Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Born Again

My sister-in-law and I have a unique relationship. While she thinks I'm borderline hoarder for sticking around until the end of an auction to scout through the "free treasure" pile, I think she's emotionless because she didn't hold on to the old garden hose mangled and knotted in her basement. It wasn't her hose; it belonged to the elderly couple that lived there previously. But I like to think it had a story to tell. 

Betsy does take full advantage of my inability to throw away anything that I think may 1) be able to be re-purposed or 2)  have a story to tell. She always makes it a point to tell me the days she is cleaning out the garage. Not because I'm handy with a broom, but because she knows I'll pick through everything she is tossing - and can I just say, she tosses a lot! I'd like to thank Betsy for the box of 200 wire hangers that I have yet to use. And also for the vintage lamp that could be considered a fire hazard in 48 states. And also for the three bags of mismatched cool whip and sour cream containers. And mostly for the lack of space in my own garage. 

Today I wanted to share some of the things that I have found a new use for. There is something satisfying in fully furnishing a home while spending very little money. But perhaps more fulfilling for me is knowing the story-telling "junk" (Betsy's words, not mine) I collect can be saved and born again.

Old barn siding and Ball jars - make for a great country chandelier over the dining room table. 

Candlesticks and jelly jars make unique wine glasses. 

Outgrown cowboy boots, with a pint jar inside, make for a unique way to store utensils. 

An old metal rake with a broken handle can be repurposed to hang bags, purses or belts. 

Don't toss the old silverware once you get new. Hammer down flat and imprint to serve as "markers" when providing an array of food. 

Old hardware shelves can be used to showcase, or store, family china.

An old metal milk pail used to hold reading material.

A historic window serves as a multi-photo frame.

A vintage tray and magnets serve as a unique memo board. 

An old shutter provides lots of vertical space for a bulletin board. 

I wanted to create the feeling of a fireplace in my bedroom. This old mantle had rested on the front porch of a rural Wayne County home for days before I had the courage to knock the door and ask if they were going to use it, or burn it. Turns out, this was on the burn pile, along with several windows. I have salvaged them all - Shocking, I know.

Centerpieces for our annual bred heifer production sale: feed scoop candles and ball jars with vegetable oil to showcase our reference sires.

Rather than buy a poster frame, an old door can be used to showcase your favorite print. 

Dad's old shirts that he (thankfully) has forgotten he owned in 1990. 
Paired with a belt and boots.

Ladder for heels.

Candle holders organize some of my favorite, easily tangled, earrings. 
Old boots keep my keepsake buckles safe.

Rusty birdcage, redone to add color to my front porch. 

I've began to make a conscience effort to clean out and toss things in my basement and garage every fall and spring. While some things are easy to let go of (the box of Gatorade labels from my entire 8th grade basketball season - I hated both 8th grade and basketball),  there are those vintage pieces that I just know I can re-purpose at some point down the road. 

That being said, if anyone knows a creative use for a christmas tree stand with no branches, please contact me directly. 


  1. From one Picker Sister to another. You make me proud!

  2. Love all of these ideas. My personal favorite is the Ball jar chandelier. I am definitely going to show this to the husband. I collect ball jars and we are hoping to remodel our kitchen in a few years. My decor emphasis is going to be ball jars. This would be perfect!!!! Thanks for sharing and keep up the "pickin".

  3. Watch Picker could so be on that show! Except they are selling their items for hundreds of dollars!

  4. How on EARTH did I miss this post? I swear, you're my long lost daughter.