One Woman’s Trash Is…

 …Alley Clark’s treasure. In honor of Earth Day, my sister has contributed her FIRST EVER (but hopefully not last!) guest post! She is an expert, possibly bordering on a hoarder, of unloved, discarded furniture that needs a new home. Reusing and repurposing existing items, especially large and often structurally perfect items such as furniture is a great way to cut down on the waste you create by always buying new. Not only is the new furniture itself made of yet more resources (wood, paper, plastic, etc), there are issues of packaging excess and even the  of waste involved in transporting new items. I’m not expecting you to live off the grid, but I’m asking you to get a little creative to help alleviate the god awful mess we’re making of this beautiful planet.

Below are Alley’s tips (which she graciously adapted for thrift shopping for fashion at Ain’t No Mom Jeans) for finding your own treasure at a thrift shop…or on the side of the road, she acts like she always purchases these items but often she forces her boyfriend to pull over and squeeze an armoire into her Civic. Environmentalism isn’t just throwing your milk jug in a recycling bin, it is rethinking the way we use, reuse and dispose of resources.

Structural integrity

Most vintage furniture is made of solid wood structure rather than the OSB (particle press board) that most flat pack furniture sold at Target or Ikea is made of. This means a more durable solid piece of furniture generally at close to half the cost of the big box stores.

 Don’t judge a book by its cover

Look for unique pieces that have strong lines or interesting architectural detail.  Don’t be turned off by outdated hardware or unappealing wood tones.  Play up the unique features by sanding and staining or using high gloss paint in a bold color.  Hardware is another easy and inexpensive way to dress up on old piece.

Find unexpected uses for traditional pieces

 Using a dresser in the kitchen or dining area creates extra surface space for a bar or prep area while giving you extra storage for sheets, linens or winter clothes.  Old vintage dishes and bowls serve as a way to stay organized, try setting one on your entry console, or next to your computer for keys or change. Try using vintage napkin holders to separate and organize bills and mail.

 Repurpose to save cost

 Things like picture frames and lamp shades are great finds at thrift stores.  If you are in need of a large frame try picking up an old piece of hotel art from Good Will, carefully remove the backing from the frame, toss the image, paint with a fresh coat of high gloss white then replace with a piece of your own art (try using a vintage book cover). Frames 36” and up can easily cost up to $100 but I have yet to find a piece at  Salvation army (Salvo as I like to call it) for more than $12. Cha chinnnggg!

 Stay true to yourself

If you love something buy it! Chances are it’s not more than 20 bucks so it’s a relatively low risk investment, and dog gonnit if you want a giant ceramic ram in your dining room then more power to you!

2 thoughts on “One Woman’s Trash Is…

  1. Looks straight out of a catalogue! We love to recycle here too – our garden furniture came from the council recycling yard – lick of paint, some varnish and it’s like new! And a fraction of the cost.

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