Hello and welcome!

This blog is an extension of The Home Maker's Corner. Regarding use of content: please see "the fine print" at the bottom of this page.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Shop Your Own Stuff – Another Perspective On Repurposing, Recycling and Saving Money

[Please see more links for this series below the article.]

This series is a off-shoot of the Laying Aside Weights series that I’m running this year.  The last post in that series was a little heavy, so I wanted to do something lighter this week. :-)

In an effort to rethink and reorganize some things, I “stumbled” across this idea and it inspired me.  I hope you like it as well.

My husband and I have a garage full of stuff.  Some of it belongs to us. Some of it belongs to my brother and sister-in-law who live next door.  Much of it belongs to my parents who downsized a few years ago and also live next door to us.  Some of it belonged to my grandparents who are now with the Lord.  And, amazingly enough, even my brother in Australia has stuff stored in our garage.  Yeah, I know.  What?  [That last one is a long story, which partly involved his marrying an Aussie and leaving the U.S. on relatively short notice, presumably to be followed later by his stuff.  But, life plays funny tricks on us all sometimes and the stuff is still here, though he’s long since settled over there. :-) And, yes, I do have a plan in mind for working on this, at least to some degree.]

Anyway, you get the picture.  We have a lot of stuff out there.  Some of it is obviously not up for grabs, but between our stuff and my parents’ “leftovers” and my grandparents’ “left-behinds” there is quite a lot of potential.  My local sister-in-law has observed that digging through stuff out there is like opening gifts, and I think she has mentioned that it’s like going shopping.  It’s true too.

Awhile back I saw a blog post somewhere in cyber space, in which the author suggested the concept of “shopping our own stuff”.  She wanted a better furniture arrangement for their bedroom, and in looking around her own home realized she had a perfect solution in a dresser that her son was leaving behind when he left for college.  With a little TLC it suited her purpose exactly and cost her little to nothing, whereas a new or even used dresser would have meant spending money.

As you may know, I like to repurpose and recycle things (in the old sense of recycle, not the modern “save the earth” fad).  I also like “cheap” solutions – sometimes to my husband’s pleasure and sometimes to his chagrin.  Ahem.  Consequently, this lady’s experience and the memory of my sister-in-law’s comments have inspired me to not only continue something I was already doing, but to challenge myself to see what we already have that I could “make do” in place of buying something – to “shop our own stuff”. :-)  I admit, I have room to improve; however, I have found it not only to be a money saver, but also entertaining and challenging to my thinking. 

And, somehow I also feel that it’s in keeping with 1 Corinthians 7:31,  And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.  Sometimes I think we Christians abuse our abilities in this world by running after things in the same fashion that this world tends to do, rather than working within the means God has given us in the things we already have at hand.

I’ve been working on a corner of our living room in particular and have made a little progress that I’m happy about.  I intend to share that with you at some point (when it’s more finished), but for today I want to pass on some other ideas which may help you get interested in this too. 

First off, this is something that I hope to do in our dining room.  We have an eclectic mix of blue and white dinnerware, and since I have some quite pretty blue and white collector plates, I was thinking that, whenever I can lay my hands on them again (yeah, they’re lost in the garage, I mean “store”), I’d like to use them like this - Plates as wall art.  I also have two or three plates that would look quite pretty in the bedroom.  Yes, why not think a little outside the box while we’re at it? :-)  I found plate hangers at Amazon.com and they weren’t too expensive, but if I can find what I want at a better price locally I’ll probably go that route.

Do you have a fireplace that you don’t use?  This is a simple way to make it look more attractive, and if you’re a candle person, you probably have what you need already.  Kids a safety issue?  Scrounge up an old fire screen to put in front of it if you don’t already have one.  Give it a coat of paint if it looks bad.  It doesn’t need to be heat proof for this, so painting it is OK.  (Btw – Double your light effect by putting an unused mirror behind the candles.)

My dad made my mom a large sewing table once by attaching a large closet door to the back of a long dresser.  It was great for cutting out patterns and spreading sewing projects out!  Here is a desk made from a closet door.

I like this idea as well: Turning CD cases into picture frames for wall art.  I will have to see if I can free up some our nicer jewel cases as this would also make nice flat wall art for those areas that are just a bit crowded – like our tiny second bathroom.  You could also use this to display your kids’ art, and it would be easy to swap it out from time to time. Use magnet strips on the back to make it into fridge art. :-) This also would be an interesting way to display pressed flowers and leaves glued to plain parchment or paper.  And, you could switch out your art based on the seasons.  (If you’re into seasonal décor, that is.  I have a dresser  – posing as a buffet  – where I put seasonal displays.)

Here is a dresser impersonating a buffet in our dining room.
This was a “leftover” from my parents. :-)

I’m sure you have possibilities among your own stuff that you could repurpose or reuse in some way.  If nothing else, when the urge to change your décor comes up, think about rearranging what you already have rather than going out and buying new things.  It’s amazing how something that is “tired” in one spot will look better when swapped out with something in another part of the house.

More in this series:

Shop Your Own Stuff – Storage and Organizing Potential

Shop Your Own Stuff – Bringing the Outside In

Shop Your Own Stuff – Shop Your Own Photos

Shop Your Own Stuff – The Corner of the Living Room


  1. Those are some great ideas! Lord willing, when we move to our new location, I hope to make better use of the things I have... Maybe put some of these ideas into use, too! :)

    As for the door becoming a table idea, my brother-in-law used multiple old doors to make a massive 12-seater dining table for them to use; old wooden doors (as opposed to the modern horrible cheap cardboard doors) can be very useful!

    1. That is a great idea about using the doors to make a dining room table - a good money saving option as large dining room table are so expensive!

      I hope you enjoy putting those ideas to work for you too. :-) I'll look forward to seeing what you come up with.