Crazy garbage-picking wife

by DaniGirl on June 13, 2011 · 7 comments

in Happy @ home, Life, the Universe and Everything

That’s what Beloved called me last week when I returned from errands with yet another car-load of other people’s junk, rescued from the curbside. “I’m going to start calling you ‘crazy garbage-picking wife,'” he said, while helping me pull the old, probably antique desk out of the car and carry it down to Simon’s room. I shrugged and said that was fine with me, I’ve been called crazy over worse things.

Last weekend was the spring giveaway weekend in Ottawa (I’m only mildly perturbed that they’ve repurposed my “Ottawa’s hidden treasures” phrase) and treasures is exactly what we found. The aforementioned desk, for example. It’s a kid-sized version of an old secretary’s desk, with two wooden drawers and a pull-out typewriter table. You can tell by the dove-tail joints and lack of particle board that it’s a vintage item, probably older than me at minimum. It also happens to have itty-bitty tole flowers painted on it, but it’s nothing that some sandpaper and a good coat of clean paint won’t cover. And Simon loves it, flowers and all.

We also got a couple of nice green reclining patio chairs complete with pads, one of which is rocker, and a matching umbrella. The green and white in the umbrella and pads bring the pieces together nicely with the white extendable patio table complete with removable leaf I also filched from the end of someone’s driveway a couple of weeks ago as I walked the boys home from school. (I was glad to have Tristan around to help me carry it home, and I’m sure we only looked a little strange walking down the street carrying it.) And just yesterday, I found a set of four green stacking patio chairs to complete the ensemble. All free!

And that’s not even the best deal I got in free outdoor furniture this season. One day I noticed a gorgeous wicker settee, chair and table at the curb and immediately pulled over. There was an elderly gentleman in the open garage as I stepped out to inspect them, and I asked how much he wanted, sure he’d say $50 or even $100 for this lovely, sturdy set absolutely oozing with character and in near-perfect condition. “Help yourself,” he told me with a smile, and laughed at my whoop of joy. When they wouldn’t all fit in my car, he even pulled the table and chair back away from the curb so I could make a second run and come back for the rest of the set. It’s like they were made for my porch, don’t you think?

170:365 My happy place

Beloved thinks it’s a little bit redneck of me to stop and collect other people’s junk with such unbridled glee, but I can’t help myself. Other than completely tricking out my porch and back patio this year, I’ve also scored a basketball and on a separate occasion, a Little Tykes basketball net, and a set of a dozen or so hockey sticks of various sizes. (Sadly, the snow plow crushed our hockey net — also a curbside treasure! — this winter, but maybe I’ll be able to find another one!) I’ve also found an adorable kid-sized wicker chair that is just crying out to be a photo prop. Through the years, I’ve also collected bookcases and shelving units (I simply cannot leave those behind, one can ALWAYS use more shelves in life), fireplace tools, flower pots, books, and outdoor toys.

Right now, four driveways down, there’s a really quirky metal CD stand in the shape of fishbones that I am trying hard to resist. At least, I think it’s a CD stand. Either that, or a really weird sculpture. What is it about found treasures that make them so appealing? I would never look twice at this thing if I saw it in a store. Regardless, I’m having a hard time not putting on my shoes and going to see if it’s still there.

And to tell the truth? It’s not just on giveaway day that I’ll stop to check out the discards. I have been known to peruse the curb on the morning of garbage day, scanning for treasures.

So, I’m okay if Beloved thinks I’m crazy. Erm, crazier. Crazy like a fox, I say. A garbage-picking, thrifty fox. When you see me on that TV show about compulsive hoarders, you can say you saw it here first.

Are you a crazy garbage picker too? What’s the best thing you’ve ever collected from the curb?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Wendy [mapsgirl] June 13, 2011 at 7:06 am

OMG! If you could get my front porch to look so comfy and cozy like yours does, I’d let let you pick all the garbage you want!

I’ve never picked anything up off a curb, but I do love a garage sale!!

2 Sara June 13, 2011 at 10:36 am

Wow! I’m not the only one. *whew*

I’ve collected couches when I was in college and couldn’t afford anything other than milk crates. There was one couch that I found and kept until husband #1 and I got married. We ended up selling it for $350 at our yard sale. Apparently it was worth a lot more.

I’ve also brought home a ton of toys for Lil’ Man. I’ve cleaned them up and he’s never not played with something I’ve brought home.

My favourite dinette set (which was ruined by my cat before he was declawed) was a red vintage 1950’s style set. I miss it.

I frequent freecycle on a daily basis for those little things I need but don’t really want to pay for.


3 Amy @ Muddy Boots June 13, 2011 at 10:52 am

Separated at birth.

4 neeroc June 13, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Love the porch, awesome finds. I am married to an unabashed garbage picker, whereas I tend to be more of a stealth picker. Although this past giveaway I managed to score a milkglass vase, and a BMP coffeepot, creamer and sugar!

I am a danger on Freecycle as well, it’s a good thing we’ve bought a bigger house *g*

5 Paula June 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

One man’s (woman’s) junk is another’s teasure! You certainly found a few. Enjoy the summer from your front porch!

6 FabulousSavings.CA June 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Love it! RT @danigirl: Why my husband calls me "crazy garbage-picking wife": (and I'm okay with that!)

7 Amber June 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm

You are just being environmentally responsible. Just think of the tragedy, if that stuff ended up in the landfill and you had to buy patio furniture. This way, everybody wins.

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