Before adding to the pile in your garage, or worse, the landfill, consider using banished household items in the garden.
A favourite piece of china with an unfortunate chip can live on as a plant tray (chip to the back), while a bit of imagination and some simple soldering can transform renovation material such as copper piping into an artful obelisk.
Flea markets and garage sales are always well stocked with bargain items calling out to be re-purposed-with the added bonus of being fun destinations for family outings.
So stand back, squint your eyes and picture that unloved piece of iron fencing thriving somewhere in the garden.
THE FIX IS IN
• Before deciding on whether to paint, stain or strip an item, clean it first with a strong cleaner such as TSP (trisodium phosphate). It's surprising how different objects can look with all the grime and buildup removed.
• After cleaning, allow furniture to dry completely before sanding.
• Instead of a harsh chemical paint stripper, try one of the gentler, citrus-based formulas that don't contain methylene chloride.
• Exterior paint for metal: There are many on the market available in spray or for paint-on application to seal metal and retard rusting.
• To keep antique wicker in good condition, vacuum regularly with a soft-brush attachment and protect it from the elements: sun will dry out the natural fibres while dew, rain and snow will lead to warping.
• Marble is porous so it can stain quite easily. Try applying Future, a floor-wax product, as a sealant for marble tables used outdoors.