Does anyone else out there love to pick through the piles!? It’s a treasure hunt of grand proportion to scan heaps of castoffs and see what potential lies there unnoticed by the naked eye. Only a true beholder of beauty could see the recycle bin and think “That’s just what I’ve been looking for!” Only the slightly crazed will rummage through the leftover junk of an estate sale or the side of the road bulk pick-up and become so inspired with projects that all plans are forgotten and the kids are forced to fend for themselves for the next few meals.
However, I do understand those of you who see the results of such creativity and WANT to be so inspired. I hear you telling me you WISH you could find a diamond in the rough. I get it. I too, have felt the green eyed monster of jealousy when I see a glorious shabby chic garden gate hung on the wall as vintage art and realize it cost only the price of the nail it hangs on. I’ve been there.
Here’s my greatest lesson in this area: Imperfection is the the key to rescuing beauty! I used to see wonky furniture or broken-glassed window panes, items with cracks and holes and stains and think all was lost… until I looked closer through the green eyed monster to see that other’s “treasures” were also imperfect. They were just EMBRACED ANYWAY.
** Life application time ❤ How true this is about myself! I love imagining God who sees my chips, cracks and splotches and embraces me anyway. He designed each of us as we are ON PURPOSE- no mistakes! And He loves the PROCESS of our growth and redemption. Just as a broken gate can be celebrated and elevated as beauty, so can we. Life is a process of becoming more like Jesus and perfection is not the expectation. **
Soooooo my fave trash to rescue on a regular basis?? Here’s a little list that can make a big impact on your home decor. Take it with you the next time you stop at a yard sale or run into the thrift store and I KNOW you’ll find some gems:
- Small ceramics – seasonal animals, funky shaped vases, churches or small house shapes. These little things can be sprayed with $4/can high gloss paint and set in groupings or placed on a mantle. You won’t be disappointed.
- Anything Wood – Shelves, boards, bowls, spoons, big ol’ baskets… all of these things are easily transformed by a smear of this fabulous spoon butter or with a quick coat of paint and some rough sanding for a shabby chic look.
- Picture Frames – Ok, we’re talking seriously cheap art here: a collection of 8×10 frames (usually $1.99-3.99 each) -with all different scrollwork or lines but painted one uniform color- can make an incredible collage. If the glass is broken, staple some inexpensive chicken wire on the back. Then you can easily change out kid’s artwork or free printables to fill the frames with inspiring quotes, graphics or sweet designs!
- Furniture with unique lines/legs – This is a bigger project if you’re feeling ambitious. Any fully functional piece of furniture can be stained or painted or even just sanded to feel like new. I upholstered the funky footstool below with scrap fabric and sanded the rust off the legs to paint them grey. I love mismatched chairs, dressers with new hardware or bookshelves in fun colors. You could remove a scratched laminate top from any 70’s kitchen table and replace it with palette wood for outside dining. Your imagination sets the limit in this arena!
So what if we made treasure hunting even more accessible for the average person by repurposing your recyclables? Here’s my top 3 *quite literal* trash turned treasures:
- Glass – dressing bottles, spaghetti jars, uniquely shaped yogurt containers (sometimes it’s even worth forgoing a 10¢ refund because of a fun embossed logo, label or colored glass!) I love to use them for flowers & branches around the house or gifting bouquets to neighbors. You can buy soy wax pretty inexpensively and fill your jars with it, add a few drops of essential oil, then melt it all in a double boiler for fresh, clean burning candles. I have rolled several clear bottles with paint on the inside to add a splash of color on a bookshelf and I’ve even been known to set a variety of glass containers in it’s own vignette.
- Lidded plastic containers – It’s the perfect thing for sharing my love of food! My fabulous and thrifty mother in law is always sending home leftovers in an ice cream bucket or butter tub. Why not gift our loved ones with dinner or just cookies more often!? I love to use washi tape or a swipe of chalk paint to label a cottage cheese container and make it pretty.
- Tin – Well, I started with tea tins and have digressed to tin cans, including everything in between! I love the look of gritty old metal especially when mixed with wood. My favorite use for tin is plants. Pots are nice but often pricey and almost always breakable, so if I could plant everything in old farm buckets, I would! A nice compromise is the varying shapes and sizes of recycled tin cans (with a few holes poked in the bottom for drainage).
I’m hoping you feel inspired. I’d be the happiest person in the world if you would all send me a quick selfie of your (upside down) self in the recycle bin finding treasures you didn’t even know you had! What are you going to pull out first? What’s your best trash-turned treasure!?