One Man’s Junk Is Another Woman’s Dresser

It’s amazing what some people consider junk. As experienced by Fargo citizens on cleanup week, handfuls of people are willing to put a bit of work into an item that a previous owner called it quits on. They should start calling it “trade up” week.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t gone “shopping” on cleanup week. I’ve gotten a very nice fake tree. A garbage can with a closing lid (yes, I got a garbage from a garbage). A futon. A grill that looks like heck but has easily lasted through two summers and much abuse from my brother who regularly tells me I need a new one.

Anyway, these items work. They’re still good, and I love them more due to the fact that they were free – that someone else didn’t realize what they were missing out on. It’s like discovering a hidden treasure. Hopefully you can relate.

Last week, my sister sat on my bed as I paced back and forth in my over-crowded walk-in closet. Sweat pants and jeans dangled from the shelves. Workout tops were semi-neatly stacked. Purses piled carelessly in the corner illustrated why I don’t bother with $400 Coach purses. I looked at the bookshelf placed in my closet with paid credit card bills and receipts, a stack of wedding invites from people I’ll never hear from again and books from my dad about how to write better.

Story of my life.

I looked at my sister, and was near to tears. I plopped down on a chair in the corner of my room and gave up.

“Just forget it,” I said, embarrassed before my Martha Stewart-like sister that I wasn’t able to organize my closet. The rest of my home was close to immaculate (besides the obvious evidence of a residing dog, signs which I daily attempt to ignore and hope my brother will clean up).

Here’s to hopin’.

“I have too many clothes,” I said, unwilling to let go of another item after I had already spent the last month weeding it out.

“I hate to say it,” she responded. “You might need to stop going to thrift stores.”

I froze and thought about how different my life would be without dropping by a thrift store whenever I get the scrounge-around blues. Discontinuing my thrift store shopping wasn’t going to be easy – or likely.

Seeing the blank stare on my face, my sister covered her tracks.

“What you need is a dresser,” she said, reaching for my computer.

Not sure whether you’ve gone dresser shopping lately, but all dressers are either a.) expensive b.) spendy c.) totally ugly or d.) all of the above

She ignored me and began searching on Craigslist for one we could get that same day. The first one she showed me was c.) totally ugly. The parts of the dresser that still had color intact were green. Other parts were white or brown. The hardware looked like it would fit into my dad’s corroded copper collection.

However, looking past its surface, I loved it. The top drawers had a unique curve and it was the perfect size. With a can of paint and two hours of my time, I’d have a pretty nice dresser for $5. Not as good as clean-up week, but better than a thrift store.

Within minutes, we were on the road to load it up. From there, we went directly to a hardware store where I spent an additional $20 on supplies. It wasn’t long before the entire thing had been painted, somewhat imperfectly to add character, and it was being hauled up the stairs to the allotted area in my bedroom, where it fit perfectly.

I literally did a dance and was jumping up and down as if I was the next contestant on The


Price Is Right.

Well, the price was right, and the dresser as already become something of much more sentimental value than anything I would have purchased new in a furniture store. I now look at it every day and smile as I think of my sister.

“You might need to stop going to thrift stores…” Pfff! Right……

Shootin’ the Wit is a column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.

4 Responses

  1. Jennifer

    Wow! Does that ever look NICE! You have inspired me.

    I’ve recently discovered Craigslist and have gotten two very nice pieces of furniture for a fraction of the cost of new.

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