Making the most of what you have

“Somebody might need that someday.”

That’s a phrase I came to dread as a kid. It was my dad’s philosophy on life. He was a child of the Depression and the oldest of seven boys growing up in Jackson County, Ohio, so he was well acquainted with making every little thing count.

The fact that he lived according to that creed had a big impact on me as a person. While I have struggled to manage his collection of stuff, I believe I have made good decisions along the way – partly because being raised by someone who could see the value in any old thing made me look at items more carefully than many people would before tossing them out.

Last week, I took a few vacation days and spent some time at home sorting through stuff and cleaning out some space. On a whim I took photos of several old pieces of furniture. I sent those photos to Kim Shutway, who owns a business called Furniture Rescue in Flushing.

To my surprise, she was interested in three of those pieces – two chests of drawers and a bookcase. All three pieces were complete, but they were in various states of disrepair. The bookcase had major flaws, while the paint on one chest of drawers was in bad shape. The other chest had been stripped and stained and was quite usable, but it and the other pieces were in my way.

On Saturday my husband, Mike, and I loaded up the three items and delivered them to Shutway’s store on High Street. Not only did she pay me a price I considered more than fair, but she also let us wander around her shop looking at items she already had restored.

That walk through the store left me feeling very positive about the future of the pieces I had just dropped off. She is really quite talented!

From buffets painted in vibrant colors to more traditional looking tables, chairs and dressers that are decorated with transfers, the pieces she had for sale were all attractive and appealing to the eye. They also reflect her creative personality, with a different twist applied to many of them.

I imagine I will visit her shop again when I am ready to add pieces to my properties rather than removing the ones that are still there. And I really look forward to seeing what she does with the ones she bought from me. If you’re in the market for a unique or interesting piece of furniture, you should pay her a visit or look her business up on Facebook.

For me, that little trip was a reminder that “somebody might need that someday.” It was rather inspiring to see how something that someone else may have considered useless could be revived and repurposed for a whole new life with a new owner.

I hope I can draw on that inspiration to perhaps save a few things that other people might throw away. After all, our home was built around 1900, so using antique signs, containers and furniture in it makes a lot of sense.

One project I plan to try is repainting a couple of old dressers for use on porches. I placed one on my front porch several months ago, thinking it was a temporary spot just to get it out of my way. I figured I would sell it for a few dollars or would end up disposing of it.

Soon, though, I found myself storing tools for gardening inside the drawers. My work gloves found their way into it as well, along with some old bed sheets I used to cove plants to protect them from frost. Now, it’s become a sort of gardening station that is conveniently located right outside.

On top of the fact that I found a use for that piece, I’ve gotten several compliments on its appearance. People think it’s cute and quirky, and they like it even better when they find out that I actually have a use for it.

So, I think I will freshen it up with a coat of paint that’s made to stand up to the outdoors. Then, I have a second dresser that I may treat in a similar way for use on another porch.

My point with all this is that I think everyone should take a second look at old things before just tossing them aside. We are a very wasteful society, with littering and dumping being huge problems in the local area.

So, while it can be soothing and even necessary to throw things away from time to time, acting rashly could cause you to destroy an item that might have been valuable to you or someone else if you had looked at it with fresh eyes.

As you declutter your home and life, think creatively about things you may no longer want or need. Try to imagine a new purpose for them, and consider whether there is a market for them. Could you sell or donate them instead of sending them to a landfill?

Just remember: “Somebody might need that someday.”


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