Friday, May 17, 2013

DIY vs buying

When I decide on a new project I always ask myself if the project is worth my time and money. Its hard to try to save money by DIY and end up spending more money. My goal is always to spend the least amount of money and time on a project. I'm a mother of a toddler and its always a challenge to find time to do anything aside from taking care of her.  When looking for craigslist/thrift store furniture pieces I always look for good bones, exact measurements, cheap, and local. If the furniture piece doesn't fit all four descriptions then its a pass. For example, my master dresser was $75 on craigslist, great solid pine wood, and large enough for my bedroom. I love that old furniture usually is made of solid wood, unlike the new furniture that we buy today. I almost never drive far for my craigslist pieces. They are always within a ten mile radius from my house. If the piece is too far then its not worth the drive because gas is expensive and most importantly your time to commute back and forth to pick up the piece is also another factor.  Occasionally I'll drive a little further but most likely I'll wait for a local one to come up. Craigslist is a great place to find great quality used pieces that just need a little refinishing. If you wait long enough the perfect piece will come up.  Many times it takes me at least a month to find the perfect piece.

I always save money by purchasing used craigslist furniture pieces but I tend to spend money on the little details. For example, our master bedroom dresser cost a total of $100 for the dresser and supplies/paint but the accessories cost another $100. Black mirror above the dresser was a cheap impulsive buy a while back from home goods for $25, fake real touch orchid flower pot $30, black ceramic lantern $20, white candle inside lantern $10, and dark brown wicker basket on the floor $20. I guess I saved money with the big furniture piece so I tell myself I can spend a little more on the accessories.  Since I have a toddler, its not always easy to run to the store and shop for accessories. I tend to do a lot of online shopping whenever possible. Its also convenient to shop online because dimensions are always there and many times shipping is free.

Usually when the furniture piece is small or affordable then I opt to buy it brand new instead of refurbishing one. Our current TV stand was from Costco for $200 and i'm okay with it. It fits the space perfectly, wasn't a bad price, and it was delivered to our home.  Its not made of solid wood but its okay. I probably could have found a used piece for $50 on craigslist but I would have had to search for one, pick it up, and then refinish it. Searching for the right piece on craigslist can be tricky. Sometimes it takes a couple of months to find the perfect piece. In the end I decided to buy new.  Below is our TV stand from Costco.

So in the future when deciding on a new project, think about the cost and time it will take to refinish the piece compared to buying it new. I think thats why all of my refinished pieces are generally large furniture pieces. Below are the list of refinished furniture that I have completed thus far. 

List of furniture pieces I've done so far 

$35 Dresser/changing table for Emily's nursery. 
Solid wood with metal rollers for the drawers so its easy to pull in and out. These are old pictures so knobs weren't put in. I will post updated pictures another day. The height was perfect for a changing table and the size was perfect for our little space in the corner. I waited for the perfect size piece to come up. 

$75 China cabinet 
Once again its solid wood and extremely heavy.

Entertainment center turned giant toy storage for $100

Kids bedroom set turned into master bedroom nightstands. I was able to score this good size dresser, desk for the other side, two smaller nightstands for $50.  The desk on the right is still unfinished. I still need to put on the pulls and buy accessories for it. These two pieces fit my room exactly. I waited for the perfect sized pieces to come up. 

Master dresser with fancy grasscloth wallpaper and black nail head trim. Dresser cost me $75 on craigslist. This set came with other large pieces but I have refinished them and resold them on craigslist.  It came with a large TV armoire/dresser, queen bed, and two large nightstands. The whole set cost me $200 but I was able to resell the other piece for a profit. The only piece that I sold was the armoire and kept everything else. 


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