Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful time of the year

Several months back, in one of my favorite-things-about-Sydney posts, I told you a little about Council collection, or cleanup. Basically, this is a designated week where the people in a certain suburb put anything from their house they want to throw away out on the curb. During the course of the week, big trucks come by and cart everything away. At the beginning of the year, you get a little fridge magnet in the mail that tells you when your two cleanup weeks are. And ours was a couple weeks ago. Oh, the glee in our household!

Aren't you even a little interested in what people throw away? I sure am. I don't mean old newspapers or empty milk cartons, but the bigger things. Items they once needed or wanted and don't anymore. Maybe it's because it offers a sneak peek into the lives of people you know almost nothing about, but I'm always interested to see what they bring to the curb. Yes, I am nosy. But at least I own up to it!

The other reason we love Council collection week is that it affords the chance to score some free stuff. Lots of people do this, but there seems to be some embarrassment about it. Others are somewhat covert in their missions. Not us! We cruise with the windows down, music playing. The way we see it, our neighbors are sharing with us, and we are with them.

So, on a lovely, spring-like Monday morning a couple weeks ago Jason and I set out to see what offerings were on the sidewalks of our neighborhood. Ava was in school, Jan (Jason's mom)looked after Nate and Grace and off we went. It was like a date. A scavenging for free stuff date. Which, in my opinion, is the best kind.

This trip was unusually fruitful. Here's a few pics from the day. Some stuff we nabbed, some we left for others to find.

I know it's hard to tell from the picture, but this is a full-length mirror with a stand that we found. It has a really nice solid wood frame. "Baby," I said to Jason, "Throw that thing in the truck!" Not really. We don't have a truck. But we took it anyway. I've been needing a full-length mirror in our bedroom to check my oufits. Score!

I really liked this chair--there were actually two of them. I was thinking we could be all DIY on it, but Jason thought it was too rickety and beyond our skill level to fix. (It doesn't take much to be beyond our skill level.) So, I bid it adieu and we moved on.

These two chairs were found at different houses--one of them actually about a month ago. Isn't it funny how they almost match? The one on the left needed a little wood glue on the back legs, but it's going in our hallway to hold my bag and "going out" stuff. The one on the right we are sanding (which is why it looks a little rough there) and painting and I'll use it for my new desk in our kitchen. (More on that in a minute.)

Now, I gotta tell you, I wasn't wild about these at first. I didn't really like the print. It may surprise you that a person who gets furniture off the street would be so choosy. What can I say--I am a woman of mystery and contradiction. But they were pretty comfy and Jason thought they'd work in the room he uses as an office. So, we took 'em. And if I find some slipcovers, they might even make it to the Big Leagues. Living room, baby. Ohhh yeeeaahh.

This was my favorite find. Y'all, there ain't a thing wrong with this little desk. And now it is mine. ALL MINE. When we pulled over to look at it, a lady was walking her dog across the street. "Oooo, that's a nice one!" she called out. And so we had a little bonding moment with her about our good fortune. Score!

And here I am, back home with some of the spoils. Don't you think free furniture does wonderful things for my complexion? Too bad Estee Lauder can't grind that up and bottle it!

I am normally way too nervous to try to paint or fix things up. I am not exactly crafty. (See the post about my pineapple-upside-down-cake for evidence of this.) But there's no pressure when the stuff was free to begin with, and destined for the landfill. That, and the fact that Jason's mom is doing most of the hard stuff helps!

Well, I am off to bed. Hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Find any cool stuff in your neighborhood? Helpful hint--make sure it's being thrown out before you boost it from the front yard!


  1. OMG, why couldn't our trip to Oz have coincided with this??

    I love love LOVE that desk. I can't believe someone was throwing it away. Are you going to paint it or keep it as is? I could envision really modernizing that with a paint job.

  2. I wish they did that round here - looks like you had a fab day! We have Freecycle but it's not the same as being able to window shop your neighbourhood.

  3. Neat ! That looks like so much fun. It's kinda like a treasure hunt, huh? Other people's junque is so much more interesting than our own, isn't it ? Love the desk too.

  4. Yes--we are painting it, actually. I went back and forth about it, then Nate scratched the finish with a screw, so that kind of sealed the deal. I'll let you know how it all comes out!

  5. Congrats on your great finds! It's like the craig's list of Australia... I think I may have rescued free furniture at the apt complex before. You know how some people will put stuff out by the dumpsters but not in it as if to say, "here you go, please take this, i know i shouldn't be throwing this away, but i just can't be bothered finding something else to do with it!" love you guys!