Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How Perfect Is Your House?

This past winter, due the weather and farm issues, I've spent a lot of time at home - I mean a lot.  I've been looking around at the things that own me I own and I see how imperfect they are.  My scatter rugs have the backing coming off;  my bedspread and two of my area rugs have loose threads from the cat using her claws; my walls have various scuff marks on them; my daughter's bedspread has miscellaneous cosmetic stains on it; my car has stains on the floor mats.  So many people I know have seemingly perfect homes, the kind you see in magazines.  Before we moved to rural Virginia, we lived in an extremely affluent area.  People had their houses "done" and redone on a regular basis.  One friend of mine, who is not affluent and has a very  large family, doesn't allow her daughters to sit on their bedspreads because they might ruin them and she can't afford to replace them.  My attitude about my home and possessions has always been they are meant to be used.  The problem is use shows wear and wear isn't acceptable in our society.

And this is  what I don't get - how can people afford to fix or replace everything that shows the slightest signs of wear?  I remember when the shabby chic style was all the rage.  It was funny because it was okay if something was made to look threadbare, it was another if it actually WAS threadbare.  And don't even get me started on the environmental impact of constantly replacing things that aren't quite perfect anymore.  When I was growing up, we didn't have a lot of money.  My father had a regular income but my mother stayed home so we didn't have many luxuries and we had to make what we had last.  Many of our linens were the same ones we had my entire childhood; furniture rarely got replaced and had to be in pretty poor shape to qualify for replacement.

So I'm curious, how perfect is your house?  What makes you decide to replace things?  And when you do, do you consider both the economic and environmental impact?

Photo from


Kristi said...

I'm into the well loved look of items. I love my oak dining room table which just gets better with age in my my opinion. I bought my two young daughters linens with small roses that should last through their teen years.

Cherie said...

Kristi - thanks for sharing. When my children were young and I was first setting up house, I would purposely buy floor room samples from furniture stores because they already had a few dings in them (plus I got a great price!). I also loved shopping in furniture consignment shops - buying things that belonged to people who were redoing their homes. I didn't want pristine furniture as I knew it wouldn't stay that way.

JenHarper said...

My purchasing strategy is this, if I can afford to, I buy the best quality I can and treat it with care to last a really long time. If I can't afford a quality item, I don't buy cheap stuff from a big box store, but seek out used items from sources like craigslist. I got a beautiful solid wood vanity for an insanely low price, just because it was used. I expect it to last the rest of my life. Plus, it is already broken in. If it gets a little scratch or dent, I'm not going to be terribly upset than if I had gotten it brand new. And if I had spent the same amount of money on a cheap particle board vanity, it probably would be broken chipped or scratched and nasty looking in just a few years. A chip in cheap laminate looks awful, a chip or scratch in real wood looks weathered or distressed! Don't forget that, if you buy quality items, you can also repair them much easier. I recently replaced the heels on my favorite shoes after 3 years of wear and I expect they'll last another 10 if not longer. If I'd purchased cheap shoes, I probably would have thrown them out rather than fixing them. We invested in a wool carpet when we had to replace the one in our family room. It is over 5 years old and looks nearly brand new, even though it is our playroom. (Plus it never had a wierd chemical smell.) I don't plan to ever have to redo it. Lots of people I know redo a room and end up doing it all over just a few years later. I prefer the build to last, buy to last philosophy.

Cherie said...

JenHarper - your strategy to buy the best is a good one, one I wish I could say I have always adhered to.