Saturday, April 02, 2011

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

I've been trying to minimize the 'stuff' I own, while at the same time trying to define my sense of style and find something that works for me.

I look around my apartment and it screams "student!" and I haven't been a student for 3 years, and I had quite a few years where I wasn't a student at all. I'm 27 and want to love the place I'm in, and right now I don't.

Recently I joined a group on Facebook called "Recycling Kindness". This group is for Hamilton residents and is a place for you to give your stuff away - for free. There are a few ground rules - kindness defines actions, so don't stand up the people who are waiting for you, follow through on your commitments, be kind and you are never to ask for money for anything you give. It's similar to the website Freecycle, a website I couldn't utilize because I didn't have a Yahoo! account, and I didn't feel like setting up yet another email account, just to give stuff away. So I've been storing stuff away, or passing it on as I saw a need. Then, my friend Bre added me to this group and at first I thought "ugh, not another invitation!", but after checking it out, I was hooked.

So far I've been able to give away movies, cds, jewellery - and just today (which prompted this post) - my couch and armchair.

I'm not posting to get credit, I'm just so excited to be able to share with others.

This is how it happened...

Sanctuary girls and I went out for breakfast and on the way home we stopped at GBF, a thrift shop in Grimsby. I had been saying to Laurie that I wanted to see if I could find a couch slip cover, because I really didn't like the look of my couch (and arm chair) and really wanted to make my apartment look a little more like mine, and a little less of a yard sale collection site (it's not that bad, I hope). I didn't find a slip cover, but I did find the cutest new dish set for $5 (everything in my house, except my coffee table which Charles had flown here from BC, has been donated by some very generous friends - including dishes).

I want to pause here to say I'm VERY grateful for my friends generosity, but there comes a time when you want to stop relying on others generosity (and hand-me-downs), and start to grow up.

When I came home, I logged on to Facebook and a woman had just posted that her mother was looking for a matching couch and loveseat - I asked if a matching couch and armchair would do and promptly sent over photos. Within the hour, her husband and brother-in-law were taking away my couch, armchair and a couple DVDs I had promised her sister. Awesome.

Now I look at my (still nowhere near empty) living room and am beginning to see it as more of a clean slate. I'm excited!

I still don't know what my style is...I'm working on that. I think I like dark browns and a slightly modern, but still livable, look.

I have no need to rush out and by furniture - although I may invest in some comfy pillows for lounging on.

In the meantime, I have an oversized mirror (that used to sit atop a dresser), an extra dining table set (that *may* be spoken for...pending), dishes, linens and clothes. If you're in need, please let me know - I can probably hook you up with some stuff. Although, I do understand if you'd rather not just have another person's hand-me-downs.

But never be too proud to accept others generosity.

Some people are too concerned about others perceptions. If you're in your 20's, it's OKAY to not have everything your parents have - they're 20-30 years older than you and have worked for it. One of my biggest frustrations is with people that expect everything, for nothing. Life isn't perfect and anything worth having, is worth the work to get it. I don't expect to have a beautifully furnished apartment, not at 27, but I can work towards it. If the way I get there is by clipping coupons, shopping at thrift stores and joining groups like Recycling Kindness and having clothing swaps with my friends - all the better.


  1. Love your thoughts, Niki! I like the idea of giving stuff away too... we garner so much stuff in life and so much of it isn't necessary...and i totally get what you mean about wanting to feel a little more "grown-up". My first couch was a lot of fun to buy! Enjoy the hunt!

  2. if you were looking for new things to replace your furniture go and take a look at liquidation world! very nice stuff for affordable pricing :) it's located in the city centre

  3. dearest niki,
    thanks for the fb message. we should speak soon.
    also, practically my enitre house is used. well. save the wedding gifts, but in terms of furniture, the only thing new is a dining set (which was a gift as well). our bedroom set is kijiji, our living room furniture are college hand-me-downs, our shelving units are hand-made, etc. etc. etc. and you know what? i'm so very proud of that. someday, sure, i'd love to have new things that i've picked out myself (except the bedroom set. i love that.) but for now, i'm perfectly thrilled to have all the things i need and to not have had to guiltily "justify" expensive purchases, you know? good post, my friend.
    and congrats on paying off your car!
    much love to you, lady!

  4. Amanda-for sure, I totally get that it doesn't need to be expensive. But you have to like it. The thing is, I don't like much of what I had-a lot of it was actually found at the end of someone's driveway and it was a quick fix and not meant for a long-term solution.

    I also don't have quite the same artistic eye to find good pieces...but I'm working on it.

    I'm game to find stuff on Kijiji or Freecycle, or any number of places - in fact I have friends that furnished their whole apartment that way and they actually got a matching set - kitchen, dining room and living room-they just knew what pieces to look for. Incredible.

    One day... :)

  5. Wow - you & I can be kindred spirits!! :) And even though we've been married for 24+ years, we still have a lot of new-to-us stuff around here. Life is too short to stress about "stuff" and paying for "stuff". Although I don't like having a hodgepodge look, neither do I like those big bills that come in the mailbox if you spend money that you don't have! ;) I'll have to check out Recycling Kindness on FB! I have Kijjijed a lot of stuff - and bought stuff there too.
    PS Are you sick of my comments yet?? They'll slow down, I promise! :)