One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure


Creativity is thriving in a small apartment in Seattle.  Motivation and enthusiasm are overflowing and ‘things’ are beginning to materialize.

With Spring sweeping in, the cobwebs have been swept away leaving the shoots of possibility sprouting in preparation for Summer.

Practicality and creativity has been my savior.  I’m not overly academic, I got good grades at school but not without some serious studying!  The memory that always springs to mind when I say, “I’m not overly academic” is the fear of G-d that was put into me by my math’s teacher.

In England in secondary/high school we take GCSE exams at sixteen (Year 11).  Year 10 we had our mock exams so in Year 9 the hard graft really begins.  I remember sitting in the classroom on the first day of term when our teacher gave her little monologue about our impending exams.  She told us that we could either work really hard over the next two years and pass, or, we could put in some work and not pass.  Subsequently, we’d have to spend the follow one or two years studying to retake it.  I couldn’t think of anything worse!  I wasn’t a big fan of the subject and the fact I struggled with it didn’t help.  So with a deep breath, (and a slightly heavy heart!) I bit the bullet and knuckled down so I wouldn’t have to retake it.  That was probably the best thing she could have said because it completely motivated me and post exam I received a C– it was more than I had expected and I was overjoyed with that grade!

One of the things that I have found with my practical and imaginative addictions is that it completely changes my brain state.  By doing something I love I am relaxed, I am calmly focused, I am content, happy and am under no stress in that moment.  Quite the euphoric state.

These crafts are particularly useful when I am having an influx of absence seizures as communication and doing certain tasks becomes stressful and incredibly trying.

So this past week!  What have I been doing I hear you ask?  Well, I’ve had an absolute blast.  I had the most incredible find in the trash/recycling room.  By chance I discovered a beautiful dark wood little cubby shelf.  It was scratched, unloved and looking a little sad. Had it been in an antique store it would have cost a pretty penny.  As visions of its potential flooded my brain I practically ran back to my apartment with it.  I knew what I had to do: sand it, paint it and distress it – simple as that.


Calling on my mum for the finer details as she is quite the pro when it comes to furniture restoration, I wrote my shopping list and trotted down to Home Depot.  Sandpaper – check, protective mask – check, sponge – check, paintbrush – check, hmmmm now for paint.  I walked up and down the paint aisles a number of times thinking something wasn’t quite right, like, where was the paint?  Was I missing something?  They had pots of paint but they weren’t what I needed and there were no colors.

When I thought back to the stores in England there was row upon row of brands, colors and types of paint. Anyhow, I eventually realized that over here they mix the color for you.  Not being used to that I continue to find it quite a bizarre way to buy paint.  Equipped with all my supplies, all I needed was to find a sunny day to do it.   The sanding happened on the Friday and painting on the Sunday and I am overjoyed with the result of my first restoration project.  Naturally I made a few mistakes but it is with those that the improvement of this skill will happen through practice.


I now have an appetite for more so if you see someone rummaging through recycling bins, if I’m not in antique stores, chances are it will probably be me!



2 thoughts on “One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

  1. If I may:
    I don’t think it’s “wrong” or anyhow reprehensible to purchase new material goods instead of used ones. The increased manufacturing capacity necessary to meet your demand shall eventually devalue and commoditize the goods. (Among other reasons, that’s why Disney releases their films on home video format only once per decade; and also why so many cheaply-made items seem to “break on purpose” after a while; the fewer of these “permanent” material items exist, the more valuable they become, just like any fine art or skilled craft.) So, the acquisition of new manufactured goods – so long as the quality of their manufacture is sufficient to ensure their longevity – does permit more people to acquire the item more cheaply.


    1. Thank you for your comment and I agree with you re: the purchase of new goods. I’m wondering if you have misunderstood my intention though.
      I haven’t insinuated in this or my current post that buying new is “wrong”. This is simply about these projects being a money saver, giving me a creative outlet doing something I love and most importantly it is a great help with my epilepsy. I too buy new but by chance I found and used something which was otherwise going to end up in a landfill if it wasn’t rescued for recycling first.
      This wasn’t intended to be judgmental. The posts are my thoughts, opinions and daily life so this was just part of it.


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