Monday, May 13, 2013

A Hoarder's Vindication

We really do need that stuff we're hoarding and here's why.

It began last year with the adventure that was the thrice-picked pile. You can read about that HERE if you're inclined to read about my penchant for going back repeatedly to the scene of previous junk "crimes".

Some drawers came home with me that day to grace our space. There was a variety of loot destined to become much needed parts for future projects... I was sure of it.

A hoarder's vindication was born

The hoard of which I speak was merely in its infancy then. The new wood drawers, cabinets and doors were even still in the house working their way into visions of grandeur.

Such exciting visions last until the cries and groans from the family kick in and a new less appealing phase is born. This usually occurs within the hour. 

"Where can I store all this?"

I silently study the mess that I've wrought, all the while assuring my family (in confident, uplifting tones) that this is true treasure, purposeful and cool, and that it will find its way to places discreet until such a time as its reason for existance is fully realized.

There seem to be differing ideas about what "discreet" means. My definition includes something about not having it in my living area. In order to honor my word, I would have to live on the couch because that's about the only living area without stuff on it.

During the coarse of the year past, some of those drawers I brought home made their way to the semi-garage, and one was out back in this lovely pile behind my house where it got buried with all the other scraps. That drawer front had a little key lock on it and the others had no hardware and no holes at all, just plain wood with a nice edge to them. Their edges were beveled and tiered, making them prime goods for something - some day.

Fast forward to about a month and half ago. This beauty was discovered sticking out from a curbside pile of random garbage, legs up, with only it's casters there to catch my eye as it sent out a signal of distress.

A little worse for wear, but oh, so cute. It stole my heart before I could even yank it out from under the trash heaped upon it. Once home, it was obvious that the lock hinges and the broken wood that had once been part of the table top were incomplete, broken and had to be removed. Too bad. So it promptly sat without a top or a finish; it's soul bare to the elements via it's place up against the windows on my back patio.

Meanwhile, one day recently, while I was in the mood to purge all useful but superfluous items that had not yet fulfilled my visions of grandeur, I began scouring my stash for something I might discard, thereby creating the impression to myself and family that I am cleaning things up and clearing out. Bulky and obnoxious drawers were on my hit list. There were maybe 4 or 5 in a little storage area I have. Of course, I could only force myself to part with two. My purge was lame. A couple of the drawers were moved out to the back patio with the thinking that I could make signs or something of their fronts and finally do something with the boxes left over once the fronts came off. 

Besides, rearranging junk always gives new hope that it might be useful some day.

I tore those drawers apart, laying the fronts atop the little cart thinking they would make a perfect top if only I had one more to serve as a middle piece. I had a piece of the original top to the cart (shown in the middle above), but it's edge was different and it was a bit longer than the other drawer fronts. It just wouldn't work. Disappointment marred the day. So close and yet so far. I thought of all kinds of rigs for the top, but to no avail.

And then it happened. This week I went out back with every intention of starting to paint the cart, thinking I would just compromise and use old fence wood or something else for the top. I stood staring, hoping answers to style dilemmas would come. While lamenting the lack of the final drawer front I needed for the middle, I went to look at what other scraps I might have in the stash around the corner at the back of the house. 

All I did was glance over at the same pile I see daily, and there it was, right where it had been all along (for a year, having been moved around the pile a few times, of course.) Another skinnier drawer that went with the others was lying right in front of me on the top of the pile... hidden in plain view, all because of the lock it had on it. Woo hoo!

This meant my project was no longer stalled! I whooped it up and was back in business. Everything needed to finish the cart was within reach, except color decisions of course. Blue, green and aqua shades were tested on the back side of the newly found wood to see which might work or whether more than one shade would do the trick, perhaps each color on a different piece of the drawer front tops.

In the end, I was not willing to take color chances with my little cart. I was going to get busy and get done pronto. 

Having found a yellow cabinet door in the trash that morning, I was inspired to paint my cart yellow too. Forget my recent raspberry and aqua phases, I was moving on to subtle yellow.

The cart received it's first coat of paint - white over all, so that some of that would show through if it ended up distressed. Plus that way I could see if I was going to fall in love with it in its white stage.

I did not. White felt cold and this little beauty needed a sunny, warm and inviting, and more personable disposition to start its new life. The lock stayed for a while and I considered leaving it for a quirky ode to the nature of it's humble beginnings (and because I couldn't get it off easily.) But it needed to go, and the hole needed to be patched.

That's all there was to it. That and numerous hours of painting, sanding, waxing and then hammering the boards to the top.

Once the paint was on, the perfect knob was a no brainer. It was just waiting in my stash for such a moment to shine. (It's not a bad idea to have a good assortment of cute knobs on hand.)

It stinks to finish a day of work on a piece of furniture only to be missing just the right knob. Who wants to wait to add that final touch of pretty because you have to go hunting for one at the store. This one came from Anthropologie. It makes a great accent with all sorts of pieces.

Vindicated again in regard to knob hoarding!

So the little cart has been lifted from the land of the broken and naked. The black flower design on the knob speaks to the black wheels, and dark nails were used to attach the top pieces.

Now it's a cute little number that looks irresistible carting around all sorts of goodies of many colors and styles.

My Anthropologie jars wanted to meet up with the Anthropologie knob and reminisce about the good old days back at the store.

Milk and Cream heard about the patio photo shoot and came out to see how it would pair with the little cart. Quite well, don't you think?

So I finished the daylight hours sitting and reading and pausing to ponder the scene before me which was the work of my hands, not to mention the work of God's hands in the beauty of his creation in my back yard, all the while listening to the varied birdsongs serenading me as the mosquitos did their treacherous work at my ankles and arms. It was a fine way to end the day, with a finished project and beautiful scenery around me.

One cart down, two barstools to go. I'll show you what I did with these gray curbside barstool finds next.

For the moment, I'm just happy to say I feel vindicated in my hoarding. Let the record show that I DID need those drawers I brought home and stored all year as well as that knob.  If only I could shorten the time the salvaged wood and stuff lies in the junk pile. I'm working on it.

Onward and upward. 
One more project down...and more than I care to admit to go!

Stop by these fun link parties this week and see what's up:

mop it up mondays

Thursday Favorite ThingsFunky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Furniture Feature FridaysFrench Country CottagePhotobucket

Adorned From Above  

Ivy and Elephants


  1. You do amazing work! Why are you not making this your full time job? Picking, rebuilding...rustic chic is so popular right now (as you already know) up a shop!!!!!

  2. I feel like I have finally found the support group I have been looking for! I go through so many of the steps you just outlined: the picking, unloading, stashing until inspiration strikes, and the vindication! It seems that whenever I head out to purge and remove "stuff," I find just the piece I've been searching for to complete a project.

    My family may call me a hoarder, but I will use my last breath to proclaim that I am just prepared for all projects to come!

  3. Liz,
    You really need to start to sell your beautiful creations. I would snap that cart up in a minute!!!! It is adorable. I love it all especially the knob!!
    Start listing this stuff and making some money and room for more stuff!!!!

  4. I really think you should try and sell your things too!! I think you would do very well.


  5. I love a happy ending! And I laughed out loud about your rearranging and the impression part of it. I can SO understand. :) Your cart looks just perfect.

  6. Thank you for making me feel like I'm not the only junk hoarder! My stuff has managed to take over the loft in our barn, an entire large outbuilding and half of the garage. Not to mention a bedroom inside the house overflowing with my stuff. It's good stuff least that's what I keep trying to convince my family!

    I LOVE how your cute cart turned out!!!

  7. I LOVE that cart! I think the color is perfect. I do love white, but that needed a little something :)

  8. I am hoping that little yellow table will roll itself right up here and into my house. I love it to pieces - as in all of its separate parts which you gathered and painted and nailed to create this pretty miss. I imagine she will be a great fit with the turquoise and raspberry items about your house.

  9. Sweet makeover!!! The yellow paint and cute little knob are genius! Who knew those 3 drawers were meant to be a table top?! It pays to hoard. :)

  10. Again... I love your writing style;and I await each installment of your "quirky" story! Never dull.
    The little table has a fine figure and love those wheels! I like that you left them black and didn't paint them. The knob, the drawers, the table all worth hording!
    until next time, when the saga continues, take care!

  11. What a gorgeous upcycle! And my Mom would appreciate this post! She is always saving things for the someday, and I often bug her about how much STUFF she has hoarded. Then, she is vindicated when I ask for some random object and she remarks, "Actually...I have that! It's a good thing I saved it...." Lol. Anyway, thanks for your sweet comment on my blog. You have a lovely space here and do inspiring work. I definitely need to poke around a bit more here!

    The Thinking Closet

  12. Hoarders unite! Our barn is bursting at the seams. But someday...someday! Your little table turned out really cute. Thank you for sharing it at to What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a great week!


  13. I've got one side of the garage cleaned out to fit a car in. That's progress right?

  14. Aaaaaah....a picker/hoarder who understands me! I often come home with junk (ahem, the good kind) and my husband shakes his head at me and wonders aloud what I am going to do with it. You just gotta have vision, right?! I loved reading this post and going back to catch up on how you acquired it all.

    Have a great day!


  15. Use the crib ends at the ends of a wooden bed and have a lala French day bed.

  16. These things take time you know. Your little beauty on wheels was well worth the wait. Love the color! I'm still working on being able to walk on one side of my much in the pile and so little time to pretty it all up.

  17. Totally vindicated! That little cart is just darling!

  18. Liz, you find the best stuff and make it into great stuff! Love, love the color. Also drooling over your little Anthropology bottles. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  19. Love love LOVE it!! I think I'm going to make myself a sign for my garage wall that says "MY PURGE WAS LAME"-haha! Have a great week :)

    Jeanette @ Creating a Life

  20. Hi Liz, What a great transformation and the cart is so cute! Thanks for linking to the Open House party.

  21. Super cute paint job on that table and I love your photography.

  22. it turned out adorable! Love that knob and the wheels!

  23. I've got to do a better job of creating a "stash" ... I am sooo jealous of the knob you had on hand! Beautiful job on the cart. Such a blessing to have an eye for restoration.

  24. I'm visiting from Between Naps on the Porch. I LOVE the color of your little tea cart! I'm trying so hard to resist becoming a hoarder as my other half has a tendency to do that and not sure I want to add to that. I continually try to remember that my kids might have to clean all that out someday! lol That said, I have pieces tucked away and they're beginning to creep! lol LOVED your story and I've become a new follower. (mesquitos love me, too)


Thanks for coming by. I hope you'll say hello and let me know your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you! Unfortunately spammers have been at an all time high, so I will no longer be able to accept anonymous comments.