Now that the warm weather has returned here in the northeast so has my get-up-and-go energy to go thrifting early on the weekends routine. I know some wouldn’t be caught dead poking around in a dumpster or think thrift stores and yard sales are only for people who are down on their luck. While I could fit into that category since my husband has been one of the unlucky ones who lost his job 3 years ago when the economy took its downhill slide, that is not the reason I like to head out early on Saturday mornings to find cast-off treasure.
Yes, I DIY and go yard sale hopping to save money, but that is only one small part of it. With the right skills and tools, I can turn a broken chair into something useful and beautiful. The trendy term for it is “up cycling” – but to me it is about designing an object to fit with my aesthetic sense, style, and overall vision. Bottom line – I need to create.
I enjoy going thrifting to search for objects with good bones to makeover into something of my own design. I will never be given the opportunity to design product lines like Philippe Starck or to work as a furniture or fabric designer with a line of goods with my label on them. I also do not have the bank account to set up a tool and die shop to make the components needed to design items from scratch, so I must make do with what I can find and go from there. Thrifting and DIYing enables me to create an exclusive line of decorative goods for me alone, while at the same time – feeding my need to create.
I also enjoy the thrill of the hunt and have been enamored with thrifting since I went as a kid to my mom’s annual Women’s Club – Trash to Treasure sale. My mom would give my sister and I some money and let us roam around by ourselves through all the sale tables to buy what we wanted. I remember always finding cool stuff and when we returned to my mom, she would always ask – What are you going to do with that junk? – my reply, “make things”.
Why do I DIY? Because DIYing allows me to get exactly the look and style I want. In today’s world of mass similarity, home is the place where we get to express our unique style, show our personality and live among the things we love or something that we put our heart and soul into creating.
I subscribe to the philosophy that personal style reigns over trends. My eye delights in seeing unique and gets bored with mass merchandise. I find character beats all in the pieces I choose to work on. There are no rules when you are the designer – only respecting your aesthetic sense and being confident in your choices.
On my recent trip to my local thrift store I came across this side table for $5.90. I have been searching for quite some time for a table that would fit perfectly next to a chair in my family room.
With a few changes and a coat of paint, I will finally have the perfect table for my space.
Sometimes the design of the objects I find are perfect just as they are and need no changes whatsoever. On my recent trip to the local ReStore, I came across 5 glass blocks. $1.00 each. They are not the typical square ones, but brick shaped.
Simple objects in a classic design that I cleaned up and re-purposed into doorstops. I like to keep the windows in my house open in the warm months and if I don’t have a stop on the doors– they slam shut. These blocks offer a cohesive, unique, and inexpensive way to have a doorstop by every door.
So the next time you need something for your house, consider not only rescuing something from your local thrift store, garage sale, trash bin, or grandma’s attic that will save you money, but also will enable you to add your own unique signature to your surroundings. By sticking with the found, free, or flea mantra you’ll not only save money, but truly design a personally designed space that you can proudly call your own.
Here’s to finding treasure this thrifting season. Happy Hunting!