Household items you should never throw out

Fast fashion doesn’t just apply to clothes, it’s also an issue for home decor.

People seem to redecorate their houses with alarming regularity these days, and it’s out with the old and in with the new in a way that can make your head spin.

Remember when you first visited your gran’s house and then you grew up, and 30 years later it still looked the same? Well, forget about that. It seems a decade is the most any home can last before being redecorated. And judging by the amount of antique furniture on Facebook marketplace being sold for a pittance, no-one wants grandma’s precious dresser or any of her other furniture either.

But before you haul it to the curb for hard rubbish, are there some things you should keep?

Playing favourites

If it has meaning to you, then don’t buckle under the ‘fashion’ or ‘trend’ police, just keep it.

I have a small table that is not much to look at, but the upright was once a leg of my grandfather’s desk. It was one of the only salvageable things after a devastating fire that almost wiped out the family business. It’s family history I can point at and I’m keeping it.

Almost everyone probably has a similar piece whether it be a child’s painting or a favourite covered stool.

Just because it would never be featured on the cover of Vogue doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable to you.

Hooked on classics

Classic pieces should always be kept, even if they have to be tucked away until they come back in fashion.

Currently, classic, antique or vintage timber furniture is definitely passe as we work our way through a minimalist/Scandi phase in all shades of grey, but they will come back in, you just wait.

If they are not working for you now, put them in storage or lend them to a willing friend or family member until it’s their time to shine.

And it’s not just about antiques. Mid-century furniture is having a bit of a moment at the moment, so keep an open mind.

A bit on the side

Small side tables are always useful. They can be used as bedside tables, as a platform to display your treasures or a pot plant, a place to rest your drink beside a couch or to simply fill a space.

No matter if they are a bit beaten up, throw a beautiful fabric cover over it and you can change the look as you like.

Timber chairs

The good thing about timber chairs is that they don’t always have to be timber. A quick lick of paint (no, seriously, just spray paint them if you want to) and you have virtually a new piece in a colour that will suit your new décor.

Stripping them back to the timber if you need that look again is another matter, but that’s for another day down the track.

And even if they become too worn for the use they were designed for, they make great pot plant platforms to elevate your garden.

Pottery and china

You may have inherited some pottery or porcelain that is hopelessly out of fashion, but don’t let it gather dust, there are so many uses for it.

Type in ‘upcycle china’ for an online search and you will be astonished by the amount of ideas.

You can make tiered trays out of old dinner plates, cups can be made into candle holders, tea pots into pot plants or birdfeeders and broken bits into jewellery and mosaics.

Or you could just wait it out. Like antique furniture, eventually it will come back into fashion.

Vintage rugs

The saying they don’t make them like they used to certainly applies to rugs.

I have one of my grandmothers, and while a little raggedy around the edges, the design is as fresh today as it was many decades ago.

If it’s too manky to use on the floor anymore, get creative. Use it as a throw over a blanket box or put a more worn side out of sight under a coffee table or couch.

Do you have a piece of furniture you could not part with? Why do you keep it? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: When does it pay to pay more?

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. I have this wonderful old hallstand/seat that was my Grandmother’s, around 100yrs old in perfect condition! It’s just beautiful!! My Mother looked after it for many years as I wasn’t in a position to have it, as I was moving around a lot, but I now have it in my hallway & it looks perfect. Looks as if it was meant to be there!!! I also have an old kitchen dresser from the 30’s/40’s which was from one of my Great Aunt’s houses. I have to say most of furniture is a mixture of new & secondhand, but that’s just my style. It just all fits in!! I’ve had lots of nice comments about my house, so it must be working!!

  2. My problem is that at 74, I have collected so many “special” items that I have no room for them all. Not being one to throw out “precious” memories I will leave it to my kids to do. No I am not a hoarder as what I keep is genuine and I don’t collect junk. I can still live neatly in my house. 🙂

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