The Three R’s – Reuse, Restore, Recycle

In today’s economy, knowing the Three R’s is a valuable survival skill for all, but for the rural homestead family, it’s not an option.  There is this false fantasy that moving to the country is going to be “The Simple Life” and we’ll just quit our jobs, grow a garden and live off what we eat.  Sounds good but, it also can be a very expensive life.  There are property taxes to pay, expensive homeowner’s insurance- especially in Oklahoma where tornadoes, ice storms and now earthquakes are common place.  There can also be trucks, tractors,  garden tillers and outbuildings for storage.  All of which can be quite expensive, even though we usually always buy used and do our own maintenance. In most rural homesteads close to us, these necessities take priority over new furniture, vacations, home improvements or appliances. There is a time and place for the nicer things, but they don’t come first.  All of this is a lead up to a small project I recently completed that even my husband asked why I didn’t just buy a new one.

We were given a used swing set about 7 years ago when my first grandchild was born. Now, 3 more grandchildren later, it has seen much better days.  We’ve been having visions of a wooden fort/swing set that John could build from cedar.  Cedar stands up very well outdoors and the kids would love it.  But he has a lot of projects going on right now and I wanted something they could use now that warmer weather is here.  I thought about getting an inexpensive set at Walmart which starts at about $185 including tax. Looking closer it really wasn’t any better built than what we already have, just nicer paint.  Ours was still solid, had a nice slide and a double seated swing along with two hanging swings.  It did need to be staked in the ground and painted.  It was very rusted but still intact.

A visit to Walmart and I purchased 4 cans of Krylon Supermax paint at $4.00 per can that can be used on metal.  It said it was no rust, no sanding and no primer.  Same brand had a nice paint to be used on plastic.  I bought 2 cans for $4.50.  I ordered the stakes online with Walmart for $11.47.  The total cost $38.72 including tax.  A savings of $146 and I think a nicer swing set than if I would have bought new!  It didn’t take long at all.  We did gently sand the rough rusted surface and then spray painted.  It dried very quick. Can’t wait to find out if the grandkids notice the difference.

It’s very rewarding to restore a used item, keep it out of the landfill and save money!


7 thoughts on “The Three R’s – Reuse, Restore, Recycle

  1. We seem to live in a through away society. Few realize the real cost in buying new verses repairing / restoring something that is still serviceable and ‘Paid For’.
    Electronic products may be the exception to this rule. Most often even if you can find a component repair man, labor and parts cost often makes it cheaper to replace with a new product.
    Happy Gardening


  2. Looks really great and hope your grand-kids appreciate the hard work to restore this little bit of entertainment.


  3. My grandparents still have the swingset they purchased when I was a toddler and I’m 28 now. A new coat of paint can go a long way, and once it’s past use as a swingset the frame still has other uses. I just read an article the other day about someone turning an old rusted swing frame into a chicken coop!


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