Above: this armchair, a really great find by someone from the family, ended up finding a home with us because we happened to have an extra bit of space in the living room.
Someday (perhaps when I’m a Granny) I might sit down and compile a little book titled “How to Get Good Furniture for Next to Nothing”. Can you visualize this? Chapter 1: The Landfill. It seems to me this has the potential of a bestseller, doesn’t it? :o)
Basically, whatever it is that you need, you can be pretty sure that it either lies abandoned somewhere and just needs a little dusting off, or someone somewhere is looking to give it away or to sell it for a fraction of its store price. It might take a little search and effort, but very often it’s just a matter of looking about. Why bother, you are asking? Well, the money-saving element is obvious, but there are other advantages to not following the want, grab, pay routine.
* You get satisfaction in giving new life to items that were discarded as “useless”. And sometimes, surprisingly, the “old junk” is actually something of much better quality than what you can buy for a reasonable price today. I’ve seen old furniture that looks like it will endure for eternity, but today, I get the feeling manufacturers say, “let’s make junk so it breaks down sooner and people will have to buy more from us!” Thus, if you use the old instead of buying new (when you can) you are withdrawing your financial support from a wasteful industry.
* Since your “new” acquisition cost you nothing or next to nothing, you can get creative with it. Basic carpentry skills can often be applied to making shelves from discarded bits of wood, and you can experiment with paint, varnish, gluing a mosaic of glass or pottery onto an old coffee table (I’ve seen this done very artfully) or whatever your heart desires. Lovely slipcovers and seats can be sewn, knitted or crocheted for sofas and chairs.
* You get the additional benefit of not having to fret as much if your children spill something on the sofa or vomit all over their bed. And as we all know, it will happen. I’ve been to many homes (with resident children) where people have bought their furniture new, and after a surprisingly short time it doesn’t look any better than our “oldies”. I remember Susan Schaeffer Macaulay in her book, “For the Family’s Sake”, told about an old table she had. “It was my luxury,” she writes. Was it such a fancy expensive table? Oh no; it was an old giveaway, and its surface was all ruined, so the children could comfortably draw, paint, and get creative with playdough on that table. And when it’s covered with a lovely tablecloth, it looks good as new.
Of course, if money isn’t a consideration at all, it’s nice to just walk into a store and get yourself whatever new gorgeous set of table and chairs your heart desires. But many people who have very little, waste too much of the little they have on things they could have gotten for free or nearly for free, and that is a pity.
OK, I’m on a roll here. If I don’t stop now I’ll press right on to Chapter 2: Give-away Websites, so I’d better get off my soapbox and wish you good night.
5 thoughts on “Frugal Finds”
and less garbage for the landfill when we use and recycle things properly!
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I wish I could show the beautiful antique music cabinet my cousin got free along side the road last week…odd people who live a few miles from here , for whatever reason always are putting unwanted furniture out by the road , some of it is wonderful ( all I ever got there was 2 kittens tho ! LOL)
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You can never have too many kittens! 😉
Our original dining room table was one The Squire bought from a friend at his office. With all the leaves in place, it could seat eight comfortably, ten if you were friendly, and twelve if you weren’t worried about incest, to quote the dear man. He got that and six chairs for the grand sum of $100 – a bargain even 44 years ago. It was indestructible! Homework, painting projects, and many, many dollhouses first saw the light of day on that table. We even had to reattach the legs mid-party when they decided to past company with the rest of us!
In many part of the States, there are digests called FreeCycle. If you have something you don’t want or need, you post it as an OFFER, and if you are looking for something, you can post a WANTED. The best thing on the Internet, if you ask me!
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We have a local website like that as well! There are many great finds if one is willing to look a bit.