One man’s trash is another’s treasure: Making the old new again

Why not be the hero, and save that dusty old lamp or aging armoire from a life of loneliness? Bring new purpose to that bedside table. Give that cute, but rusty toaster the TLC it needs, saving it from a tragic trip to the dumpster.

They’re left by the curb, sold at yard and garage sales, scattered all across second-hand shops and posted on classifieds sites like Kijiji. That’s the unfortunate reality of unwanted furniture left to fend for itself and find a new place to call home. When people get something shiny and new, the old is quickly forgotten.

Why not be the hero, and save that dusty old lamp or aging armoire from a life of loneliness? Bring new purpose to that bedside table. Give that cute, but rusty toaster the TLC it needs, saving it from a tragic trip to the dumpster.

Old, unwanted furniture can be great finds. They’re usually free or easy on the wallet. Many furniture pieces are antique or vintage, and may be very stylish under the scuffs and dirt. Here’s how to bring that old item back to life and make it your own.

Get rid of the smell
Sprinkle a mixture of baking soda and lavender oil that’s been blended together with a non-medal spoon (essential oils can react to metal) with a strainer over the items to get ride of odours. Let it sit for an hour or up to a day, depending on how strong the smell is. Break out the vacuum.

Give it a thorough clean
Use a solution of ¼ cup of white vinegar with ½ a cup of water to clean an item. Use a soft cloth. Don’t worry about the smell sticking. Once it dries, the smell should go away. White vinegar kills 99 per cent of bacteria, 82 per cent of moulds and more than 80 per cent of viruses.

Stain removers
Use a mixture of baking soda and club soda to get rid of stains. Put three tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of club soda in a bowl and mix until it’s a paste. Use a cloth to rub it into the stain. You can use the same cloth, dampening it with warm water and wiping the cleaner off the stain. Break out the vacuum for excess bits that may be left behind. If the stain looks like a red wine spill, use a dab of shaving cream to get it out.

Rusted or scratched up metal items
Use a few tablespoons of cream of tartar mixed with hot water and clean any aluminum pan, toaster or metal item.

Brighten it up
An outdated night stand, chest of drawers or bed frame can change dramatically by putting a fresh coat of paint on it and changing up its hardware. Drawer handles are an easy and inexpensive fix that can change the entire feel of a piece. If you are painting over chipped paint, be sure to sand the item (and wipe off the dust) before putting on another coat of paint. If the furniture is wood and unpainted, you may get a more handsome piece by bringing out the natural beauty of the wood than by painting over it.

Found a Fabulous Teak Set? Here’s how to Make it Look It’s Best

Bring Out the Natural Beauty
Old wood furniture can be brought to life by using a gentle cleaner like a water and dishwashing liquid. Make sure to follow the grain of the wood. When it’s all clean, wait for it to dry and then finish it up with a wax or oil that can be picked up at a home hardware store. If you have retro teak furniture that needs fixing up, get some teak oil and ultra fine steel wool, and rub the oil in with the wool in the direction of the grain to fade scratches, discolouration, and watermarks and get that wood gleaming again.

Do you have any special tricks up your sleeve to fix up an old piece of furniture or home appliance? Let us know in the comments!

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