Ryan and I have been working on redecorating our house, mostly with things we already own, a few flea market purchases, fabric and paint. We are on a looooooooow budget, so that has largely affected how we spend our money. The other thing that affects our purchases is the fact that we realized that we don’t like new stuff.


New things I hate


Exhibit A:

Our living room

Our living room

This is my couch. Now, it isn’t new anymore, but I purchased it new after I moved into my first apartment in 2002. Almost immediately I hated it. The cushions slide out constantly, exposing tan fabric on the back of the cushion, and every little fuzzy shows up terribly on the black fabric. You can imagine how my hatred has multiplied over the last seven years with the couch. Pushing the cushions in fifty times a day and doing my best to ignore every cracker crumb, baby booger, and speck of dust on the fabric has filled me with…well, I was going to say rage but it has really become more of a dull hatred over the years.


Exhibit B:


This is our kitchen table. Pretty isn’t it? Look closer.



Yes, that’s right. The finish on the wood is peeling off like a mo-fo. Haaaaaaate. We bought this on a (stupid) whim less than a year ago. I don’t even want to know what it’s going to look like in five years. Probably like a pile of ashes when I torch it in a fury in the backyard.


Exhibit C:

Okay, so we didn’t actually pick this item out. The stove was new when we bought this house, and it has one of those smooth glass tops. At first my eyes were glazed over by the shiny pretty of it. That lasted all of about one hour.

Now, while it’s super easy to wipe crumbs and grease off with a wet rag, it doesn’t get that nice shiny finish on it again until you polish it with special cleaner and (gasp!) a paper towel. You can imagine, especially since I told you yesterday that we haven’t bought paper towels in a year, that it doesn’t look shiny pretty very often. Oh, and I can’t use my favorite copper bottom cookware (because they have a slightly rounded bottom), cast iron (because it will scratch) or can my garden produce (because the canner is too heavy and could break the burner under the glass). Now, if you can’t can, what can you do? Lame joke aside, seriously. Come on, Stove Making People. Can you imagine going back in time and telling a housewife fifty years ago that she couldn’t can on her stove? My, how things have changed.


Old things I love


Exhibit A:


My copper bottom cookware. Now, it may get me in trouble to call these old. (Sorry Mom!) I’m going to play it safe and say that they are not old-old, but youngish. Sort of. My mom and dad got these when they got married…er, awhile back. Then Mom gave them to me when I got my first apartment. They are the best pots ever. Nothing sticks to these babies, and they clean up like a dream. Even though I can’t use the pots on my current stove, I’m saving them in case we ever have a good stove again. (Thankfully I can still use the big skillet, it’s my favorite!) I have no idea what brand they are, because the engraving on the bottom has been worn away by…uhh, what was surely some small amount of years of use. They need a good ketchup polishing to shine the copper back up, though.


Exhibit B:


 Ryan and I bought this dresser at a used furniture store here in town. I don’t know how old it is, but it’s pretty. And probably old. For sure older than the cookware. 😉


Exhibit C:


I rescued these octagonal tables from my uncle’s dusty old storage silo on his farm several years ago. They were pretty tired looking, and someone had apparently begun to sand off the finish but was daunted by all the detail work and gave up. Ryan and I gave them a new coat of paint recently and now they look spiffy and pretty. They have been some of my favorite pieces of furniture for years, even back when they were worn and dull looking. They are sturdy enough to sit on (Or stand on, launch yourself into the air, and scream something about flying. Just ask Wesley.) and they also have really great detail work that you just don’t see on modern furniture.


Of course, the best thing about old stuff is that you don’t have to stress about putting that first scratch, dent, or tear on it. Someone else has already done the honors. And of course, although it goes without saying, I’ll say it anyway. Buying used is always better for the environment than buying new.


And it really is true. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.