{When Second Hand Item Are Truly Yours: 5 Factors}

Sunday, June 28, 2009

When do second-hand items truly become yours?

Along with my kids, who are eager for new-to-them-toys, I've been garage saling like a mad-woman this year. And I've noticed, depending on the item, the time it takes for me to feel like the true owner of the item varies.

Factors that affect the time an object becomes MINE:

Ability to clean/sanitize the item
If I can stick it in the dishwasher, or washing machine, or paint an item, it is mine as soon as that is done. If cleaning the item is more tricky, true ownership takes longer. Like the handbag still hanging in my closet looking like a stranger's purse.

Cost of the item
When we drove off the used lot with our van, it was ours. Was this because it was from a used dealer and was "cleaned" or because we had committed to it because of it's cost?

Age of the item
When a beautiful lampshade still has the original store tags and protective wrap on it, it is mine even before cash has changed hands to make it legally mine. If I find a wooden kite spindle with a 25 cent sticker on it that is so old that it's past is called "history," it is mine. If the item is just plain old, and dusty with someone else's dust, it may take a bit longer. Then again, this factor may just be the cleanliness factor.

Need for the item
Our vacuum died a few weeks ago. The next morning, Mr. Smarty took the kids to a garage sale where we found a relatively clean and working vacuum for $2. In the history of histories, I never would have thought I would buy a used vacuum-with someone else's dust and...other stuff on and in it. But I did, because I needed one and they looked like a nice family and they looked clean. okay, we're back to the cleanliness of the item factor...

The IT Factor
This is more rare, in my experience, but it does happen. You see the item and it is yours. Not just like you are the current owner, but this piece (you wouldn't call it an "object" or "item", but a "piece" like pie, or cake or pizza or any other piece of yumminess)---this piece was built FOR YOU.

My IT Factor purchase: This chest of drawers from Craigslist. It was mine at hello. Before I made the two hour drive across our metroplex, with cash in my pocket. When I brought this piece, MY piece, home, I lovingly cleaned it and treated it with a wood repairer. And it was not to remove the yucky-stranger's-furniture-factor, but to welcome it home and allow it to shine.

Garage sale season has been in full swing now. Have you made any IT purchases? Any purchases that still haven't been given the full welcome into the home (you know those purchases that sit in the garage until you actually make them yours!)?

14 Creative People Had This To Say:

Joan said...

All good points and very helpful!

~~Carol~~ said...

I totally agree, and that chest of drawers is marvelous!

Pink & Green Mama said...

My family visited my old childhood neighborhood and one we found the estate sale of a woman I loved when I was a little girl. It was bitter sweet going through her things today, I came home with three new sets of velvety soft, well worn cotton twin sheets for my own daughters (you can't buy new sheets that soft anymore) some lovely pink napkins that will add a bit of class to my first grader's lunches this fall, a new (to us) cook top where she prepared meals for her family, and a lovely old velvet chair that I will sip my morning coffee in while watching the girls play in our playroom.

Enchanted Rose Studio said...

Great tips! thanks for sharing!


Kammy said...

So true and I agree !
LOve your dresser ! Somethings just
have our name on them....
Hugs ~ Kammy

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

My twin girls' vintage iron beds were meant for them because they were a matching pair but I felt they were truly mine after I invested many hours removing rust, painting and repainting after we realized the previous owners who had never attempted to do them up had oiled them to prevent them rusting further... no wonder the paint would not stick! I love garage sales! Most of the clothes in my wardrobe (most are designer label!) came from garage sales!

abeachcottage.com said...

very good pointers

happy treasure hunting!


Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Kristen, that's a beautiful piece of furniture. Good find for you! Oh, when I bring my stuff home, dusty or not...they are MINE right then and there. I deal with the dust and clean them up & make them pretty for my space. Thanks for joining the party!

Kim said...

I giggled while reading this post. I could totally relate to the cleanliness factor. Unless the item is an "it" item. Then nothing matters until it is mine.

Anonymous said...

Sweet blog! I have a "hand-me-down" that was given to me from one of my girlfriends before she moved. It was an inexpensive "Mini" armoire. It could use some fresh paint, but after cleaning it I left the "used/white paint" look because it reminds me of her. Anyway, it is the storage for my kids crafts, school supplies, and my odds and ends.

susan said...

I love this list! Sometimes we know something was "meant" to be ours--it feels like home immediately--like finding someone you "click" with!

Courtney said...

I never looked at "ownership" that way-very intersting!

Christina said...

Good tips. I fight the urge to just buy things because they are a good buy and not because we need them. I'm trying to get pickier.

Sarah Mae said...

I personally love the "it" factor - I have said that quite a few times!

Great post! :)