Re-life Cycle

Monday, September 28, 2009

I thought that I should make this entry based on other people’s work. Normally I love having to do very little and take credit for other people’s work, but this time I can’t really take any of the credit. And bravo to all those who had the tenacity to put a little elbow grease into their lives.

There is an old adage in the waste diversion game that goes like this, “Reduce before you reuse; reuse before you recycle; recycle before you trash.” It’s a simple thing to follow and it is structured in a way that saves the most resources. If you can reduce something than you don’t have to reuse it, and so forth and so on.

Now let’s put this whole thing into play. We are working on a furniture recycling program here at the University. Most of the time we are catering to the campus services but every once and a while we have some stuff we are going to throw out and we have some people in need. So why not give it to them?

Well that’s exactly what happened here; some people in need of chairs came and say a few models that had seen better days. But rather than giving up and going for the new glitz and glam, they took it upon themselves to give these chairs a second life. In both cases these chairs only needed a little bit of love and the results are spectacular.

It’s not easy finding someone to take old furniture. It is often stained, scratched, dented, broken, or soiled. But I often say, “If you can just look past the deficiencies and see it for what it is, you’ll be happy.” But I truly believe that having older furniture, even antiques, adds another dimension to your living room. Conversation pieces really. A story is much better when it has some substance to it. I mean who wants to hear a story that starts off with "we knew exactly what we were looking for", and ends with "so we bought it at Ikea".

There is a certain romanticism that comes along with having to put some sweat equity into your furniture collection. Be it a re-upholstering, or a coat of varnish, or even some hand-made throw pillows, the smallest things do make a difference. Even knowing that the furniture had a lineage... it once belonged to my grandmother, or was rescued from a demolition project, or it was given to me on my wedding day. These stories and sense of attachment to something more than the immediate present are valuable.
(Sorry if I sound a little Stuart McLean).


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