When it comes to the frugal branch of the homemaking arts, I am pretty much a failure as a couponer. In fact, I’m lucky if I manage to redeem the coupons stuck right on the package for instant savings. But I do have a nose for other people’s garbage. Because I’m all for saving the earth, saving money, and saving hassle.
Since my last post on dumpster diving in May, I’ve taken abundant advantage of the fact that people leave all sorts of goodies out next to their garbage can on garbage day. Every so often on that magical day I take a walk or a bike ride around the neighborhood to see if it’s my lucky day. In fact, not one of the following items was found any further than a block from home. Just look at these great finds:
One utility cabinet with six drawers, left only three houses down by our neighbors who just moved out. We snagged this minutes ahead of the garbage truck this morning. Just one more reason to get up early.
One cute little nightstand just right for Raj’s room.
The stereo on top was found in the same pile of garbage, if I recall. It has a tape player, which is perfect for our library’s large collection of kids books on cassette tape (as well as the substantial collection of dramatized Shakespeare plays on cassette tape that I found two library book-sales ago). The CD player works more reliably than our new cheapo Walmart CD player, although it does have its own eccentricities.
One cardboard box from a truly gigantic television. The kids (and Tony) have repurposed it into a circular playhouse.
Here’s the inside of the house, where you can see, among other things, Axa’s homemade “laptop” with a great dinosaur screen saver.
One teal beach chair with attached pocket and drink holder. I like this chair, and often sit in it as I watch the sugar gliders frolicking on the back porch. The only weird thing about it is that the gap between the back and the seat is unusually large, so if you’re not used to it you might find yourself slipping out the back. But I don’t think it’s possible to actually fall right through to the ground.
One blue beach chair with comfy head pillow, that folds up into a backpack.
It’s true that this one had to be fixed up with duct tape (causing Tony to almost veto its requisition), but it’s a great little comfortable chair. Also in the background you can see a green plastic patio chair with a matching . . . something that’s too high for a footstool and two low for a table. The children use it as a table with their mini camping chairs.
Even better, last week my church women’s group had a gathering of like-minded souls where we all brought stuff we didn’t use any more and took home some new treasures. Tony fell into a momentary bout of despair when he saw I had brought home the equivalent of three shopping bags worth of other people’s junk. But he quickly mellowed out (or anyway he ought to have) when he realized that several of the items, rather than adding to the clutter in our house, were actually designed to organize and mitigate it. I also made sure to tell him about all the items I restrained myself from bringing home. The following is only a selection of my amazing finds.
Now Tony’s shoes have a home other than most of the floor in our walk-in closet.
Axa got one too:
If you are my age or older and grew up Mormon, you probably remember spending a good portion of the Sundays of your youth singing songs out of this book:
I got this lovely little metal box to wrap a present for Axa’s birthday. (Don’t tell!)
And what homeschooling mom could resist free educational materials?
We have a fun little menu planned for the traditional brunch after Axa’s baptism next month. Now we can add mini muffins!
But my favorite find of all was these vintage cookie cutters. I remember my mom having some of these exact cutters when I was a kid (including the lovely ceramic cookie stamp), and I think they were kind of antiques even back then. Also, my cookie cutters got lost in some move several years ago, so every time I want to make cookies I have to borrow Axa’s, and then I can only make little hearts. Now we have a bit more variety. Aren’t they wonderful?
Thank you to all my friends and neighbors who have made this post possible by passing their used treasures on to me instead of the dump. Mother earth is thrilled, and so am I.