirty hands on it. When you are 29 years old and a mother of one wee daughter and clueless about the depths of screen-time / juice-sipping / lunch-eating on the sofa to which you will resort in order to get just 23 minutes of peace, you make silly decisions about cheap off-white sofas that look just like the ones from Pottery Barn.

It wasn’t long before the pristine dreams of an off-white sofa crashed and burned before my very eyes. Between the sippy-cups and the 40 months of nursing babies and the 40 months that said nursing babies spit up and the twelve years of tears and sleepless nights and the daily grime of daily living pressed into its fibers — the Value City sofa is a literal topographical profile of the Vischer family’s existence.

More than any other possession, that grimy sofa holds our very DNA — our history, our secrets, our dreams, our boo-boos, our read-alouds, our forts of days gone by.

sofa 2 I’m putting it on Craigslist today. If I can bring myself to it. Honestly, I can’t imagine that anyone would want it. Sure, I’ve cleaned up the spills and spit-ups and hand-prints across the years but when you can’t throw an entire off-white sofa into the washing machine, it shows. It really shows.

But maybe there’s some poor college student out there who needs a super cushy, still comfy sofa and doesn’t mind spending some extra cash on a slipcover for it. I’ll be tempted to tell her to take good care of it, to treat it with reverence because our very life has been lived and spilled and remembered on that sofa. And she will probably look at me like I’m crazy, unload the sofa into her apartment, and commence to watching Gossip Girl while texting all of her friends. I am literally tearing up just typing these words. What is wrong with me? {Also, if you are a college girl, I’m sorry I just stereotyped you like that.}

Sometimes the thing we can’t wait to replace because it’s old and dirty and superceded by newer and better is the very thing we struggle to let go of. I think that applies to more than just sofas.

What’s the moral of this sofa story? I honestly don’t have one.

Take pictures of your furniture?

Only buy sofas with actual slipcovers?

Don’t settle for the Value City knockoff?

Perhaps for me, the moral of the story is this. Appreciate what you have. Don’t be afraid to fully live in your home and on your furniture. Know when it’s time to let go but be mindful and grateful for the pieces that have held your tush and your children’s tushes, your books and your blankies, your movie nights and your sleepless nights.

Myquillin Smith {“The Nester”} says It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. In fact, she’s written a book with that very line as the subtitle. Over the years it’s become one of my favorite mantras, probably because stealth perfectionism is always lurking and waiting to strike, sabotaging my gratitude for the messy, beautiful, real gifts of today.

Like well-worn, well-loved sofas.

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And for inquiring minds who are wondering why I’m replacing the sofa…

Well, I finally got a new one — an off-white slipcovered sofa with actual removable and washable slipcovers. It’s from Rowe, the company that makes sofas for Pottery Barn. How ironic. But you know me, everything has a story and this new sofa is no different. It’s a too good to be true Craigslist find and I even got it for a third of what that Value City sofa cost twelve years ago. I know, go ahead and hate me. I promise to tell you about it soon.

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Comments

  1. says

    here’s where things get weird. my sofa is from Rowe. it is slipcovered. it is the Pottery Barn style with the three cushions and the rolled arms. we continue to live parallel lives. i did choose a wheat colored tweedy upholstery because i’m wonky like that.

  2. Emily says

    I love that you did a diary about that sofa! I will always fondly remember it as the place I’d come to study/nap/watch TV when I needed to get away from campus. Can’t wait to see the new one!!!

  3. MeMe says

    How you described your emotional journey and revelations with your sofa are how I have been thinking about our Clemson years and now our Seattle year(s)… ” Appreciate what you have. Don’t be afraid to fully live in your home and on your furniture. Know when it’s time to let go but be mindful and grateful for the pieces that have held your tush and your children’s tushes, your books and your blankies, your movie nights and your sleepless nights.” Love your insights!

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Trackbacks

  1. […] Remember how I finally got a “new” sofa? Remember how I said that it was time to say goodbye to the gross, off-white-turned-beige dilapidated one with the ripped cushions that had served us well for 12 years? […]

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