My mom went with me on Saturday to pick up a little Craigslist treat for my daughter’s new room…a sweet little pine chest that will be perfect for dress-up clothes, or stuffed animals or hiding her brother’s stuff. It needs minimal fixit work, which my Dad has graciously agreed to help with – a piece of trim is missing and we need to add child safety hinges. Then comes the fun part – I get to dream up what it will become.
Making something out of nothing, or very little, has always been interesting to me. I remember designing a rockin sweatshirt back in like 8th grade, with lace and buttons and fabric and bows and you probably could have hidden a live animal in there somewhere because it had EVERYTHING going on! I was so proud of it. (Proud enough to actually wear it, as the case was…I shudder to think that there is a photo of this creation lurking somewhere in my mom’s piles.) Was it time consuming? yes. Was it fun to do? yes. Was it completely and totally mine? yes.
Reese’s new little trunk may be shabby chic or french country or neon pink or maybe it’ll be whatever hits me at that particular moment on Pinterest. But it will be hers, made by me, with love, and for very little money. It will be useful (storage…hello, lover…) and beautiful (with a little luck) as should most of what’s in our homes. It will not be in the dumpster. And it will be a lesson to her that gifts don’t have to cost a lot. That doing work with your own two hands has value. That a car ride with your mom to the far side of town for a $10 trunk is completely worth it because we laughed half the way there and half the way back. That keeping up the circle of reusing and connecting and not always buying something brand new…matters.
So I will take every opportunity I can to show my kids that I believe in keeping it simple. We don’t need more. We actually need less. We can take our time and be grateful for everything that’s come our way. I don’t know for sure if that makes the world a teeny bit better. But I really hope it does.
Because I do know…the more complicated and rushed and stressed and expensive and over scheduled and nutso your life gets, the harder it is to slow down and take a weekend drive across town for a beat up trunk. I also know what I would have missed if I hadn’t gone. And it’s worth missing.
So, that’s a little bit of why I love taking something old and turning it into something new again.
It’s not a new idea. I’ve just finally realized why it’s stuck around this long. Because it’s a good one.