Have you ever found yourself wondering how people come up with their innovative objects or furniture pieces that they have painted, stained, refurbished in some way? You know, that wonderful folding screen you saw at someone’s house that added just the right touch to the room, or that cute little desk that was turned into a vanity that housed all the make-up and jewelry just right.
With a little bit of elbow grease, ingenuity, and just plain luck, just about anybody can acquire a unique piece to call their very own!
Where to start? The main thing is to keep your “eyes wide open” when you are driving around your neighborhood, particularly on trash day (hint: that’s the Outdoor Market. Sounds much better than saying trash picking, doesn’t it?)! Just yesterday, on my way to the little corner store, someone had put out the cutest little desk (no broken drawers, knobs intact, no loose joints, all oak wood including base).
It actually didn’t even need to be refinished, but I would have still added my own little touch to it, such as leaving the drawers and the top in it’s natural state and painting the base a color of my choosing.
It never ceases to amaze me the things that you can find at no cost! They could have taken this item to a local charity and received a receipt to use on their income tax as a donation. Fortunately, most people won’t bother with hauling it anywhere. So, to the curb it goes!
There have been many times when I have needed just a piece of lumber, not 8′. Or a piece of wood/plywood, again not an 8′ piece, to use on a project. Do I go to the lumber store? Nope. You can find these items everyday in the Outdoor Market.
I wanted to make a bench with a padded seat to put at the entrance area of my home. Some place to set my purse or mail down when I walk in the door, and also serve the purpose of having a place to sit to put my shoes on when leaving. I “found” a small outdoor bench someone had discarded (again, no loose joints, screws or nails). I then found some cushions from a couch, in order to make it a padded bench.
I painted the bench, cut the cushions down to size with an electric knife, bought material and trim on clearance at my local fabric store, and for about $10 I had a nice, solid, padded bench!
Total time spent on the project was about two hours. Well worth it in comparison to what it would have cost me if I had gone out and bought a brand new piece of furniture to fit my needs. And, a bigger bonus to me, no one else was going to have one like it!
Do you know the price of folding screens in the stores? Why not make your own? How many times have you seen by-fold doors tossed out? They are wonderful for making folding screens…either for hiding something behind, or just a decorative piece to place in a corner of a room to add interest.
You can paint and stencil them in a number of ways, or add fabric, molding, pictures, etc. The possibilities are endless! You end up having a one-of-a-kind piece at very little expense and could become an heirloom that your family members pass down for years to come.
How many times have you seen old dressers being tossed out? You drive by it and think….”That thing is really falling apart.” Are you sure? Was it just one drawer, or all the drawers? If you don’t need the dresser…that’s fine, then just use the good drawers that are left. They are great for under the bed storage! Just ad some small coasters so that they move easily and a piece of fabric attached with Velcro on the top of the drawer will keep things dust free.
How about using them for storage in your garage? Easily done and if you don’t want the “open” look, it’s not that difficult to build a wood box around them to hide the items inside.
One last great use for a drawer if you happen to have someone in the family that is mechanically inclined: again, attaching small coasters to the bottom, it becomes a rolling tool holder for when they’re under the car and keeps the tools easily accessible and all in one place!
It’s time to take your blinders off, and just think of the things that can be created from objects that are easily available to you for no money, just by being observant. We have become a very “throw-away” society. Not only are you not going to burn a hole in your pocket, you’re going to save the environment by not having these items end up in our landfills when they still have perfectly good use left in them.