Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 9, 2020 · 88 comments

  1. I sold a few things including a Scottish wool blanket from the Goodwill “bins,” a pair of Ilse Jacobsen sneakers, a Jonathan Adler mirror, a pair of free box Ugg slippers, a Calphalon skillet and a package of under-eye football stickers. (I picked up around 40 packages of these college branded packets at the Albany Goodwill for around $9.) I have a few Facebook Marketplace items that people are messaging me about, but I know from experience to not count my chickens before they hatch.

  2. I gave away a set of twin XL flannel sheets, a honkin’ huge bag of working Christmas lights and a certain item that I can’t specify, (umm . . . it was a birthday gift) through my neighborhood’s Buy Nothing Group.

    I highly recommend that you click the above link to learn if your local neighborhood has its own buy nothing group. They’re an amazing way to skirt the traditional consumer experience — just neighbors strengthening bonds by gifting wanted and needed things to one another. Sorry, Jeff Bezos.

  3. I continue on my Extreme Frugal January™ and cooked up a pot of makeshift Tuscan white bean soup. I used a couple cans of cannelloni white beans, (50¢ apiece from the Grocery Outlet) the last of a bag of baby carrots and some leftover carmelized onions. I added kale at the very end and called it good. Which it was.

  4. I picked up a $2.99 luxe looking box of chocolates as a thank you for my mail carrier who makes extra trips to my house to scan my eBay packages, I spent a few days walking my friend’s dog while she was out of town, I started reading The Distant Hours from the library, I picked up five loaves of normally expensive bread at the Franz Outlet for a buck apiece, I bought a six-foot long iPhone charger from Goodwill for $4.99, (the Target packaging was damaged) and my $3 peace lily is growing a new flower, which is an accomplishment as all the previous flowers had shriveled up after the plant was transplanted.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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Disclosure: This blog post includes eBay affiliate links, which earn a small percentage from any purchases you make within a few days of clicking over. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 88 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on January 1, 2020 · 113 comments

  1. Although I did earn some money since publishing my last blog post, it’s still been a financially lopsided month for us. My son’s college tuition was due January 1st, which coincided with the renewal of my nursing license, an unexpected car repair, leftover physical therapy bills from my husband’s foot surgery, our semi-annual garbage bill and a few other miscellaneous bills that added up to a nasty wallop to end the decade.

    January is going to be ridiculously lean, but we’ll pull through as we always do. My husband and I are both A-okay with dirt and buttons rice and beans, if it supports the big picture of a debt-free lifestyle. My birthday is coming up this weekend, and I already have a zero-spend “Birthday day of Adventures” planned out for us.

    In a perverse way I’m looking forward to the challenge of spending almost nothing while earning as much as possible. Okay, January . . . bring it on!

  2. I did sell a few things including the above silver sugar and creamer set that I sourced from a post-garage sale free box, a Steinbach wooden Christmas ornament and a free box Jerry Garcia CD. (Yes, my inventory is haphazard!)

    I sold the silver set for $100, (I accepted an offer from the buyer) but since I simultaneously wrote out a check for $95 for the unglamorous expense of “garbage service,” I consider this to fall under the umbrella of “it sometimes sucks to be an adult.”

  3. I logged onto my library’s website at 12:01 on New Year’s Day, as I knew their cultural passes would reload. I was able to reserve double admission for both the Portland Art Museum and The Japanese Gardens, that my husband and I can enjoy later in the year. The two sets of tickets will save us $74 and will be something fun to look forward to.

    I encourage you to check and see if your library system offers similar cultural passes to their patrons.

  4. I hosted a family post-Christmas gathering using food I already had on hand, I lit candles on every single night of Chanukah with candles that I thrifted from Goodwill, I began reupholstering a cute thrifted midcentury stool, I agreed to watch a friend’s dog while she’s out of town for a few days, I accepted a lunch out with my father, I watched two library movies, (and read one library book) I’ve been really successful with not letting leftovers go to waste and I somehow survived hosting a Japanese exchange student without letting our budget go to pot.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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Disclosure: This blog post includes an eBay affiliate link, which means that I earn a small percentage from any purchases you make within a few days of clicking over. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 113 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 27, 2019 · 65 comments

  1. Christmas came and went, although Chanukah lingers on in our home. We don’t do Chanukah gifts, as I long ago gave my kids the choice to either receive gifts on one holiday or the other, but not both. They chose Christmas. However, we do still light candles, (I snap up menorah candles whenever I find them at Goodwill) we play an obligatory game of dreidel and then fry up an oily batch of latkes.

    We kept Christmas pretty simple this year, with minimal gifts and few, (okay, no) complicated meals or overwrought activities. Two, (yes, two!) Harry Potter library DVDs were watched, one takeout Chinese meal was brought by my generous mother and step father and a single nap was taken by yours truly.

    Gifts were all either thrifted, edible or straight up cash.

  2. I did stop into the Goodwill Outlet “bins” on Christmas Eve, as I felt my gifts for the kids were a bit too light. I picked up a lovely winter scarf for my daughter as well as a plaid flannel shirt for my son. I roped my mother into joining me, (by the way that “rope” is the thinnest of gossamer threads, as she is a nanosecond from hitting the bins at any given moment.) I also bought a couple items for resale which I quickly listed on eBay.

  3. I woke up yesterday to a text from my friend Lise informing me of a shared neighbor’s free pile. I walked over to “shop” and carried home a midcentury nightstand and then back for a vintage patio chair. The nightstand needed a bit of a cleaning, but I ended up selling it through Facebook Marketplace before the sun went down. (I may have underpriced it at $40, as I had four people who all wanted to buy it.) Maybe five hours elapsed between strolling over to the free pile and having that sweet cash in hand.

    The vintage patio chair is one of those 1980s-era white grid stacking chairs that were all the rage when I was in high school. However, this one is the actual Italian “Emu Rio” chair, while most others were knockoffs. They sell for $80-$100 apiece online, so I listed mine for $50. No interest so far, but that’s okay. I’m patient.

  4. I served a dinner tonight where each person ate an entirely different meal, which quite nicely helped to A) clean out the fridge, and B) avoid food waste, I dropped off books at the library and then picked out new ones, we played the dreidel game using my collection of random foreign coins instead of chocolates, we took advantage of the free McNuggets deal as the Blazers basketball team scored over 100 points, (we actually did this two days in a row as our Japanese exchange student mentioned how he missed McDonalds, specifically nuggets) my husband received a hand-me-down pair of expensive skis from a co-worker, I borrowed my neighbor’s fondue pot and she borrowed my insulated casserole carrier, (mutual moochiness for the win!) and my son watched The Mandalorian through a friend’s Disney+ account.

    I sold the midcentury nightstand, a midcentury-style wall clock, a vintage camera, a pair of Nikes, a wooden Parcheesi board game, a Starbucks tumbler, a rhinestone bracelet, a pair of slippers and a vintage Putz-style ornament.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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Disclosure: This blog post includes an eBay affiliate link, which means that I earn a small percentage from any purchases you make within a few days of clicking over. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 65 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 17, 2019 · 70 comments

 

  1. I sold a few things including a coffee table, a Persian rug, some oversized Fiestaware mugs, a cute tweed flat cap, a vintage rotary phone, and a “Miller Lite” holiday scarf. Not great sales, but still steady. I have a number of $100+ items up on eBay that have decent number of watchers, so I expect them to sell in the near future. Until then I’ll have to be content with a steady dribble of $25-$50 sales.

  2. I’ve mostly been lying low lately. Portland weather doesn’t invite outdoor adventures, and I swear that it’s getting dark earlier than in years past. (Is it three o’clock? Time to turn on the porch light!) However, this has translated into many homemade meals and a minimum of spending opportunities. (I rarely if ever online shop.) Picture me on the couch with a library book and you’re 3/4 of the way there. Hunkering down at home = very frugal.

  3. I need to make sure that we’re ready for the holiday gift giving season in a way that allows us to cover our son’s college tuition/pay the mortgage/renew my nursing license/pay our son’s rent/etc . . . . I’ll be raiding my eBay stash for a few gifts, regifting some treats and then picking up a few things from Goodwill. I still haven’t figured out anchor gifts for my 21 and 24-year-old kids, but am trying to take deep breaths and remember that this will all be over soon.

  4. I’ve been both reading and listening to library books, (see above) I picked up a new living room rug for $40, which allowed me to sell the one in our spare bedroom one for $160, my husband continues to bring bubble wrap home from work for my packages, (I joke that bubble wrap is my “love language”) and I once again put up my garbage picked artificial Christmas tree.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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Disclosure: This blog post includes an eBay affiliate link, which means that I earn a small percentage from any purchases you make within a few days of clicking over. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 70 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 8, 2019 · 66 comments

  1. eBay sales have been coming in at a good clip, which is welcome since December is always a huge clusterhump of gifting, winter term tuition and miscellaneous add ons like nursing license renewal, car registration and the inevitable financial nonsense.

    Some items were things I’d recently picked up, while others had been languishing in my inventory for ages. It can be frustrating to have shelves of stuff that elicits the, “crap, why did I ever think this would sell?” vibe, but at least half of sales is usually stuff listed at least six months ago.

    Each time I list something I’m doing a favor for “Future Katy.” Gotta play the long game.

    Here’s some of what sold:

    •A pair of motorycle armor pants.
    •A Jonathan Adler Christmas ornament.
    •A beaded medallion.
    •A miscellaneous bag of vintage watches.
    •A vintage tile ashtray.
    •A Christmas scarf.
    •A pair of literary journals.
    •More Funko Pop figures.
    •A set of four dining room chairs. (These sold locally.)

    Hopefully this trend will continue through the month as mama needs a brand new bag more college tuition money.

  2. I dragged my mother to a financial information seminar, as I’d received a flyer in the mail and it included a free dinner. I normally would have chucked it into the recycling bin, but I was curious how my love of free food weighed against the horror of a predatory financial seminar.

    Unfortunately, the salesman, (who of course was selling whole life insurance) was a deeply offensive sexist pig. I will not repeat what he said, but it resulted in me loudly stating my opinion and then stomping out of the room.

    My mother then drove our proud selves through Burgerville, so I ended up getting a free dinner after all. So . . . a frugal win?

  3. I went with my friend Lise to do some writing at Ikea, as free coffee is our love language. We then hit up the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet, and although I didn’t buy anything newsworthy, I did pick up a number of items that should sell on eBay. One example? The aforementioned pair of motorcycle armor pants.

  4. I stopped at the library and picked up the first season of Mr. Robot to watch with my daughter, I gave a book of New Seasons Market coupons (they’re like Whole Foods) coupons to my neighbors who shops there, I purchased nothing on Cyber Monday and am not clicking over to Amazon browsing for “deals.”

    I made a decision a long time ago to avoid shopping at Amazon.com as I do not respect their CEO or their treatment of lower level employees. I know that Amazon is a life saver for many people with accessibility issues, but that’s not my current situation. They’re the polar opposite of how I want to spend my dollars. Used whenever possible, and local if not.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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Disclosure: This blog post includes an eBay affiliate link, which means that I earn a small percentage from any purchases you make within a few days of clicking over. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 66 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on December 1, 2019 · 61 comments

  1. I had a busy, busy week as I hosted Thanksgiving for everyone and cooked the entire meal from scratch. (Okay, I just lied. I called my mother on Wednesday and begged asked politely if she could bring rolls.) Add in that we invited a former Japanese exchange student to spend his fall break with us, and I can’t recall a spare minute over the past week.

    The exchange student was someone that we’d hosted 4-1/2 years ago, and had already experienced my greatest hits tour of Portland and the surrounding areas, (i.e., cool, but mostly free stuff) so I had to branch out. We ended up planning a freezing cold Oregon coast adventure day, which included my son, the exchange student, my daughter and her girlfriend. I treated everyone to meals and activities, (a Mexican food cart lunch, beach time, a Goodwill shopping spree, the Tillamook Cheese Factory tour, fun at the Seaside arcade and dinner at the iconic Camp 18 restaurant on the way home.) and have to say that it was a day well spent.

    Yes, I spent a generous amount of money, but I’m chalking it up to experiences over stuff and support of the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association and positive international relations.

    Scrimping and saving on the unimportant stuff so that the money is available when meaningful spending opportunities arise.

  2. I sold a few things here and there over the past week, most of which were on Black Friday. This included a pair of new-in-package Ikea curtains, a porcelain pie server, an Otter phone case and a pair of distressed drawer pulls.

    My favorite thing is that the phone case and drawer pulls were sourced from free boxes, so I was able to put what others may have tossed into the hands of people looking for these specific items. Plus, I made a couple of bucks in the process.

  3. I baked up a neighbor’s leftover uncut Halloween pumpkin for all my Thanksgiving pies. I know that a lot of people think that standard Halloween pumpkins aren’t edible, but they absolutely are!

    It’s as simple as:

    •Cut the pumpkin into big chunks.
    •Scrape out the seeds.
    •Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350° oven until the meat is soft.
    •Scoop the meat from the tough skin. (Compost the skin.)
    •Puree in a food processor or mixer until smooth.

    Each pumpkin will provide enough puree for 4-5 pies, and any excess can be frozen until the thought of pumpkin pie is appealing again.

    Better than Libby’s.

  4. I borrowed an out of town neighbor’s silverware to provide for our 12 Thanksgiving guests, I didn’t buy anything on Black Friday, (okay, this is another lie. I picked up bananas and coffee at Trader Joe’s) and I’m having a hard time coming up with any other “frugal things,” as it was an unapologetically pricey week.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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{ 61 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 25, 2019 · 63 comments

  1. I didn’t sell much this week, although it makes sense as I didn’t do any thrifting. (Which translates to stale “merchandise.”) However, I did sell a Jonathan Adler dachshund figurine, a pair of Nerf bandanas, a vintage horror movie pin, an American Girl doll, some vintage wooden drawer knobs and a small wooden table that I’d painted awhile back.

    Supposedly someone is coming by this afternoon for a sewing table and someone tomorrow for some Danskos. However, I know well enough to not count my chickens before they hatch.

  2. I braved Sunday’s grocery mayhem and drove to Winco to buy the supplies for Thursday’s Thanksgiving feast. I was worried that the store would be pure hell, but was pleasantly surprised that it was only the normal amount of weekend busy. I saw that you could get a free turkey with a $100 purchase, so I stocked up on a few non-perishable items such as cat litter and rice. However I was still $7 shy of the $100 mark, so I grabbed two loaves of $5.47 gluten-free bread to reach my goal.

    So expensive, yet the purchases allowed me to get a free turkey.

    For those of you who have access to a Winco, I strongly encourage you to check them out. Not only are they employee owned, (so not prioritizing shareholders over their own employees!) but their groceries are insanely inexpensive. Add in their huge bulk section and they really are the best.

  3. I asked for working PS3 controllers on my Buy Nothing Group as we were down to a single functional one. A neighbor gifted us two, which is great as my house is about to full of young ‘uns for the Thanksgiving break. (A former Japanese exchange student will be spending the week with us.) It’s especially generous as one of the controllers was still in its original packaging!

    Let the games begin!

  4. My daughter’s girlfriend gave me a couple boxes of tulips and daffodils bulbs that her employee was otherwise tossing, (I think I’ll try doing forced bulbs for holiday gifts) I helped myself to an armload of my father’s firewood so we can use the fireplace on Thanksgiving, (thanks, dad!) I got together with a friend and we ended up going for a longish walk to the credit union, my husband took apart and repaired our dining room table, I washed and scrubbed our mildewy shower curtain liner instead of replacing it and I RSVPd “yes” to a free steak dinner, even though I’ll have to sit through a hard sell spiel on predatory retirement products. My son’s next tuition payment in looming and I am in budget-lockdown mode.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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Disclosure: The eBay link is an affiliate link, which means that I earn a small percentage from any purchases you make through eBay within a few days of clicking over. This costs nothing extra to you.

{ 63 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 19, 2019 · 74 comments

  1. I stopped into a nearby Goodwill store to recharge my batteries and ended up walking out with three items:

    • A $3.49 Salvatore Ferragamo silk necktie which I quickly resold for $30.

    • A $1.99 painting from the Tanzanian artist Simon George Mpata, whose art is displayed in museums throughout the world. I put it up on eBay for just $200 as there’s no way I can authenticate the piece.

    • A $2.99 vintage pixie elf figurine that I’ll likely keep.

    The way that I rationalize these purchases, (and not cross the line into becoming a hoarder) is to immediately list any and all items that I buy for resale. My entire eBay inventory slots into a small corner of our spare bedroom and other than the packing tape, (which needs to be new) I exclusively ship with secondhand supplies.

  2. I got an email for a free Redbox DVD yesterday, so I scrolled through a kiosk to see if there were any movies that my family might enjoy. However, I’d just stopped in at the library and checked out a DVD of Bohemian Rhapsody. I realized that I didn’t need to burden myself with a free DVD that charges a $1.99 per-day late fee when I was already in possession of a movie that wouldn’t be late until December 9th.

    It can be fun to chase the blink-before-they’re-gone exciting deals, but in the end it’s the dull daily frugal practices that support my family’s debt-free lifestyle.

  3. I met up for a parallel play writing date with my friend Lise. Both of us have kids in college and go to extreme lengths to not waste money. This means that our get togethers tend more towards, “Hey, they have free coffee at Ikea” rather than “Let’s meet at Starbucks.”

    I have other friends who would not enjoy the weirdness of repeat Ikea coffee dates, but that just means that we rarely get together.

  4. I accepted the offer of excess produce from a neighbor who was going out of town, I called my car insurance company to update info (which’ll save us $73.18 per year) I mended a pair of my husband’s work pants as well as my travel purse (which turned out to contain a lost pair of sunglasses!) I received some Fred Meyer (Kroger) coupons in the mail and actually remembered to use them, (free eggs and pasta sauce!) and I watched The Spy Who Dumped Me with my daughter through my mother’s Amazon Prime account.

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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{ 74 comments }

Five Frugal Things

by Katy on November 15, 2019 · 57 comments

  1. After selling at a good clip, my sales have petered out a bit. I did sell a new-in-box landline phone, a vintage oil painting and a single hexagonal marble tile that I plucked from my sister’s Bronx, NY beach. Plus I also sold a funny little wooden table that I’d bought at Goodwill.

    Nothing too impressive, but still better than having non-monitized hobbies.

  2. My number one goal in life is to delay grocery shopping as long as possible, (seriously, I hate it more than almost anything!) So when I realized that I had two single chicken breasts yet four people to feed for last night’s dinner I got creative. I grabbed a whole cauliflower, (thank you Trader Joe’s for selling produce by the item instead of by the pound!) as well as a couple of zucchini from the fridge.

    I then topped the dish with a slurry of soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, Sriracha sauce and corn starch. Served over rice, this impromptu stir fry allowed me to procrastinate the inevitable grocery shopping trip for some other day. Instead we stayed on budget. Another day, another home cooked meal.

  3. My husband and I spent a rare free afternoon indulging in some shopping and dining. You don’t have to ask “where?” as you already know that we went to Goodwill. But not just any Goodwill, as we went to the West Burnside location that is conveniently located next door to Elephant’s Deli.

    My dreamiest and most romantic date involves perusing the aisles for thrifty treasures plus melted cheese. We shared a fondue platter which Elephant’s sells during their happy hour (after 3 P.M.) for just $5. It’s enough food for two people and insanely delicious! A five dollar date for two? I call that a frugal win!

  4. I was able to get 24 free temporary checks from my credit union, (which should last at least six months) I found two quarters, one dime and two pennies while on my date, my parents no longer use their Soda Stream, so they gifted me an extra CO2 canister, I gave away an unwanted wall calendar through my Buy Nothing Group, and I completed a furniture refinishing project that I’d started in 2017!

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
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{ 57 comments }

This blog post is sponsored by Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette.

I’m super picky about the stuff that gets to live in my home. It needs to be the utmost of quality, but also cost next to nothing. Not an easy task, which is why almost everything in my house is sourced from Goodwill.

However, sometimes these purchases need elbow grease to bring them up to snuff — especially when it comes to furniture. So when I spied this midcentury Broyhill credenza at the Goodwill Outlet I knew it met my strict criteria.

Classic style? √
Durable quality? √
Under $20? √

I think I shelled out $12.99, but since I bought it in July of 2017 the details are a bit fuzzy.

I immediately got to work, grabbing a jug of stripping gel from the basement, which is the fun part as the task of scraping off gooey paint is bizarrely satisfying.

Seriously. Before:

And after!

At this point you may be scratching your head on the timeline of this project, as I purchased this piece in 2017, and last time I checked we’re living in 2019. This is due to me doing all the easy bits and then sticking it in the basement to work on “later.”

For two years. It then sat in my basement for two years!

Cue the addition of a gifted hand-me-down TV, (thank you Dezsea!) to prompt a fresh need to complete the project, and “finish refinishing credenza” shot to the top of my to-do list.

I removed the remainder of the paint with sand paper and then splurged on a $18.44 jug of Danish oil from my local hardware store.

The instructions said to fully saturate the wood, and so I did. I think I applied three coats of oil, as the teak and walnut surfaces still weren’t as glossy as I wanted.

Is it perfect? No. I probably should have used some wood conditioner so the oil would soak in evenly. But I’m still very pleased with the outcome.

Especially since all our television accessories now tuck in nice and neatly.

One more Goodwill project completed? √

Want to know more about Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette? Check out
MeetGoodwill.org, ShopGoodwill.com and 
GoodwillJobConnection.org
to learn more about the important services that they provide for our community.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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This has been a sponsored blog post.

{ 25 comments }