Joie 6 – Upcycling!

One of my true joys can, I think, be traced back to my childhood experiences with auctions. It’s a running joke in my family that my dad’s hobby was setting up housekeeping for three children via amazing buys at estate sales and auctions. I distinctly remember sitting in the living room of my very first apartment after my family had left (following a MONUMENTAL move-in effort! Everything – and I mean everything – was unpacked, pictures were hung on the walls, and the boxes were neatly broken down and tossed in the dumpster), and just marveling at the fact that I didn’t have a towel-draped milk crate in sight. The furniture was solid wood (not particleboard that had been assembled with an Allen wrench) and the dishes were solid ceramic (not paper). That cozy first apartment was the result of upcycling – which is really just another way of saying “giving things a second shot.”

For instance, I had a coffee table that came from Goodwill for less than five dollars. With lemon oil, elbow grease, and a willingness to try some new things, it was downright charming. The dishes came from some sale or another and the whole set was bought for about the same price.

I’m pretty sure this also explains my love for old movies and vintage clothing styles, which brings me to my main point – thrifting is THE way to go these days! So many magnificent, quality pieces can be found for less than the price of a trip to IKEA. We’re a generation who understands planned obsolescence (look at how quickly tech changes), but we can extend that in some strange directions. Then again, tastes change, as do physical spaces. There’s no need for a “telephone table” anymore (see the top of this post), and most of us don’t need dining rooms. When I browse an antique store (which is really just a fancier secondhand store – don’t be intimidated by the name!), I see so many pieces that just need a little re-thinking.

Be willing to explore Pinterest and YouTube and always remember that a coat of paint can change everything! Maybe that armoire just needs to be painted white. Maybe a faux marble finish would reinvigorate the top of that beat-up walnut dresser.

And – as casual as our clothing styles have gotten during this pandemic, maybe it’s time to consider an actual hat instead of a ball cap. (Or even a sweater with faux fur collar and cuffs!) Plus, everything that you keep out of a landfill is just bound to bring good fortune your way. (Unless it’s a ventriloquist dummy or one of those scary monkeys-with-cymbals. Those things need to be purified with fire. Just saying.)

It’s YOUR style! Pair an upcycled cabinet with your grandmother’s candelabra! On a cold day, throw that fur(ish) cape over your jeans! Wear the glittery colored rhinestone earrings that called to you in the consignment shop to the grocery store!

Seek joy, Divas! And in the seeking, scatter it to those around you.

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