My Love Hate Relationship with Ugly Stuff

Ruth wrote last week about the ugly stuff in her home; stuff begging to be replaced but meeting resistance from their owners, Ruth and her husband. Ruth and her husband are on the last stretch of a long journey out of debt.

They started four years ago with over $257,000 in debt and now have less than $100,000 left to pay. Woohoo Ruth and DH!!!!!

If you’re serious about paying off debt, you’re going to have to commit yourself to dealing with ugly stuff. Old stuff. Stuff that is far past worn out and needs to be replaced. It’s just part of the deal.

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with the ugly stuff in our house. Some of the ugly stuff in our house is stuff I’m at the end of my rope with. Other ugly stuff I adore with all of my heart.

I Hate You, Ugly Stuff!

My dear, faithful couches are on the top of the “hate ugly” list. We’ve had them for nearly twenty years. We bought the glistening white couches when we had one kid – a baby – whom  we were certain would be well-trained enough to treat our white couches with respect. Four kids and many years later, our white couches are a dingy gray and full of spots.

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Every time I look at them I want new couches. Last week, when the couches we wanted went on super sale ($1200 for two couches, a chair and an ottoman), it took some serious restraint not to put debt payoff on hold and wrack up some extra credit card debt. After all, it’s “only” $1200, right?

No, this is the mindset that got us into debt, and getting out of debt takes an equal and opposite reaction so we reluctantly turned our backs away from the sale brochure and back onto our debt repayment.

The same goes for our overstuffed chair and ottoman. You can see from this pic that it’s seen better days:

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The stains aren’t obvious in the pic, but trust me when I tell you, they’re there in abundance.

I LOVE You, Ugly Stuff!

Then there’s the ugly stuff I love. Absolutely love. When a friend’s husband bought her a new SUV this month I didn’t for one minute have an ounce of envy. Why? Because that SUV would’ve meant $50k more in debt for us. The thought of having $50,000 more in debt brought nothing but fear, and I fell in love all over again with our 11-year-old Suburban with all of its scratches and its mileage of over 200,000.

In the right light, I can hide the scratches and dents pretty well. :-)
In the right light, I can hide the scratches and dents pretty well. 🙂

It may not be new and shiny, but it runs like a dream and was paid for with cash. I love you, ugly stuff!!

Also on the ugly list, the baby blue, really old carpet in our bedroom. Somehow, when we put a fresh coat of paint on the walls last summer it made the baby blue not look as bad as it did before the paint. And since new carpet would cost us a good $800 for that room, we’ll happily keep our ugly blue carpet.

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It looks grey here, but in reality this carpet is a lovely shade of 80’s baby blue.

I’m not sure why it is that I look at some of our ugly stuff and want to pull my hair out, and why I look at other ugly stuff with affection and a heart-warming joy.

Any thoughts?

Is it that way in your house too?

Do you have some ugly stuff that you hate and other ugly stuff that you love?

Either way, I think it’s safe to say that ugly stuff tolerance is a good thing; at least for those on a journey out of debt. 🙂

What ugly stuff do you have in your house that is a symbol toward better days with more financial security?

22 comments on “My Love Hate Relationship with Ugly Stuff

  1. I understand the love/hate relationship with the ugly stuff. I have a few ugly things that I love. At the top of my list is the refrigerator in my basement. I purchased it off of Craigslist for $100 several years ago. It has all the scratches and dents you would expect of a fridge from a rental home, but has dutifully kept the extra gallons of milk, cheese (purchased on sale) and the surplus of free produce cold for years.

    1. I love that you appreciate that fridge, Amanda!! When I read over stories from the Great Depression (for a wake-up call about how good I have it 🙂 ) I often read stories about people keeping iceboxes outside of the kitchen window in the winter and burying stuff in the cold dirt during summer in order to keep things cold. Makes me appreciate our apartment sized fridge very much.

  2. Believe it or not, I have a love/hate relationship with the ugly stuff, but it’s love and hate for the same pieces. Our bedroom set is 40-some years old. It spent 20 years with another couple, and then 20 years with my wife (the last 10 with me). It’s beautiful furniture, but it has some scratches, splits, marks and other issues. I’d kind of like to replace it with something new, but it’s still completely solid. Similarly, our dining room used to be my wife’s grandparents, and it is lovely but has a variety of smaller issues. The glass in the china cabinet is broken in one spot, the surface on the buffet tables is ruined (from her grandfather overwatering the plants), and the drawers don’t pull out smoothly. They could probably all be fixed with a little money and work, but I both love and hate that they feel “lived in”.

  3. Thanks for sharing your “ugly stuff”, Laurie. I feel this way about the carpets in our house. Our geriatric cat decided not to use the litter box for the last couple of years of his life. I went through A LOT of puppy training pads (for an elderly cat, yes) and Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer, while he was alive!

    1. That’s tough. Ours has decided she no longer wants to poo in the box. She does it behind the box on a rubber mat, so it’s easily cleanable and there’s no carpet in that room, but it’s a pain. We have ugly carpet too, as you can see from the pic. One day, Amy, one day!! 🙂

  4. Interesting point! Why do we love some of our ugly stuff and hate others? For my old bike, I can say that I love it because it was my dad’s. I love our old van because I never really cared about cars as a status symbol to begin with, and I have an emotional attachment to it because we bought it when I was expecting our 3rd child. I hate the mismatching paint in our renovated family room because we put so much time and quite a bit of money into it – and to have that major imperfection . . . Ugh! And I hate our ugly backyard because again, we have made a lot of effort to rescue it. There you go! It all kind of makes sense.

  5. What an interesting paradigm. I think that there are a few ugly things that I’m proud of. Mostly DIY projects that I did without Rob’s help.

    I suppose my bike (which is older than me), and our car are other old items that I love.

  6. We have our share of ugly and wore stuff around the house. I’m sure at some point we will replace, but its just not high on our priority list. We have been talking about refinishing our hard woods floors since we moved into our house 17 years ago.

  7. I plan on writing about this next (how we transformed one ugly Craigslist find into a treasure) but we are going through the same right now. There are certain things we would like to upgrade or replace. But, if we can’t sell the original item for a decent price to offset the replacement cost, we don’t do it for now.

    As we unpack our belongings we have realized we have some “pretty” things to sell and some “ugly” things that can make do for a little while longer.

  8. I’m always going back and forth on this. Our house definitely needs updating and sometimes I go crazy thinking about how ugly our flooring is, our bathroom, etc….but then I think about how much $$$$ we are saving by delaying renovations! And then I get happy! Ah!!!!!!

  9. I’m completely with you. Our house really hasn’t been updated in a number of ways since we moved in 9 years ago, and even the stuff we got was already a few years old and wasn’t top of the line anyway as it was, for the most part, builders model stuff. So we have lots of flooring, cabinets, counters, and such that is 18 years old and wasn’t that spectacular probably even 18 years ago. It does drive me nuts sometime.

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