Ask Eartha: Spring for used style
September 1, 2010
Q: I live with two male roommates and our place lacks furniture, class, and to be frank, is always a mess. I’m new to town and have yet to find a good place to buy affordable furniture and house ware. Any suggestions, Eartha?
A: You don’t have to spend a fortune to turn your bombed-condo into a cozy mountain oasis. Nor do you have to tolerate two messy males. Your first order of business is to lay down the hammer and tell your roommates to shape up or ship out.
Before springing for a new couch or toaster, remember Eartha’s handy guidelines for living a low impact eco-life: reduce, reuse then recycle. Reuse in the broadest sense means any activity that lengthens the life of an item. Reusing an item of furniture not only keeps materials out of the waste stream but saves the energy associated with manufacturing a new one, which has an enormous and positive impact on reducing CO2 emissions.
Plus, the act of reuse is a fun hobby. All of us at the High Country Conservation Center are accredited secondhand interior design experts. There’s nothing more satisfying than taking one man’s trash and creating your own treasure with a little bit of love and low-VOC paint. You don’t have to be an artist to find creative uses for older furniture.
Thrift shops and discount stores are your best resource for finding affordable furniture and house ware. Fortunately, there are plenty to choose from in Summit County. Here are a few places worth checking out:
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ReStore (970-367-5127) is located at 169 CR 450, just a few doors down from Ryan’s Towing. A Furniture Find (970-409-9310) is located in Dillon Town Center, conveniently near many other thrift stores; Treasures (970-513-6688) is located in Silverthorne in the Summit Place Plaza; and Alpine Accents (970-668-3113) is located in Frisco at 11 Main Street. For Pet’s Sake, located in Breckenridge at 203 N. Main, is another nonprofit thrift store (benefiting Animal Rescue of the Rockies). Summit Thrift and Treasure (970-262-2461) is Summit County’s largest nonprofit thrift store. Summit Thrift and Treasure does not sell furniture or large appliances but is a great place to score clothing, small appliances and accessories.
For a full list of local thrift and clothing consignment stores in Summit County, check out Eartha’s Green Guide. Also, keep an eye out in the paper for yard sales – these can be a great place to find used treasures.
Don’t forget to search for free stuff on Summit Freecycle. Freecycle is a grassroots movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. The Summit County group is run and moderated by the High Country Conservation Center. Membership is free and absolutely everything posted is also free. And, of course, the Summit Daily classifieds (and online at http://www.summitdaily.com) is another place to search for gently used home goods.
When looking for furniture and household items to give your condo a face-lift, remember to keep an open mind. You don’t always have to do anything drastic to a used item of furniture to get good use out of it in different ways.
Take for instance, an old bedroom dresser. Instead of putting it in the bedroom, throw on a quick slap of low-VOC paint, add some funky knobs, and move it to the living room as a storage unit for your roommates’ clutter. Throw some dried flowers in an old vase for decoration and voila, eco-chic and waste-free. Reusing furniture takes some creativity, but with a little thought, you can do it.
You deserve to be showered with style for putting up with two messy male roommates. Now get out there and treat yourself to affordable, fantastic furniture and decor by visiting one of the many thrift and consignment stores in Summit County and remember to keep it creative!
Eartha Steward is written by Jennifer Santry and Erin Makowsky, consultants on all things eco and chic at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation in our mountain community. Eartha believes that you can walk gently on our planet, even if you’re wearing stylish shoes.
Submit questions to Eartha at firstname.lastname@example.org or to High Country Conservation Center, PO Box 4506, Frisco, CO 80443.