Purposeful Purchases

When most of us go shopping, we usually have something in mind. In my last post (Method to my madness) I noted that I often have a list in my purse to help me remember what it is I’m looking for – because as you know, you may not find it on your first try. Currently, I’m looking to replace my black purse but I haven’t found the perfect one yet at a price I’m willing to pay.

my cheap garden sculpture

But sometimes, when you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, you have to get creative and start looking at things differently. For example, I wanted to put something in my garden that would create visual interest. Gardening magazines are filled with all kinds of ideas, most at exorbitant prices. I ended up “planting” a bicycle that a friend picked up for my son for $2 at a thrift shop. Unfortunately, my son outgrew it before he learned how to ride it and the bike languished in our shed until I came up with this creative use for it. Some people call this “repurposing” – using an item for something other than its intended purpose.

 One of the best repurposed items I recently bought was a computer bag for my niece’s

repurposed computer bag made from a leather jacket and men's dress pants

birthday. The bag is made of from a leather jacket and lined with men’s dress pants, which gives it its interior pockets. The bag wasn’t a thrift purchase, although the materials for it were originally thrifted. I bought it at the MCC Material Resource Centre in Abbotsford (which is where I happen to work) where a talented seamstress named Sara creates all kinds of cool bags and other items out of used, donated clothing.

 My son, Aaron, works at the MCC Furniture and More Shop in Abbotsford. The other day he mentioned that his boss wanted to create a way to ask shoppers what they might do

my handsome son, Aaron, and some of the many entertainment units at the MCC Furniture and More Shop

with an entertainment unit. With so many people now converting to flat screen TVs, traditional entertainment units no longer work – the space for the TV is too small and square shaped. They’re ending up at thrift shops but unless someone comes up with a really great alternate use for them, they may just end up in a landfill. As you can see from this photo, they’ve got quite a few.

 One idea I had would be to convert the TV space into a book/curio shelf. Taller ones might be converted into a computer desk, if you could insert a slide-out work surface. What would you do with an old entertainment unit? Post your ideas here and I’ll pass them on to the MCC Furniture and More manager. And as an incentive, I’ll put all the ideas in a hat and draw one for a gift certificate to your nearest MCC Thrift Shop. Send your ideas in by February 28th!

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10 Responses to Purposeful Purchases

  1. gk says:

    We’ve seen a few entertainment units come into Abby East lately that have shelving put in where the TV is meant to fit. Quite often people are putting the TV on top of the old-style entertainment units, but that sounds like a neck ache just waiting to happen! I’ve always thought that if you found the right E-unit that it would make a great fish tank!

  2. Julia says:

    You could turn one into a china case/hutch. Especially the ones with a glass front. Then you can see your pretty dishes. Who says your dining room needs to have matching pieces! Mine certainly doesn’t.

  3. E F says:

    One could use it to organize toys, books and crafts. The larger opening could be used for larger toys. You could get baskets for smaller toys. I think you get the idea. Or for storing fabric instead of in boxes.

  4. La Vern says:

    Well I would buy an old-style TV and maybe a VCR for fun but I don’t know if that counts as an answer and I really want my name in the hat. We did have one that we used as a storage unit in our basement. It could also be a gaming centre for the kids in the family room or basement – put an old TV or small flat screen in it and use the shelves for the Wii, PS3, Xbox and even Nintendo DS and all the games and equipment. If there’s room left , you could put board games or stereo/ipod station or dvd/vcr/movies in there. Hey, that sounds like an entertainment unit!

  5. Diane Tucker says:

    We use an Ikea wardrobe as a cabinet for our printer and to store paper and office supplies. A used entertainment centre would work well for this. Preferably one with doors, so you can make all the contents disappear. We live in a small house, so putting clutter behind closed doors is not just a neatness issue, it’s a mental health issue!

  6. Laura says:

    Hmm, you’ve got me thinking now. I need more storage space for my studio, and instead of those Ikea cabinets I’ve been eying, I might have to make a visit to my local MCC furniture store (Winnipeg).

  7. Dan Steele says:

    It could be used as an extra storage for linens and bedding.

  8. Ann Heinrichs says:

    Because I’m in the season of life where I have young children, my mind naturally springs to how I could use an old entertainment unit – so a toy storage/book shelf came to mind. Steve and I used to have a diaper change table where the change station folded up out of the way when not in use. If an entertainment unit was sturdy enough to balance the weight of a baby, and the big TV area was high enough, perhaps a change area could be built there to either fold down or come out on rollers. The shelves around could hold diapers, toiletries, baby photos and mementos, as well as shoes or clothing items (could even put a bar across one section to hang cute outfits on). Baby items are so sweet, they’re worth the display. I looked for this idea and instead, found a great laundry storage area on a website. While a much different idea , it’s super cute and inspiring.

    Seeing this site, somehow led me to another one which had an idea far, far better than either of those (in my mind)! Someone had the brilliant idea of changing an entertainment unit into a wooden toy kitchen. What a great idea! There’s a new trend in wooden or green food play items for children, and wooden play kitchens are also all the rave. I’ve been checking them out on Craigslist, and even used, they’re easily $150. If you check out suttongrace.blogspot.com and giggleberrycreations.blogspots.com, you can find pictures of some super cute play kitchens. I’m not very handy, nor would I have time to be right now even if I wanted to be, as our kids fill my days and leave me little creative time. But . . . I’ll have to pass this idea on to my Dad! 🙂

    • angelika says:

      i LOVE the idea of making a play kitchen. i think it is so creative! the furniture guys are going to love this one.

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