The One Thing I’m Putting on My Wedding Registry to Organize My Entire Life

The One Thing I’m Putting on My Wedding Registry to Organize My Entire Life

Growing up, I was obsessed with the past. I’d sift gleefully through my mom’s groovy remnants of the ’60s and ’70s, from beaded necklaces to leather headbands. When my cousins moved into a home with a bomb shelter, I was fascinated and delighted. And during summers, I’d volunteer at my hometown’s Victorian village and museum, where I’d dress up in late 1800s garb, selling bottles of root beer to tourists in their “today” clothes. (You know, like normal kids do!)

What can I say? I’m a sucker for an artifact of a different era. But despite my proclivity for looking to the past, I’ve started to consider what this means for my future. Case in point: my upcoming wedding. As my fiancé and I prepare our home for an influx of gifts and much-needed home supplies this coming summer, I’m sifting through our clutter, making way for matching cookware and tool kits and the inevitable off-the-registry knickknack from a great aunt. 

While my partner and I blend our lives together and eventually bring forth some kiddos someday — much to the delight of those knickknack-gifting great aunts! — I want to be able to share the history of our lives with them. But what treasures should my future offspring discover packed away in our basement and attic? What popular trinkets of today should be preserved for future exploration? What should I do with my Furby?

While I have no clue what objects lying around our house will one day serve as nostalgia bombs like View-Masters or Beanie Babies or see-through landline phones, I do have a plan for storing our mementos: Nostalgia boxes.

Just as couples add photo albums and picture frames and keepsakes to their registries, my fiancé and I are including storage boxes that will contain all our noteworthy relics of decades past. We’ll start with boxes dedicated to the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, and ’10s, adding boxes to our collection for every decade that comes and goes. This way, the random, seemingly mundane pieces of our daily lives are safe, organized, and ready to be discovered again… maybe even by just me!

Plus, corralling all of our dated but treasured belongings frees up space in other parts of our home. Jerseys from the early ’90s (my fiancé and I grew up outside Chicago during the Jordan years, so you KNOW we’ve got that old school Bulls gear) can be folded neatly into the nineties box, freeing up closet space. The unusable iPod (RIP) can be tucked into our early aughts box, making space in my bedside drawer for… other electronics (wink). The Gameboy Color that I don’t use regularly can be saved in its container and easily located when I need a good Pokemon Gold fix. 

Remember, wedded couples to-be: You can put anything you want on your registry. Your guests might think you’re batty, but that’s okay — they already know that about you and love you in spite of it, or perhaps because of it. And when our guests walk into our very retro-vibed wedding reception in a refurbished basketball court decorated to resemble a prom scene from a 1980s John Hughes film (again, my fiancé and I grew up outside Chicago during the peak of John Hughes’ filmmaking pinnacle), I think they’ll understand why these boxes are so important to us. I’ll be sure to tuck a program, confetti, and wedding photos into our 2022 box, too!

Sarah Magnuson


Sarah Magnuson is a Chicago-based, Rockford, Illinois-born and bred writer and comedian. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Sociology and a master’s degree in Public Service Management. When she’s not interviewing real estate experts or sharing her thoughts on laundry chutes (major proponent), Sarah can be found producing sketch comedy shows and liberating retro artifacts from her parents’ basement.

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This ’90s Decorating Task Brought Me and My Friends So Much Closer

This ’90s Decorating Task Brought Me and My Friends So Much Closer

Ah, the ’90s — a time of such glorious decorating trends as crackle finishes, safari prints, weird shapes, and bright, solid primary colors. As a teen at the time, I loved it all (and generally still do). But no other decorating style captured my heart as much as a messy, frenetic one: splatter paint walls.

Splatter paint was satisfyingly easy to do. You’d paint the walls around you a simple base color, then pick some smaller cans of supporting paints. Pour them into cups, dip your paintbrush in, and fling the paint at the wall. Or, if you wanted to get really wild, throw the whole cup of paint at the wall. The goal was a chaotic mishmash of colors, a personalized experience that would help you know your room was truly yours.

As some aging ’90s kids grew older, they started connecting the splatter paint dots with lines, making brand new constellations scattered across the walls — the universe of youth, all contained in one room. 

Splatter paint walls weren’t done by just one person. It was an activity for friends. Not much was better for budding interior design fanatics than gathering a group of your closest pals and throwing paint at the walls. I helped one friend do it on a light purple wall, with splatter accents of different pastels — light green, pale yellow, sky blue. I helped another friend with a plain white wall, using red and black for a deeply emotional room that seemed to represent the disarray inside a growing teen’s brain.

But my favorite splatter paint experience, the one I’ll always remember, gathered not just a couple friends, but six of us. We crowded into my friend’s too-small bedroom, where she had freshly painted the walls black. Stationed in each corner was a blacklight spotlight, one shining on each wall. In the middle, another light shone toward the ceiling. The accent colors were neon, picked for how well they would glow. 

We spent the next two hours spreading a world of colorful chaos all over those walls; swapping jokes and stories; complaining about school and the people who bugged us; and bonding in a luminescent space where we could help my friend express her inner world on her outer walls. We released our creativity and our frustration. We splashed our teenage angst away. It was cathartic, and it brought us all closer together. 

That room had more than just her touch, it had all of ours. And that was the great thing about splatter paint walls. You didn’t just do it for the style. You did it so you could live in a space as wild as you wanted to be, surrounded by memories of the time you and your crew picked your favorite colors and threw them around with reckless abandon. It was the joy of youth, the beauty of friendships, the flair of self-expression, all contained in one place. And that made it magical.

Jennifer Billock


Jennifer Billock is an award-winning writer, bestselling author, and editor. She is currently dreaming of an around-the-world trip with her Boston terrier.

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Take a Gander at This Disco-Chic Gem for Sale in Georgia

Take a Gander at This Disco-Chic Gem for Sale in Georgia

Judging by the low-profile, wooden-sided exterior of this single-story home, you wouldn’t expect anything out of the ordinary going on inside — which makes the reveal of clicking through the photos all the more glorious. Smoked mirror tiles line the ceiling of the foyer, which leads into a living room that stopped me in my tracks: Wall-to-wall plush teal carpeting and curved built-in couches are anchored around a freestanding gas fireplace with a cylindrical mirrored chimney hovering above, making it look like a giant disco centerpiece. 

What’s more? On the other side of the entryway, another lounge features a big, circular conversation pit, where I’m currently picturing myself reclining with a tequila sunrise in my best pair of bell bottoms. 

Across the pass-through window, the kitchen maintains a perfectly ’70s vibe with a produce-patterned tile backsplash, lots of wooden cabinets, and even a Sub-Zero fridge cleverly disguised with wood paneling. 

The bedrooms are equally fun to look at, with one sporting not one but two entire walls of mirror tiles, a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, and a bed with a round built-in ruched canopy and a petite chandelier dangling from the center. Another room showcases a carpet-encompassed bed with a mirrored overhanging arching over the mattress like a disco ball wave. 

On top of all the retro rewards, the home offers plenty of practical features, too, including a two-car garage, a spacious, light-filled basement, and a wide, grassy yard.  

Are you on the house hunt, or just the type of person who loves browsing real estate listings, even when you’re not in the market for a new home? Property Crush is a column where we feature actual real estate listings that get the Apartment Therapy seal of approval in regards to style (we haven’t done home inspections or anything, so don’t sue us). Know of a great house on the market? Email the listing to

25 Retro and Throwback Gifts, From Inflatable Chairs to a Pet Rock

25 Retro and Throwback Gifts, From Inflatable Chairs to a Pet Rock

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Imagine that you’re back in middle school, and you just got dropped off at the mall with your best friends to do some holiday shopping. The storefronts are illuminated in neon, the escalators are rolling, and somewhere, there’s definitely a jumbo pretzel cooking. Life is good, even if it smells a bit like recycled air.

While the memory of shopping with your childhood friends might be a thing of the past (along with some of those iconic mallrat stores that no longer exist), there’s no reason that your holiday gifts can’t contain a solid dose of nostalgia. After all, so many retro fashion and beauty items are trendy again (hello scrunchies, bell-bottoms, and bangs), and reminiscing about throwback faves is always in style.

So grab your favorite after-school snack, settle into your inflatable chair, and get ready to add these perfectly nostalgic items to your shopping list this year.

De Elizabeth


De is a writer/editor specializing in mental health, motherhood, lifestyle, and pop culture. She’s obsessed with all things ’90s and ’00s nostalgia (and even has a newsletter named after the best sound on AIM).

Sasheer Zamata Just Made a Strong Case for Adding an Avocado Green Couch to Your Living Room

Sasheer Zamata Just Made a Strong Case for Adding an Avocado Green Couch to Your Living Room

Grace Stetson


Grace is a writer who keeps a lot of balls in the air at any moment. A Bay Area native, she’s lived, studied and worked in five cities across North America and loves traveling to even more around the world. She’s written professionally as a freelancer for a number of years, with published work for NBC News, HelloGiggles, San Jose Spotlight, Toggl, and the ever-amazing Apartment Therapy. One of her proudest accomplishments to date was interviewing Rep. Deb Haaland prior to her election to the House in 2018.

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