Thrifting Fail.

My husband was right.

There, I said it.

When I brought home this $50 dresser from the thrift store, he was not happy skeptical.

 He thought it was ugly. (It was, but I had a vision. Remember?)

He thought it was falling apart. (It was a little beat up. The drawers didn't pull out very smoothly.)

He reminded me that it wasn't even the right size or height, based on what I said I wanted originally. (No arguments here; he was right. I wanted something much taller and not quite as wide.)

Quite frankly, he thought it was a bad purchase. But I convinced him to trust my vision for this ugly dresser. I made him believe we could salvage it into a beautiful vintage piece.

And we did! Once we blasted it with semi gloss white paint and added gold hardware, it was looking pretty spiffy. Not perfect, but a million times better than it was before. 

But there was one problem: It smelled.

I should clarify that it wasn't the whole piece of furniture that smelled; it was only the drawers. It didn't stink up our room when I moved it in there. But when you opened the drawers, there was a persistent musty smell that sometimes comes with old, neglected furniture.

I don't know about you, but I hate that smell. I have trained myself not to breathe through my nose in thrift stores because I dislike that smell so much. (Which is probably why I didn't notice that this piece smelled, but that's beside the point.)

I tried to get rid of the smell. My first method was this tip from Martha Stewart. I placed little containers of white vinegar each drawer and left them in there for a week. 

One week later, the drawers still had a musty odor. This time I decided to try wiping down each drawer with cleaner and leaving some baking soda in each drawer to soak up the smell.

I thought it had improved slightly after this method, so I decided to stick a few t-shirts in the drawer for a few days to see if the clothes would soak up the musty smell. Sure enough, they did. I don't know about you, but I don't want to put my freshly laundered clothes in a drawer only to have them soak up an "old" smell. No way!

I wasn't ready to give up on the dresser just yet (after all, we put a decent amount of time and energy into salvaging it), so I took my measuring tape around the house to see if it would work anywhere else. After all, it would be a good storage piece for anything other than clothing. I thought it would be a nice console below our TV, but it was too wide. 

I thought I could swap it out with the dresser in our formal living room, but once again it was too wide. (It's 77 inches wide, which is pretty darn big.)

I thought about putting it in my office/art studio where I currently have some Ikea storage. Once again, too wide!

So that brings me to today. I still have this dresser in our master bedroom, and it's covered in laundry baskets filled with my clothes – the same clothes that should be inside the dresser. It looks really junky, and my neat-freak husband is not feeling it. 

I have officially given up on keeping this piece of furniture, but I'm not sure what to do with it. I'm hosting a garage sale for my church soon, so maybe I'll sell it there. Or maybe I'll just donate it back to the thrift store where I bought it! What do you think?

There is a lesson to be learned here, though:

• First of all, sometimes my husband is right. (Don't tell him I said so.)

• I need to be more thorough when examining my thrift store purchases. Never again will I buy a chest of drawers without opening each drawer and assessing the quality- and smell! 

If I hadn't been so eager to find a dresser for my room, I probably would have patiently examined this one and passed on it. Instead, I convinced myself that I could make it work. And in the end I wasted a lot of my time (and my sweet husband's time) trying to salvage something that was never right for us in the first place.

Oh well, you can't win them all! Does anyone have a beautiful dresser they want to sell to me? :)

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  1. You may still be able to salvage it! Put each drawer into a trash bag with lots of cat litter. Tie the bag up tight and leave it for two weeks. See if that doesn't remove the smell.

  2. Hopefully, Kristi's idea will work! Bottom line, when thrifting, you can't win 'em all. Most of the time, I bring home winners also, but I've done the same thing- get impatient and don't find the "perfect" item and settle for less. You beat yourself up for a bit, learn from it, and move on. Because before you know it, some awesome piece will be waiting for you and have your name on it and all will be right with the world! Let us know how it all turns out!

  3. Can you paint it with a coat of Kilz primer? I've heard of people having success covering cigarette odors with that stuff.

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