By: Lee Brouwer
I have a secret wish… to start a twitter account entitled “Stuff Overheard in my Office”. Most of the tweets would be non sequiturs and jokes taken wildly out of context…and, of course, for my own amusement. In reality, the most common phrase overheard in my office is “My kids just don’t appreciate my things, they just don’t want them”. As a millennial, perhaps I can shed a bit of light on this phenomenon.
For most millennials, our lives are in almost constant flux. We grew up in an average home and then the vast majority of us went to college (statistically speaking the millennials have more college graduates than any previous generation). Our college years flew past, and we were spit out into the real world as “adults”. For the lucky ones among us, there are jobs after graduation or graduate school. Most, however, are saddled with student loan debt and face a long road of job applications, even the possibility of moving back home, until we can get on our feet.
Millennials are getting later starts in life than previous generations. For example, the median marriage age in 1970 was 23. Today, the median marriage age is 28. Later starts in life mean that we need flexibility and mobility; we need to be able to pack up everything and move for a job or an opportunity. So, it takes us longer to get settled. That need for flexibility translates to millennials being less interested in items that are cumbersome to move, or are too fragile. We need items that we are not vested in and are easily disposable and replaceable.
Here’s where the good news comes in….Eventually we settle down, get married (or at least decided to cohabitate) and begin to think about Grandma’s buffet and Mom’s dining room table. Herein lies the sweet spot. As we are settling down in homes or apartments, we are looking to decorate and we need furnishings! That is when we look for quality pieces that will last and that can be used for multiple purposes. As a generation we can bring in budget savvy finds into our homes as well as decorate in a way that is environmentally conscious. Reusing and buying items second hand helps reduce our carbon footprint and keeps items out of landfills. I am big on having a nice home, but like most young families, we work very hard to stretch a dollar. These older items are available to us at greatly reduced prices or even free!
Hey Millennials – listen up, now I’m addressing you! Are you settling down in your first place? Did you just get married/move in with your significant other? Now is the time to give Mom’s nightstands a second look, and you’d better think hard about Great Grandma’s kitchen table! While they may not suit your decorative style at the moment, these items (usually made of solid wood) can stand up to repurposing. Paint them, decoupage them, reupholster them, make them your own and use them!
Our generation loves vintage/thrift store finds, here is a chance to have them. If your family isn’t ready or willing to part with these objects, your local auction house is a great place to start looking! My house is full of thrifty finds and hand-me-downs. Whenever we have friends over they always ask me where I find things. Now, as I am getting ready to set up the baby’s nursery, I am thinking “is there a way I can get this second hand?” I know that these pieces will be sturdy enough to grow with my family instead of needing to be replaced (and dumped in the land fill). There are endless opportunities in second hand items which can give your home a unique and eclectic look. Pick up a magazine or watch an episode of HGTV and think, “is there a way I can do that myself”? With a little hard wood and education you can recreate many stylish looks for your home with second hand items. Ultimately, you should be inspired to create a look that expresses your personality and is unique to you and your family.
For inspiration, be sure to check out our Pinterest page. It’s full of great ideas to repurpose second hand items as well as helpful hints for buying items second hand. The important thing is to look for inspiration and to be excited about creating something that is uniquely yours. Stay tuned to our blog for DIY projects and tips and tricks.