Monday, 15 April 2013

Treasure Hunting - One Man's Trash ....

Heavy Garbage Pick-Up ..... Tis the season in Cape Breton. 

The time of year when folks can clean out their basement and garage and leave unwanted items curbside for the municipality to lug off to the landfill. Today is pick-up day and the city streets are lined with rusty hot water tanks and broken hunks of plastic. 

Heavy Garbage Pick-Up is not only a great time to get rid of stuff, but it's also a great time for some good ole treasure hunting! Now, I'm not usually one to purposely go rummaging through other people's garbage, but I always get excited to see what others are throwing away. And of course, is it of any use to me?

Now I grew up on a farm and my Dad is somewhat of a collector ('hoarder' according to my Mom!) My weekends were spent riding shotgun as he traveled to various farm sales and auctions. Livestock and farm machinery was the name of the game, but once in awhile, an old Radio Flyer wagon or steam trunk would end up in the mix of bartered items. That is why I could never stay home ..... treasure hunting was in my blood!  I even got my first little puppy, Benji, from a farm sale ..... xoxo.

So, one sunshiny afternoon when I was on my way to pick up the kids from school, something shimmery caught my eye. Something peeking up through yet another pile of roadside trash. Something I can never pass up ..... mirror! I have so many mirrors, and not because I am vain, but because over the years I have found oodles of uses for them. Interior, exterior, dark corners, table-scapes, mosaics, etc. and when it's free? Bring it on!

I quickly pulled off the road. And suddenly got an overwhelming feeling that the entire world was watching me! That I was doing something illegal, and the garbage police were going to show up with sirens blaring! So in a dash, I bolted from my driver's side door, threw the broken lampshade and wicker basket off my mirror, did a quick check to ensure it was intact and shoved it in the trunk ..... all within seconds!  But then I hesitated, not because I was second guessing my awesome mirror snag, or I heard sirens in the distance, oh no. But as I was scurrying away I caught a glimpse of another little something .....

You can see my mirror find in the background.

This chair. 

Funny how I would never pick either of these things up in a store and actually pay money for them. But because it was roadside and free, it was totally worth the investment. I envisioned this little chair in my baby girl's room, pulled up to a dressing table as she drapes herself in jewels playing dress-up. Of course a coat of spray paint and a fabric change are in order, but the daintiness and curved backrest is so sweet. Another great thing about free stuff ..... if it doesn't work, I can toss it roadside without regret. So home with me it came to a new life.  Recycle. Reduce. Reuse.

Here are some other finds. An old ladder (photography props), a wicker planter, some old skiis (winter display) and the toddler rocker and chandelier are finishing touches that I needed for baby girls nursery! All need some TLC, but I am looking forward to it!

I, myself look forward to Spring cleaning and getting rid of projects gone wrong, large renovation pieces and broken bits that you have no idea what to do with on regular garbage day. We've recently demolished old built-in closet organizers to make way for more useful, less space-hogging versions. (Post coming soon!) But our garage is housing all of the project mess. So, Rob and I lugged most of it to the road this past weekend. And before our garage door had even closed, a pick-up truck pulled in, loaded it and it was gone! Obviously they had a use for it! Recycle, Reduce, Reuse.

Not much is left in our pile of discarded items. An old steam-mop (that never really worked), a broken hulla-hoop, snow scraper,  and some very large, forest green, wall-to-wall vertical blinds that were included with the house purchase. Yep, if you're interested, they are all on our front lawn for the rest of the day! ;-)

We always try to get our stuff out a few days prior to the scheduled pick up date. That gives people time to rummage through and see what they can use. It is so much better to give items a second chance rather than tossing into a landfill. 

I also find, if you stand back and look at all of the trash on the side of the road this time of year, you think a little more before purchasing. Through my experience, I see a lot of pressed board desks and shelving and huge plastic toys in the piles.  Buying things of quality and that have an end of life recycling component are extremely important. Now, you don't always need to spend a lot of money, start looking at yard sales, junk shops, and on sites like Craigslist and Kijiji. Not only will you get something unique and better quality, you can feel good about shopping local and doing something for your environment. 

And my favorite find of the day ... 3 old solid wood doors! Beautiful!

Happy Treasure Hunting!

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