I have always been one to try and figure out how to use what I have when a new need arises rather than purchasing something. I can think of lots of examples but one sticks out in my mind that I thought I would share. Even when something seems on it's last leg (pun intended - you'll see why), it can be repurposed.
When we found out we were expecting twins the shock of needing two of most things was a little overwhelming. Two car seats, two cribs, two high chairs, twice as many diapers, etc. One thing that we did not need two of was a dresser and changing table to begin with. We were gifted my husband's bedroom set from his parents and so decided to use the mirrored dresser to hold abundance of clothes that we were gifted with through 3 baby showers and many, many gifts.
We still needed a changing table and with two babies, wanted to keep things close at hand. We had an old 6 drawer dresser on legs (much like couch legs), but one of them had broken off. Other than that minor problem, it was still very functional. It had a shiny veneer finish so painting it really wasn't an option for our nursery. Even if it had been an option, I was not going to be painting while pregnant and secondly, I ended up on bedrest by my second trimester. My husband and mother in law were both working full time and I was working part time. There really wasn't time to ask them to sand it and paint it for me. Once the twins arrived, I would be too busy anyway.
So my husband bought wood and enclosed the bottom of the dresser so it wasn't going to wobble (the last thing you need with a squirmy baby). He also enclosed the top of the dresser with wood about 3-4 inches high. We purchased a changing cushion to fit on top and then he put a wood divider at the end of the cushion, leaving a smaller section on the right end where we kept diapers, wipes, lotion, baby monitor, etc. We used cloth diapers except for when we were away from home and for two babies there were quite a few, so those filled 2-3 drawers. Other drawers contained towels and washcloths, onesies and pajamas. We used this changing table/dresser combo for several years including adding another baby almost 2 years later.
When it came time to move in a bigger dresser and we no longer had a need for a changing table, we moved this piece into our play area used it for books, toys etc.
When we outgrew that need it moved to our school area, where we used it to house math manipulatives, craft supplies, crayons, construction paper, etc. Eventually we put up some hanging cabinets and we transitioned those supplies to that location for storage.
Again, we had a piece of furniture that was still function, while not pretty but hated to just toss it and we knew that no one would buy it. So this time we moved it into our utility room in the basement. It tucked nicely under existing open shelving and we were able to finally corral all the tools and household maintenance items that find their way to any house.
To say we have gotten our money's worth out of this piece of furniture would be an understatement. Too many times in our disposable society, we think nothing of discarding something when it no longer fits our needs. I, too am guilty of this - particularly with regards to electronics, which have planned obsolescence. I, for one, am going to try to think of more ways that we can use what we already have.