Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dad50 #47 Repurpose Something

Kids car, repurposed as under deck canoe stand 
Simplicity, reliability, durability: all descriptions that are usually utterly inappropriate for the mass of commercial stuff that flows through our modern western lives.
How can we, as dads, fight back against the rising tide of landfill-in-waiting? We could just buy less stuff (crazy idea, I know). Where possible, we could choose to make some of the stuff ourselves (of course, I'm talking wooden children's toys, rather than plasma TVs). To try to inhibit the store-home-landfill conveyor belt in our home, we hand off stuff that the kids have outgrown, to families a few years behind us on the kid-stage life cycle. This has worked great for clothes and baby stuff, but as we also discovered, has the potential pitfall of leaving you to restock if you have a "surprise".
Another solution can be to repurpose. Not only does this extend an items lifespan, but your kids get to see your ingenuity and creativity in action, without you actually having to produce something from scratch. I've tried to do this multiple times, although there is only so much use for broken kids playthings. A toddler car made a great wheel-able canoe stand, to get the canoe in and out from under a low deck. I've had more conspicuous success with old furniture. A tired side buffet went from the curb in front of a friends house, to next to the kitchen table. All that was required was a sanding, a spray painting and some new handles. Likewise, the big project over the Christmas-New Year break was to generate a TV cabinet. Fortunately, a buddy was disposing an old one, and it was solid enough that it could be reworked significantly. It was far too chunky for our room to keep full size, so I took off the doors and used them to make a shelf, cut off the upper sides, fitted a new top, sanded and spray painted. Wiping small areas of the spray paint and exposing the brown finish underneath gave a subtle aged look. Some new drawer handles, and it was done! And the kids love it. 1000-Dad points.

In process dusting action shot

Installed in lounge room

Dad U

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