At a time when the trend is to downsize, simplify and be minimal it’s sometimes hard to take in more items. Yet everyone, everywhere wants to keep giving us stuff, probably because they are trying to downsize, simplify and be minimal! So, what should we do when we are ask to save Grandmas used furniture from a Virginia landfill?

vintage photo of grandparents
I remember visiting my grandmas house back in West Virginia almost daily as a little girl.  I loved looking in her little corner china cabinet, her Hoosier Cabinet in the kitchen, her sideboard with the drawer stuffed with a million little things she called her “junk drawer” but I thought was a treasure chest! I would spend so much time rummaging through that drawer looking at all the little things and asking if I could have this or that. What I wouldn’t give to have that old used furniture today! If only I knew then what I know now.

junk drawer


The question is, can we find a way to make Grandmas used furniture fit into our lifestyle and not look like an out of place relic from the past? The answer, thankfully, is yes. And it’s not a herculean task. It just takes a little creativity and imagination.
First, if you have inherited a house full of stuff, ask for some help from friends and family. You don’t want to take on that task all alone. Go through the big pieces and furniture first. If you start with the little things you will get bogged down quickly. Donate to friends and family and then to your favorite charity whatever you don’t plan to keep. Most thrift stores will send a truck to pick up the large furniture. Or you can have a huge yard sale and bring in a few extra bucks, but this is a lot of work, so be prepared.
When you are looking at the furniture, ask yourself if you have a place for it. If you already have a china cabinet that you adore then Grandmas needs to find a new home. If you think you do have a place for it and want it, the next step is to decide how to make it “fit” with your other furniture so it doesn’t look out of place.
Think about what your style is, what are your colors? Then go to my favorite go to place for ideas, Pinterest! Just put in the search “Green refinished shabby chic sideboard” You will get tons of ideas on how to turn yours into something you will love for a lifetime!

shabby chic green dresser in green room

Next, just do a little research on how to refinish furniture, take a weekend and practice. Do a few pieces to get your technique down. Try different colors and finishes. The options are endless so try several before you start on the main piece of furniture.
There is so much of a sense of pride when you refinish a piece and it looks fabulous. But make no mistake, it is a LOT of work. I have picked up more than a few pieces from people who thought is was as easy as painting a wall in their house but gave up after they saw they couldn’t or didn’t want to go through all the necessary steps to ensure a perfect finish. So, if you have no time or desire to strip, sand and sweat all day, that’s ok too. Just hop online and find a professional furniture refinisher in your area. There are plenty of us around who do custom work. It’s the easiest way to do it and you can rest assured it will be done correctly and last for years and years.
Furniture made a hundred years ago will still outlast anything you buy today. I have sold pieces from the 1800’s that are just as solid as the day they were built. (Like this beautiful dry sink) So why spend money on junk you will need to replace in 4 or 5 years? Take Grandmas used furniture home and make it your own. Along with having a real conversation piece in your home you will also have something to pass on to your kids or grandkids too.

antique dry sink painted white