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My answer to making large purchases on a tight budget has been to shop second-hand. This method jives with several of my personal values. I love things with history and distinctive character. I don’t want a wardrobe or home that looks like my friend’s next door. I like that shopping second-hand is a sustainable and responsible choice when it comes to the environment and production labor. And, of course, it’s economical, which is very much my style.
Recently, I came across the coolest set of mid-century dining chairs on Craigslist that I instantly fell in love with. I’ve been on the hunt to replace our old, rickety and terribly uncomfortable dining chairs for ages since eating as a family at the table is becoming more and more of a priority for me and my husband. Having comfortable chairs to sit in seemed like a definite way to encourage that practice. So, all the stars of style, price and comfort level seemed to have aligned when I found this listing.
But then life… ah, life. It pokes it’s pesky little nose in everything! A car repair, medical expenses and overdue home improvements suddenly made my used furniture purchase financially irresponsible. I’ll admit, I sulked a bit. But then I straightened my attitude and was inspired to see things differently.
Maybe our chairs are old and beat up. Maybe they’re uncomfortable to sit in. Perhaps they could be better. But better doesn’t always have to be achieved by throwing out and starting new. Sometimes better simply requires a creative reimagination such as, in our case, seat cushions and a new coat of paint. Or, simpler yet, a new perspective on what was thought to be inadequate to begin with!
Our home’s parts and pieces are the artifacts of our living. They show evidence of the good and the bad, the pleasant and the difficult. Their age and patina are the unavoidable side affects of life. Rather than seeing those things as damages to be replaced, I’m doing my best to appreciate them for the stories that they tell and the history that they represent. It’s not easy. My nature is one to fix, clean and improve especially when it comes to matters of the home. But that’s why I’m sharing this story as a part of my “Other Side of Style” series. Because I struggle with this, I haven’t figured it out and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one experiencing these frustrations either.
So, next time you find yourself dissatisfied with your old possessions, remember this…
Our belongings tell a story and good stories are rarely shiny and new. Also, make time for a creative brainstorming session. You’ll likely find a solution that suites both your taste and your wallet. And if you don’t, a little patience may get you further than you think.