September 29, 2011

Second Hand Rose

I keep writing about my simple life. I keep reading about it, too. There are many bloggers learning to be eco-friendly and frugal in the name of consuming less and protecting the environment. With each blog post I read, I think, ‘I could have written that. Thirty years ago.’

I struggle with what to convey through my writing, because my green lifestyle is a part of me; it’s my nature. Yes, I learned some of it, but most of it is just who I am. Being a Capricorn, I am naturally frugal and tied to the earth. It’s hard to write about my daily routine, since, to me, it’s not so outstanding. It’s just what I do. But to others, it’s valuable information.

Let me tell you about my furniture, 99% of which is second-hand.

> Five of my six bookshelves came from yard sales. I’ve had one of those for 15 years. One chair in my living room came from a yard sale about 12 years ago for $25, the other came from the local flea market. It is a wonderful Ikea POÄNG chair and footstool, ergonomic heaven that cost me $40. My couch came from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

> I purchased one of my floor lamps at a yard sale for $1 back in 1991. The woman said she’d bought it used years before that as a ‘project,’ but it was clear to her she wasn’t going to get around to it, so she was selling it. My coffee table was a gift from a neighbor, who was moving. My magazine basket is from a gift basket I got at Christmas (yes, it was that big!). My trash can is a bushel basket from an apple farm in Tennessee, where we lived when my second daughter was born in 1994.

> The wooden screen dividing the kitchen from the living area came from my next door neighbor’s home after she passed away. I also got a lot of gardening supplies – flower pots, two carts, watering cans, bird feeders. Her son was very generous with her things. Being from out of state, he was eager to empty the house, sell it, and move on.

> My maple drop-leaf kitchen table is another flea market find. It replaced the one I brought from my mother’s house and gave away so I could travel. The chairs came from a client’s yard sale as she was clearing out to sell her house and move. Probably $20 for the four of them.

> Two wicker chairs in the greenhouse came from my mother’s sunroom. The cushions are draped with silk from two skirts I got at the freebox. I washed them, then cut the seams out and tucked them under the cushions. The metal side table was left beside a dumpster at the condos up the road. I also got a rug and a blender out of that pile of stuff, and my friend picked up a leather ergo-purse. Great finds! I love when people move or clean out and have the sense to leave things where people will get them, instead of sending them to the landfill.

> I have a mahogany sideboard and telephone table in the kitchen that were pieces in my childhood home. My kids sleep on beds that came from my mother’s guest room. I have a sofa table that was my mother’s. She’d painted it bright green, and when I stripped it, I exposed solid oak. I wondered why it was so heavy to lift into the pick-up truck! I also got a couple of small chairs from her house, the kind you toss clothes onto. They were never meant for sitting. One’s in my room, one’s in the bathroom – the most obvious clothes-tossing areas.

> Our three dressers came from yard sales. A little paint spruced them up. One daughter’s tv table is was given to us by a friend moving to a smaller apartment.

> In my room, I also have a computer desk and chair from separate friends. My closet organizer is stacks of milk crates for t-shirts, shorts and sweaters. My shoe rack is cinder blocks and 1×6 lumber. My bedside table was a side-of-the-road-sale find for $5, with a $3 yard-sale-find lamp on it.

The list of what’s NEW in my house is definitely shorter.

  • my bed
  • two banquet tables that serve as office/studio workspace – I’ve had these since 1996.
  • one floor lamp from Wal Mart for $14
  • a chair in each daughter’s room
  • one bookshelf in one daughter’s room

Just think, I could have spared you all that reading and me all that writing by just posting the NEW list!

As you can see, furniture comes from many places besides a store. You can also see that we don’t need to run out and buy something new just for the sake of shopping. I’ve had a lot of these things for many years, and they have a lot of life in them still. If I need a change, I will rearrange and/or paint the furniture, paint the walls and trim, or make new curtains. Life does not need to be consumptive or expensive!

This is my kitchen table with a piece of thrift store lace on it, yard sale chairs, bowl left over from a party, my mother’s sideboard to the right, her telephone table to the left, and an old Mexican blanket on the window. Only the apples are new!

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