“I SAW THE ANGEL IN THE MARBLE AND CARVED UNTIL I SET HIM FREE.”
There is creativity in all of us, in varying degrees. It is time to channel your inner Michelangelo and see what things can become, rather than simply what they are. Short of becoming a hoarder, there are ways to use things differently to make them functional for the current day or fit the current need. By revamping things, painting, or putting an entirely different twist on them, old things can be given new life!
#1. Check through the donations pile:
While I am absolutely a fan of donating gently used clothing, house wares, useful odds & ends, and furniture for others to use, I am also a fan of “rocking what you’ve got” in order to make things work for you in your space. Let’s be real…because when I go through my things, there is stuff that isn’t in good enough condition even to donate.
Maybe you are looking for a great springtime wreath…why not just make one? Check through your donations and see if there are any clothes that would work for a rag wreath. Tie strips of cloth around a wire hanger bent into a circle. Easy…and has a built in hook. You can use that old pool noodle as a wreath form too! Maybe you need a new blanket. I scoured our old jeans and had enough material to make a queen size comforter. It took a little time and some supplies, but not what it would have cost to buy the fabric.
#2. Check your garbage:
Ever had your child cut all the hair off of a pony or doll? There are ways to work with that too, instead of simple tossing it out. Use bake hard clay like Sculpey or Fimo to mold new hair on the toy. Bake according to package directions, then paint. Bring new life to old toys.
It’s unfortunate when dishes break, but save those ceramic teapots without lids, slight chips or other imperfections. Shed new light on things by creating stunning conversation pieces like Mad Hatter Teapot Lamps.
#3. Roadside rescue and Thrift, Consignment and Antique Stores:
Check the curbs while you drive around town. Lots of people are accustomed to leaving unwanted items on the curb. Online sites often have a free section as well. When you have something that was free to begin with, there is no pressure if you mess things up. This “hunting” is an acquired skill…often people say they never find anything good. Scoring roadside junk or the perfect thrift store score is just a game of numbers. The more you try the more likely you are to succeed. There will be lots more days that you won’t find anything, which will make the days you do find something all the better. Get used to scanning the curbsides and checking thrift stores frequently while you travel and see what you can find. My husband and I call it “vulturing”…and yes, he does it too. If you end up getting something that isn’t quite what you were hoping for, fix it up and sell it. List your large items on local classifieds or online listings.
Painting dated furniture, especially laminate finishes, gives new life to the piece. It can aid in transitioning furniture from a child’s room to a teen’s place, without adding much more cost. Pieces become unique and stylish by adding a fun paint job or stencil. Painting dresser drawers in varying shades of one color give it a paint chip ombre effect that screams upper class. Furniture with ornate details will shine with a bit of paint too. Framed glass and mirrors can be painted over with chalkboard paint for an orderly command station or weekly quote board. Try to look at something and visualize it a different color…surf the internet and see if you can find similar things. Get in the habit of seeing what something can become, not just what it is.
Adding a matching paint job to a mismatched set looks like they were meant for each other! Like this nightstand and stool combo!
Upcycling is taking something and elevating its use to something different. That broken globe could become an amazing hanging pendant light shade or a chalkboard sphere. Mason jars can double as anything. Bike wheels and metal parts become a clock. Look for ways to repurpose things and make them unique and fun. With some fabric and a bit of sewing, a 5 gallon bucket becomes an arsenal of kid toys.
Limit yourself…but don’t limit yourself creatively.
Because we don’t want everyone to end up on hoarders or unable to
throw away take out boxes and normal garbage…here’s a tip:
Get a tote box. Limit yourself to saving things that fit in the box. Large items should fit within a regulated space that everyone agrees on. If you find yourself holding on to too much, have a yard sale and clear out things that you aren’t totally in love with.
As you start to rock what you’ve got and use things in creative ways, it will become natural. You will see the world around you in different colors and endless possibilities. The pile of scrap wood and wine crates on the side of the road become a buried treasure. You will embrace you inner Michelangelo as you create masterpieces within your home with old things.