This is our diner table.
My wife and I bought this table from a “recycle shop” in Japan, when we first moved in together, back in 2006. We’ve owned it for about a decade, and it cost us about $20.
This table shared lots of stuff with us, and it tells a lot about some of our values, including our frugality, and what really matters to us.
A table, to me, is the perfect example of an item you could pay anywhere from a few bucks, to thousands of dollars. At the end of the day, what matters to me is that the table serves its purpose, and for a long time.
We eat on the table. We play family board games every Sunday with our son. He’s been drawing pictures on it (and sometimes on the paper that we put on the table, too). When our son started walking, we glued some rubber protective thingies on it, so he wouldn’t hurt his head. He ate the rubber thingies. The ones he didn’t eat, he ended up tearing away from the table and play with. We’ve done the same for our daughter, and she’s also taken those down and she played with it.
When the kids take the rubber thingies away, they damage the table’s wood. We don’t care, the table was cheap, and still serves its purpose. We can paint the table in some completely different color one day, if we feel like it. The table was cheap, and it would still serve its purpose in a different color.
The table even traveled with us from Japan to the US. The only reason we did that was because my company paid for the relocation, so moving the table was essentially the cheapest option for us. Had we had to move on our own dime, we would have sold the table back in Japan, or thrown it away if nobody wanted it. We don’t care, the table was cheap, and any other sturdy and cheap table could serve the same purpose on the other side of the ocean.
I don’t get attached to things, in particular to their designs. I like stuff to be functional. I like that I don’t have to care if my kids will damage the table when they draw on it with some pencil, or scratch the wood with their teeth (I swear kids do that!). The table has actually quite a big amount of pencil marks on it. The table is full of memories, and none of them is about how expensive it was, or how angry we were when something bad happened to it.
I love The table.
I was going to quote Full Metal Jacket for my table:
This is my table. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My table is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my table is useless. Without my table, I am useless.
But then I realized this had nothing to do with what I feel about The table. It carries lots of memories with it, but what I like about the table is that we don’t have to worry about what happens to it. Because it was cheap. Did I mention that more than 5 times already?
I’ve seen some people spend thousands of dollars on their table and chairs. And then buy a new table and chairs when they move, because the old table and chairs don’t match the new house’s color. I expect such people will have a hard time reaching financial independence, unless they’re already extremely well off.
Our table has cost us approximately $2 per year in total, and that number keeps dropping, the longer we keep it.