Green Spot: Crazy Reusing for Kids

Occasionally I’m amazed on how long I can keep reusing something.  Case in point we just converted our crib for our youngest son into a toddler bed.  So far it’s been used for two kids and still looks great and can now be used for a few more years.  Not bad for something I paid less than $150 for it five years ago.

This is not the only thing that gets reused between the boys.  Most of our youngest kid’s clothes, toys, books and furniture all are being reused from our oldest.  Mainly during the youngest kid’s birthday and Christmas does he get some new things that are just his, but other than that we managed to save a small fortune just by putting something in a box for a few years.

Of course it will just keep on going for a while yet.  For example, I still have the desk I used as a elementary school student.  It’s had a new coat of stain and a new chair for it, but otherwise it should be in good shape to move into my oldest son’s room in a few years time.  My oldest son also had my old chest of drawers from when I was a teenager and his captain’s bed is also used.

So with all this reusing of things do my kids actually care?  So far I would have to say they don’t notice it all.  They are much more interested in getting the occasional new toy or getting some cool Hot Wheels bedding than worrying about having a 25 year old desk.  As teenagers this might change, but I’ll worry about that when we get there.

With that in mind, what’s the longest thing that you have reused in your house?  Beyond the kid stuff, I would have to guess in my house that my dining room table is the oldest thing.  It was at the cabin my parent’s bought over a decade ago and it was old then.  The finish has broken down in spots so I would guess it already had a good 25 years on it before I ever got it.

8 thoughts on “Green Spot: Crazy Reusing for Kids”

  1. I’ve got some woodworking tools that belonged to my Grandpa. While they have tremendous sentimental value, I still use them regularly as they are much better built than most of what you can buy today.

  2. My wife’s grandfather made a couch, reclining chair and a dining room table with 6 chairs in the 1940’s after the war. When her grandparents past away we inherited them and use them all of the time. No need to replace them as they do the job just fine.

  3. I use Freecycle too 🙂 great way to recycle and get «new» stuff. I have a rocking chair that I think belonger to my great grand mother… a lot of kids fell asleep in it 🙂 must be 80 years old or something! And still in great shape!

  4. I’ve got this old radio that’s at least 50 years old and it still works. There’s something nostalgic about it that my sirius radio just can’t provide. It’s weird how things that are handed down over the years builds character and sentimental value is attributed to it. People actually like my old radio given its technological limitations!

  5. Our first dining room set was my parent’s retro 1960s teak. Then came my grandparent’s 1940s quartersawn oak. I later traded that set with my mom for the 1980s set she bought after the teak. At some point I’ll replace it with my “dream” set, an antique harvest table with contemporary leather chairs.

    When I was 2 my parents bought me a solid old dresser with a mirror, painted it white and changed the handles. Now 44yrs later it’s going strong in my 8yr old daughter’s room. I replaced the handles again but otherwise it’s unchanged. A couple of chips in the white paint gives it a charming “shabby chic” look. My teen son is still using the desk my DH used as a child.

    Old furniture was made a lot more solidly that the new stuff. I keep reinventing pieces with refinishing and new hardware. It seems we’ll never wear anything out, so we keep updating when we need a change.

    The microwave we received as a wedding gift 25yrs ago last July is still going strong. I am absolutely certain when we replace it someday, the new version won’t last nearly as long. I firmly believe new appliances are designed to fail in 5-10yrs.

  6. My mother-in-law just inherited a baby’s wooden high-chair that’s at least 150 years old – and in the family that whole time. Two of my children have used it when visiting their great grandparents, and I expect it will be passed on to their generation some day.

    It works well, and looks better than almost anything you can buy today.

  7. Everyone,

    WOW! I thought I was doing well on reusing things. I pale in comparison. Thanks for the stories.


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