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Training Program Refurbishment Lessons from a DIY Junkie
By Tiffany DeShazo
I admit it, I'm a DIY junkie. I love all the shows: "House Crashers," "Kitchen Impossible," even "Man Caves." While taking something old and turning it into something new has become quite the trend in recent years, I first became interested in this concept while in college. I discovered that I love to take an old piece of furniture and make it new again. Imagine my surprise when, several years later, I realized that the steps I take to refinishing furniture mirror those we use at Orgwide to help our clients interested in refurbishing their training programs.
If you have never refinished a piece of furniture before, let me walk you through the steps so we can discover the parallels between refinishing furniture and repurposing in the work place.
1. Assess the Bones
The first step when choosing a piece of furniture to refinish, you must "assess the bones." I often visit local thrift stores for new pieces to work on, and the first thing I look at is the quality of the piece. I ask several questions. Is it made with good, solid wood (not cheap laminate)? Is it fairly sturdy? If wobbly, is it fixable? Does it have clean, classic lines? I recently found an antique shipping crate that I found fascinating. It wasn't originally furniture, but I knew I could do something with it if it was solid and sturdy.
2. Envision the Future
After determining a piece of furniture is solid enough to refinish, you must have a vision for its future. In other words, what purpose will it serve? You may find that its original purpose no longer applies - or that you want it to serve another purpose. For example, I had already assessed the bones and decided the shipping crate was solid enough and since it was essentially just a wooden box, I envisioned an upholstered lid on it, turning it into a storage ottoman! I now had a future vision for this piece.
3. Plan your Work and Work your Plan
For the shipping crate soon-to-be storage ottoman, I had to develop a work plan. Was I going to paint the wood? Stain it? What was I going to use to create the lid? How would it attach to the box? What kind of fabric would I use to upholster the lid? All these questions had to be answered as I developed my work plan before I could begin tackling the project.
4. Enjoy the New!
Finally, revel in the results of your hard work! This is my favorite step because I get to take that piece of furniture out of the work room or garage and place it in its new home. I get a great sense of pride when I look at a piece of furniture I refinished and think "I did that!" (You also have bragging rights!) Once the piece is settled into your home, you have the pleasure of enjoying it for years to come.
There you have it. Confessions from a DIY junkie turned corporate training and communications guru. Through the steps of assessing the bones, envisioning the future, planning your work, and enjoying the new, I hope you can now see the (unlikely) parallels between refinishing furniture and repurposing in the work place! For assistance in repurposing in your work place, feel free to contact us!
Reprinted with permission of
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