Re-use and not abuse…

Among my range of interests and abilities, comes my story today. I was in a conversation last week with a gentleman who wants to create a re-use or re-cycled store that will offer all the components of older and very old homes in Mason City and North Iowa. He was saying, and I believe he is correct, when he insisted that Americans have become programmed to the throw away and “buy new” world.

He was preaching to the choir when speaking about this because I have always been an advocate of making every attempt of using and or re-fabricating something that has already been created. From old growth lumber to American forged steel, anyone who is shown the comparison to what the quality was then and what it is now, would become believers.

My favorite lecture about making something from what appears to be nothing is when at least 20 years ago I listed a home near St. Joseph’s Church here in Mason City that was an estate of the mother of a past client. I listed the home and did the normal showing and final sale. But, during the time of the showings, I couldn’t help but notice an old cabinet in the basement that was painted white and trimmed in red. It really was more than used and abused.

When the house sold, the buyers told me they wanted everything out of the house including the basement. Well, when I relayed the buyers wishes to the Executor, he told me he would get everything out of the house and basement. In that conversation, something “clicked” in my mind about that cabinet in the basement.

I asked the Executor about the cabinet and he told me he didn’t want it and would go to the dump. I told him I would take it since he didn’t want it.

Fast forward to about 8 years ago. I kept that scary white and red cabinet stored in my storage building until one summer about 8 years ago I decided that I would strip the paint off it and try to fix everything that was wrong with it. Oh Mercy! The more

I worked on it the more I was becoming possessed. That step cabinet after it was finished now is the centerpiece of my living room. A master woodworker who did only slight work on it told me that that step cabinet arrived in North Iowa on a covered wagon.

I am not being proud or pompous but, anyone and everyone needs to look for the beauty that is hidden behind paint and alterations.

So, if you can find something of quality that has been abused, make sure you bring it back into use.

Joe Chodur

About the Author | Joe Chodur

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