Thrift Store Find: A Dresser We’ll Make Into A Media Cabinet

We’ve been on the hunt for a new media console for our living room since, well, as long as we’ve lived here almost. That “hunt” is mostly defined by periodic stops through our favorite furniture-rich thrift stores to see if anything grabbed us. We were probably a couple of months from giving up entirely. But then I got this text from Sherry.

Sherry had run into Diversity Thrift while I stayed in the car with Clara. This is how discouraged this hunt had become… I didn’t even get out of the car anymore. Here’s the pic Sherry sent me, which was enough for me to get my butt out of the driver’s seat and check out Mia in person.

She fit the criteria we were looking for in a new unit – which mostly consisted of “just be bigger than our current piddly little guy” – which you can see below from this post about our new TV (which further dwarfed it). A bonus would be more storage. Six drawers or more were on our wish list.

So we brought Mia home. We were eager to put her directly into the living room, but she had some wobby leg issues (as we were warned on the $59 price tag). As in, every leg was wobbly. Which probably explains why a handsome clean-lined dresser like this sat at the thrift store for over a month (the tag indicated that it had originally been $79, but after going unsold for a month it was dropped down to $59).

Wobbly legs can definitely be a deterrent because they go to the heart of that item of furniture. You know, it’s not something that a little paint or some stain can fix. It’s filed under “structural integrity.” But Sherry and I examined all the drawers (which slid easily and were made solidly) and checked the rest of it for any functional damage and found none. So we decided not to let those wobbly legs scare us off…

I hadn’t ever fixed wobbly legs before, so I was going into it a bit blind. But I figured I could just identify what was loose and hopefully tighten it. For instance, this center brace shimmied back and forth waaaay too easily.

In fully removing it (which I did before reattaching it) I discovered an old screw on the side that was supposed to hold that leg in tight. So with a quick replacement screw, I was already making progress.

When I reattached the brace with more new screws, the center section got significantly better.

And having discovered the secret leg-screw (wait, that sounds wrong) I was on my way to tightening all of the wobbly legs. But In some cases I found that merely replacing the screws and getting them in there nice and tightly wasn’t enough to stop the wobble completely (although it was a huge step in the right direction). So thanks to some Googling, I read about the suggestion to add some wood glue around the joint. I used the end of a paperclip to really work the glue into the seam as well as possible. Then I used a moistened rag to wipe off the excess glue around the outside so it didn’t look all messy like it does in this picture (this was taken pre-wipe):

Once all of the legs were glued and screwed (again, my wording is less than stellar here) Sherry helped me turn the piece upright and – resisting the temptation to test its wobbliness – we let the glue dry for a good 24 hours. The next day we went in and gave it a gentle shake.

It was AWESOME. No more shaking or shimmying at all.

Unfortunately Mia, even with her new solid legs, isn’t quite ready to come inside to the living room. She needs a good cleaning – and possibly some refinishing or painting, depending on how well the cleaning goes – before we let her in. You can see her bumps and bruises pretty well in this photo taken back in the thrift store…

… so we’ll be back with the updated & cleaned up Mia after we’re done scrubbing her down, bringing her into the living room, and getting the TV all set up (we anchor it to the wall to keep things kid-safe). Sherry’s actually scrubbing away on it right now so as soon as she finished up, takes pics, and writes the post we’ll be back with that info. In the meantime, how do you guys find furniture? Does one of you run in while someone else stays in the car? Are the photos texted back and forth? Do you accidentally end up naming things thanks to text typos? We can’t be the only ones…

Psst- Clara shared a few more holiday-fun-ish details with her penpal in Germany over on Young House Life.


  1. says

    Glue and screw… you sound like Mike Holmes!

    I love Mia! I can’t wait to see her all shined up and in her new home.

    Any idea of how you’re going to include the media bits? Put them in drawers? Remove drawers? Put drawer fronts on hinges?

    • Lisa says

      I can’t wait to see how you guys switch to a hinge! I’ve been trying to figure that out from online tutorials and no success. Looking forward to it! :)

  2. Meredith says

    Okay, I like the furniture, but can we discuss how John has Sherry in his phone: “Wife-Sherry”? I can see that being necessary in a Sister-Wives-type situation, but I would think either “wife” or “Sherry” would be sufficient labels. That made me laugh.

    • says

      Hahahaha, we laugh about that too!! I think somewhere we read an article that said to label your wife and hubby in your phone like that so in an emergency someone could grab your phone and call your wife instead of just seeing a bunch of names.


    • says

      That *is* a good idea in case of emergency. But, I immediately thought of Sister Wives, too!

      Question: Great find! Do you have any concerns about remotes working through the wood, or will you be placing cable box, etc on top of the console?

      I just found the perfect media console last week, but unfortunately it wasn’t $59.

    • says

      We’re thinking we’ll hinge one of the drawers so it can open and the remote can have clear access. Although a few others have tipped us off to new technology that works through wood or has a sensor you place on the top of the cabinet, so those are intriguing!


    • Karen F says

      I found that funny, too, but after reading John’s explanation, it makes sense! My husband is in my phone as ICE, but I often wonder if anyone would actually know what that meant!

    • JenB says

      It made me laugh, too. My husband’s name is Rich so mine says Rich husband..haha.. I did that in case I’m in an accident (God forbid) or something like that (or if I lose the phone). Whoever finds the phone can ID my husband and call him??

    • says

      I just have my husband as my top person in my favorites contact list (one of the options on an iphone). I think the only person labeled by title is my mom.

      Funny thing — my husband actually has the same name as my brother, so my husband is in my phone with his full name. But he’s still my very top contact in favorites.

    • says

      Appreciate the perspectives from all on phone labeling, and as it hits home very hard, please-please always have ID on you! Things can happen when one is in an accident (phones fly, are destroyed, cannot be found, etc.), and having ID is key- especially in more than one spot.

      Hub learned this the painful way (pun unintended) when he was in this accident nearly 3 years ago:

      Why he didn’t have ID on him is a mystery, but for a while he was a John Doe who was not expected to live.

      John and Sherry, please feel free to not post this comment. It just hit home and if it saves one life, peace.

    • Michelle N says

      I laughed at that too! Great idea for emergency though, never thought about that before. My husband is saved as “My Love” with a heart at the end, guess I should add husband just in case.

    • says

      I thought the same thing! I doubt, however, that Sherry’s ring tone is “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.” Mine is. And that can be filed under “Romance” at our house.

    • hjc says

      My first thought was, I wonder what his other wives’ names are? No worries, Sherry, you’re obviously his favorite since he’s never even mentioned the other ones! :-) And Mia looks perfect for the space.

    • Alisha says

      My husband is listed in my phone as BabyCakes–and has been the entire time we dated. I also have my phone set to verbally announce whomever is calling. So whenever I am with my family and my phone starts to ring, my sister and folks get a kick out of yelling to me “Hey Alisha! BabyCakes is calling!!”

      BUT what I wanna know is–Sherry, do you have some new bangs in your life?!? Because they look great in that Instagram feed. Seriously, if they are faux bangs you should consider it. I have total bang envy.

    • Shareen says

      I often change my “description” on my husband’s phone (when I’m angry – “lady who definitely is not making you dinner”; fun times – “wifey”; randomly – “you better watch what you say mister, because I know ALL your secrets”). I love it when he finally sees the new one I put in. So entertaining.

  3. Jennifer W says

    “Wife- Sherry” is cracking me up. Guess it helps to know which wife is calling.

    I’m looking for something similar, but not having much luck on craigslist.

    • says

      Hahahaha, I laugh about that too! I think somewhere we read an article that said to label your wife and hubby in your phone like that so in an emergency someone could grab your phone and call your wife instead of just seeing a bunch of names.


  4. Kim says

    Oooo I’m sure this will look AWESOME when you guys beautify it!

    My question is: Were you able to fit this bad boy in your car?! I always stray away from furniture shopping while driving my sedan because I doubt any of it will fit in my car.

    • says

      We actually had to borrow John’s parent’s car. Wish we could fit big things in our Altima but so far we’ve only gotten away with squeezing some pretty giant bi-fold doors in there to make a screen in our first house’s basement :)


    • Jessica says

      Kim, I’m so glad you asked how Sherry & John got it in their car–I was thinking the same thing! I only recently considered repurposing older furniture and am wondering how I’m going to transport my finds. I think I see several U-Haul rentals in my future!

      Sherry and John, I LOVE your blog and can’t wait to buy your book! I also have a question for you — I noticed someone posted that they buy things from the ReStore. I also recently bought something from the ReStore–a book shelf that I plan to paint. It smelled musty after spending some time in their warehouse. I put it in a plastic bag with a fabric softener sheets and hope it will now smell better (a tip I read about regarding musty old books). They had some great pieces there, that I would have loved to have considered buying but I can’t imagine how I would “de-mustify” larger pieces. Would you have any suggestions or is it better to stay away from vintage furniture that could be musty-smelling?

      Thanks for writing such a great blog!

  5. Leigh Anne says

    Good thing you clarified that Sherry is your wife in your iPhone. Wouldn’t want to confuse her with wife #2 i.e. Peggy;) Great find! You all are masters of thrifting!

    • says

      Wait!?! The bangs are real!!!! I thought you were trying out some faux bangs via a backward pony loop for a fun pic.
      I bet they look awesome!!! I will live vicariously through you as i could never do blunt bangs- 2 front cowlicks! ugh.
      Can’t wait to see more pics!

    • Karen F says

      re: a bangs cutting post, yes please! I’ve trimmed my 3 yr old daughter’s bangs before (this is after she originally cut them HERSELF! And she did such a good job I didn’t even need to fix them), now she wants me to trim them every night. But I cannot imagine trimming my own, let along cutting in new bangs! You are one brave lady, and they look amazing Sherry!

    • JenB says

      The bangs look great! I’ve done it before and seeing your pic has me reaching for the scissors…’s such a simple little thing that can change your look pretty dramatically. Not that your hair wasn’t cute before:) You’re lucky that it looks good no matter how you cut it!

  6. Allisen says

    YAY!!! I bought a dresser just like this a couple months ago for the same purpose. Its been sitting in the garage ever since. I’m just not sure where to start… Now I’ll be able to take your lead, yippee! Is it similar to Clara’s dresser (ie. wood veneer with laminate top)?

  7. Riva says

    Mia is pretty! I don’t live in VA so this is pointless for me to say, but the drawer pulls on the dresser underneath Mia are kinda foxy …. did you get a pic of that item too per chance? Congrats on that amazing deal!

  8. says

    that’s a sweet addition to your living room. out of curiosity, will you modify some drawers (remove fronts)to allow your cable box to receive the remote signals? this is the problem that i ran into when i almost purchased a similar dresser for our living room TV.

    as for the texting, my husband prefers i do the quick-pass & let him know if there’s anything worthwhile. that is when i can convince him to go furniture-shopping with me since he insists that i “piddle” around.

    by the way, thanks to the YHL recommendation shout-outs for love of jesus thrift, i dragged my parents out there a oouple of days after christmas when were up visiting for the holidays. that yieled a sweet $5 bookcase (which we replaced the top shelf on) & a $25 mid-century side-table which needs a bit of TLC. i wanted tthe bigger matching drsser but there was officially no room in the inn, so to speak. this will have to be a regular rotation visit when i’m up visiting the ‘rents, much to my husband’s dismay of me bringing in new projects!

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