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5 Tips for Decorating with Salvaged Items and Other Junk

Posted by barbara on Feb 19, 2015 1:17:51 PM

By Guest Blogger: Helen Edwards from Recycled Interiors

There is something fabulous about thrift shopping, second hand and junk! I have great memories of being a child and having my parents take me to second hand stores, garage sales and thrift shops, especially when we were travelling- the would even come home from the dump sometimes with more than they took! They would give me a small amount to spend and I could select what I loved. I often chose small china animals and anything green glass. I still have some of those pieces today. I remember the shiver of excitement as we would stop by a shop or garage sale on our way somewhere. They were never afraid to pick something up off the side of the road, or to repurpose something.

That sense of the unknown, the treasure hunt and adventure has stayed with me to this day and these activities are still very much part of our family holidays. When we are at our beach shack with my parents, the first item on the agenda when we arrive is to get the country paper and check out all the weekend garage sales, and pop by the local charity shops!

My thrifty finds come from a range of places including second hand stores, charity shops, garage sales, vintage stores, salvage and junk yards, online and roadside! The idea of shopping thrifty is now accepted as a positive and even desirable thing to do and many more people are including some thrifted, upcycled and junked items in their homes and their wardrobes.

Here are five tips for you if you are considering including thrifted and salvaged items in your decorating

1) It will save you some cash

You will save some cash, and you can also make some by selling your own unwanted items. Thrift stores are more and more popular and prices are usually well below that of the new stores. Garage sales are a great way to get rid of your unwanted items and to find thrifty bargains, as well as making some cash yourself. Make friends with your local salvage or junk yard and ask them about the items they are getting in regularly, as stock often changes quickly.

2) Look for designer pieces and well made items

Buying once and buying well is a great approach in interiors and fashion is very important, and even more so, buying ethically and know your sources. However it is hard with all the costs in life to save the cash to buy designer pieces all the time. By thrift shopping you can find beautiful pieces of furniture, art, clothing and collectibles which you may never otherwise have been able to afford.

3) Look for things to upcycle and bring back to life

Thrift stores and junk yards are the forests of the upcycling world, full of an endless supply of things! Look for old glasses to upcycle into candle jars or centrepieces for your table, trays to turn into chalkboards or paint with Chalk Paint for your coffee table display, vintage fabrics and tea towels to turn into cushion covers, daggy ornaments can become masterpieces with a paint job, furniture, old timbers, doors, windows and fixtures and fittings.

Look for solid timber and beautiful lines in furniture. Don’t worry if it looks shabby or has marks and scratches. You can create a beautiful piece as long as it has good bones. Fabric can be re upholstered and timber can be painted, stained and stripped back. Consider items not as they are now, but as how they may become. Think outside the square .

4) Don’t become a hoarder.

We are all more and more aware of our growing excess of stuff and the problems of how to dispose of it all. Buying things that already exist and would have been tossed out means you are prolonging their life. Even better, in the true sense of upcycling, consider what you will do with the item once you no longer have a need for it, so you also don’t end up sending it to landfill.

There is evidence however, that many items picked up off the roadside end up back on the roadside at your house. Think about whether you really need the item and what you will do with it. If you are not sure at the moment, maybe it will become part of a project later which is fine, or maybe it is better left where it is.

The same goes with garage sales and op shops. Going to these because you have something you are looking for is great. Going to have a look around and see is also great, but if you are bringing home a dozen items each week, you may become overwhelmed with clutter and need to reconsider your thrifty gathering!

5) You are supporting good causes in most cases and you can feel good

There is definitely a feel good factor in shopping thrifty. Many thrift shops are run by churches, community groups and charities and much of their funds raised through your purchase goes back to support their cause. Garage sales create a community economy and give us all a chance to move things on instead of holding on to it, or tossing it away.

Read more from Helen at www.recycledinteriors.org/

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