Extend the Life Of Your Vintage Items

Lifestyle Tips,

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09 September, 2021

Thrifting, antiquing, treasure hunting, whatever you call it, repurposing old items has become a phenomenon. No longer is it looked down upon to buy secondhand, it is actually touted as a sustainable practice for home decor. When you do discover a treasure, how do you clean it? How do you care for it? And do you know what you're looking for? We will teach you proper etiquette when it comes to restoration and care! 


What to Look For


Structurally sound


Try all the furniture before you buy it. Sit on chairs, open drawers, and plug things in when looking at electronics. You might be swept away with the aesthetics of a piece but that doesn't mean that it will last you long-term.


A piece that fits your dimensions


Keep in mind the space that you have for your new piece. You don't want to be enamored with an item, get it home, and come to find it does not fit through the door. Make sure you measure and write down dimensions of your doorways, hallways, anywhere that the piece would need to move through as well as its final resting place.


What to stay away from


  • Mattresses and pillows. These can hold germs, dust, and even bed bugs.

  • Smoky, odor-filled pieces. Removing odor from second-hand items is an almost impossible task. Upholstery is extremely expensive.

  • Kid toys as functional items. Old toys no longer have the safety quality that you would expect for a child. Some toys have even been recalled in the past. Toys should be decorative items only.


Clean Properly


Identify the fabric


Before tackling any cleaning, be sure to identify what you're working with first. Know the difference between enamel and wood and different types of fabrics. This will help you properly clean your items without damaging them.


Start simple


Vintage items will have worn away with age. It is better to start simply. First, remove dust with a soft microfiber cloth and a gentle cleanser, like dish soap, rather than a harsh bleach cleaner. Start with a small area that is unnoticeable on your piece. Allow to dry and sit in order to tell if there is potential damage that could be done.


Upkeep


Keep out of the sun


Vintage items last longer when not exposed to UV rays. Be sure to place your piece accordingly in the room, or have shade available so that there is not constant exposure to the sun.


Clean regularly


Try to stay on top of cleaning your antique pieces. Keep dust from piling up, and wax regularly. Consider using natural wax like beeswax to preserve the quality of the piece. Tackle any spill or stain as soon as it occurs to keep it from setting into your piece.


If you do feel unsure about any changes to your item consult a local antique dealer, they will be able to offer insight and expertise into your particular piece and perhaps even some interesting history. By reducing waste and reusing furniture, you are able to keep tons of waste out of landfills each year. Fast furniture has become a large pollution problem similar to fast fashion. To keep learning more about how to stay sustainable, visit Callective’s blog for weekly updates.

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