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Updated: Apr 24


These are strange times we’re living in. Much of the nation is covered by “stay-at-home” orders. Many of our favorite businesses are shuttered or operating under restrictions. The days of leisurely browsing home décor and hardware stores, flea markets, and antique shops in person are over—for the time being. That doesn’t mean we have to stop creating. In fact, now more than ever, feeding our creative sides is critical to our mental health. Read on for a fun idea on how you can keep the creative juices flowing and maybe even get the family involved.

We all have items in our homes that haven’t caught our eye in long time. Now’s the perfect opportunity to rethink those pieces. Take a walk around your home and place a plain piece of paper or an index card on every piece of furniture. (What counts as furniture? Click here.)

If you have kids, get them involved. Enlist them to be the flea market owner. Have them name their business, create a sign, and write the price of each furniture item on the pieces of paper or index cards. Prices in your home flea market do not have to be actual or even reasonable. No real money will be exchanged. If you don’t have fake money in one of your board games, make some, or you can create a fake checkbook out of some folded paper. Your stay-at-home flea market can be as simple or elaborate as your family wants it to be.

Once the flea market is open for business, walk through each room, considering every piece of furniture carefully. Do you like it? What do you like about it? Do you use it? How and how often do you use it? Would/Could you change anything about it?

The answers to these questions will help you determine the following:


1. If you would buy or acquire this piece of furniture all over again.

2. If this piece of furniture belongs in its current position or place in your home.

3. If there is anything you can do (i.e. paint, strip, remove doors, add legs or moldings, etc.) to refresh the piece or make it work better for your family.

4. If it’s time to sell or donate the piece to someone else.

If you’re taking inventory of your items alone, then you can jot ideas on the pieces of paper or index cards, then decide if there’s a project you want to tackle while you’re safe at home. Materials are available via online and telephone ordering through big-box and local hardware and craft/hobby stores, where shipping and/or contact-free delivery is available. If you normally purchase paints and/or materials from a favorite local business or organization, check with them first to see if they are conducting business from a safe distance. You might be surprised at what’s still open and available.

If you’re kids are involved, determine which piece of furniture you want to buy, and let the haggling—and giggling—begin. When a price is agreed upon, encourage the kids (if old enough) to “do the math” and “ring you up,” including adding the appropriate sales tax for your state. For extra fun, the kids can make a prediction. Have them secretly draw a star on the back of the price tag on the piece they think you will buy. If you end up “buying” the piece with the star, they win a special treat … maybe an extra hour before bedtime or another round of Stay-at-Home Flea Market.

Soon enough, life will be back to some semblance of normal. Until then, take stock of what you have, make a plan to refresh your items and spaces, and look for the beauty and simple joys in everything you have and do.


Off the Curb, Inc. believes there are 4 Stages of furniture waste reduction. The first stage is repair.


How Do We Define Repair?


Repaired items are items you already own, items that have wear and tear and/or breakage but are still usable and wanted. These are items that you fix or someone else fixes, and you continue to use the items in their usual manner.


Simple At-Home Fixes


Scratches


· Crayon fill (use a blow dryer to melt the crayon into the scratch; buff away excess)

· Very strong coffee (apply with cotton ball or rag)

· Shoe polish (apply with soft cloth)

· Peanut butter (leave it on for an hour, and then buff off)

· Petroleum Jelly (leave it overnight, and then buff off)


Water Marks


Note: White rings can usually be handled at home. Dark rings usually mean the damage is deeper and professional refinishing is warranted.


· Mayo (leave on for at least an hour and up to overnight)

· Table salt over the spot (rub it out with a cloth that's been moistened with mineral or lemon oil)



Worn and/or Torn Leather


· Restore with saddle soap or neatsfoot oil

· Repair torn leather with a neoprene rubber adhesive (contact cement) placed under the flap of the tear. Smooth the wrinkles and bubbles out of the damaged area, and then wipe away any adhesive that seeps out onto the surrounding areas. After a couple hours of drying time, you can apply leather conditioner to the repaired area for a fresh look.









Help keep furniture off the curb and out of landfills. Your donation of as little as $12 saves and rehomes one piece of furniture. Text GIVE 12 to (844) 326-4739.


Off the Curb, Inc. is off and running! Our pilot furniture rescue program begins this spring and has the potential to save over 100,000 pounds of furniture this year alone. But we need your help. As a new nonprofit, our bank account is groaning under the weight of this awesome opportunity. Expenses for this program alone total $475/mo. That’s why we’re reaching out to friends, family, and furniture- and planet-lovers, asking for donations.


Fortunately, our first goal should be easy to achieve! If we raise $50 in monthly reoccurring donations, a generous donor has offered to match that amount. Won’t you help us reach our initial goal and get this program “off and running” by becoming a monthly reoccurring donor?



If monthly donations don’t work for you, please consider a one-time donation. No amount is too small, because together we are mighty. Let’s lighten the landfill load on this planet!


Donating is easy and secure. You can text the word GIVE followed by the amount (ex. GIVE 25) to (844) 326-4739 or visit https://www.offthecurb.org/donate.

Off the Curb, Inc. is a Pennsylvania nonprofit spreading its message nationwide to reduce and eliminate furniture in our landfills. We believe beautiful homes do not have to come at the price of our planet. Our mission is to inspire people through education and access to keep furniture off the curb and out of landfills.

 

Off the Curb, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization.

 

© 2020 Off the Curb Inc. All rights reserved.