Usually when we set out to fix anything broken our goal is to make the repair invisible. We take great care to match the wood grain or paint, to sand down the seams and make the item good as new.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
When I saw this chair in the trash I could tell it was brand new: not a scratch was visible and the original box was folded nearby on top of a stack of cardboard. Cursing our society of waste (while blessing my lucky star for the incredible find), I pulled the chair out from the pile of trash bags only to discover why it was there. One leg was missing, probably broken off in shipping. Since it was made of molded plastic, it could not be fixed.
I tried to walk away, but I couldn’t do it. Even broken it seemed like too much of a waste. I grabbed it and hurried home, ignoring the looks of passers-by who obviously considered me the worst kind of crazy-lady-trash-hoarder.
It’s important, when collecting trash for recycling purposes, to use the momentum of your discovery and transform it immediately into treasure — otherwise you will have just another piece of rubbish in your home and you run the risk of turning into a real crazy-lady-trash-hoarder. That very night I rummaged through my closet and pulled out a piece of steel, a pre-drilled angle iron left over from a broken equipment rack I had saved*. I cut the metal at the right height and at a slight angle, to match the existing curved legs. I drilled four holes in the plastic and used assorted recycled nuts and bolts to attach the heavy prothetic leg to the elegant plexi body. To avoid scratching the floor I molded a piece of sugru around the steel foot. In under an hour I had the perfect entryway chair.
This chair is better than new. The repair gives it poignancy and meaning it didn’t have when it was just a pristine, pretty little chair. It stands there bravely in the entryway, challenging people to sit on it. Though at first strangers can be hesitant, the chair is strong and has never failed. “See?” it says “I’m not trash!” This chair is not ashamed; it flaunts its repair.
Don’t hide your repairs, be proud of fixing your stuff!
* if the closet is neat and organized and you can access salvaged items when needed it’s not hoarding