Our Wonderful Followers who come back again and again to read about us...

Friday, May 12, 2017

One Man's Junk is Another Man's Treasure

Once a year, in our small town of Chilton, there is an event called Bulky Item Pick-Up. You can set out anything you wish to dispose of during the weekend, and on Monday morning it is picked up by the city trash collectors in large trucks.

Many of the items set out for bulky item pick-up can be reused, repaired, recycled, or just let it go for trash. Yes we are Garbage Pickers! People make the rounds in their cars and trucks and trailers, picking through usable items set to the curb. We found some wonderful items that were definitely usable for us.

The first stop we made nabbed us a perfectly good Barker brand Blue Boy RV waste tote device. It was clean and only appears to be slightly used. One little cap is missing, that we found another cap that fits. This is a really handy item when you are parked somewhere and wish to empty your grey water holding tank (which fills up from the shower and kitchen sink water faster than the black toilet tank) They run in the $90 range for this size! One quick rinse with bleach water and we are good to go.

Also from the same house was a gorgeous oriental rug, carefully rolled up and set on top of their pile. We unrolled it and looked. No stains, no odors, no rips, no tears. Not even really worn except for the fringes which I think someone vacumned it in the roller to unravel it. The fringe is still intact, just looser strings than it originally was twisted right from the company. It's a very thick lovely rug and I found rugs from this company in this size online for $800. We took that home and aired it out overnight just in case and checked it over carefully. Wonderful! It is now in our bedroom.

At this same house, we found this perfectly good electric heater. We tested it at home and it works fine, and we have no idea why it was tossed out. I wiped it down (it looks much better now than in the pic) and it came in handy in the garage when I was staining last week.  These run in the $30 range.  Score! 

We took a loop around town on Thursday, again on Friday, then on Saturday, and finished up on Sunday night. People kept adding to their piles and we kept finding more and more things that we could use.

Here are some of the other wonderful items we found:

This pic has multiple things in it... a book case that works for a shoe rack in our back hall, a little stained glass lantern that is so cute, a hassock that we covered with a sheep skin and set in the loom room window for Binney to look out from, and two perfectly good bikes that we sent up north for the grandtots to have.  On the far left is a quilter's portable ironing pad and a cute straw wreath.

It is all put to good use! 

This next one we know needed repair....   so someone threw it out rather than repair it.  This dual tank air compressor works fine, generates pressure, but one tank had a pin hole leak in it.  Touch it up with a bit of welding and it works fine!  Steve's skill in fixing it now makes this $100+ item work again rather than taking up space in a landfill. 

This is a two part treasure---- for the last four years I have put out big red velvet bows on the house along with scalloped lit up pine garland trim.

My bows are getting a bit battered.  Imagine finding a box full of brand new condition red bows!   Alongside of it were two big garbage bags of MORE lighted pine garland...(I didn't take a pic of the garland and Steve already stored it away now for Christmas 2017)  The lady putting them out said they all work fine, she just changed to a different theme on her house.  We got them home and tested the lights, They all work fine and are nicer garland than the stuff I originally had for my house. Her garbage was now my treasure to add to my home this upcoming Christmas!

Steve found this little electric Black & Decker lawn edger. The blade needed to be sharpened, but the thing works perfectly fine. I think someone tossed it in favor of the newer battery models, this one needs to be run by a cord. These run about $70. Last year we had to rent one to edge our sidewalks. This year we added it to our arsenal of tools and Steve is a happy man.

At that same house I found these laying in a box. One is a timer for a garden hose to set the watering time. Yup, no more forgetting that I have the sprinkler on. Also there was also a sprinkler, a diverter, and a hose sprayer. They all work fine, no idea why somebody would throw them out?

This next one I saw laying on top of a pile of stuff and at first I thought it was just a board. Until I looked closer. Tadaaah, one more decoration for our house this year that has a cool classic old fashioned style.

Now here is a two-part deal.... this lovely marble etagere shelf seems to be very well made without a mark on it. It's not a cheap knockoff. It seems to be old, and is very solid and heavy with marble shelves. The woodwork matches the dining room furniture that I have. Why would someone throw that out? At the next place down the road was this absolutely gorgeous old antique lamp. It needs to have the socket rewired with a new safe lamp socket and cord kit but the lamp itself is very nice. Steve will rewire it for me later when he has time. The bronze work needed some cleaning. There is one tiny chip out of the top shade.

Took it home, cleaned it all up, and set it up together. I added a clear glass chimney to the inside to poke out the top of the shade.  Then I put the little stained glass lantern on the bottom shelf to boot.

This one Steve spotted. These are really amazing Styrofoam boxes. They're used to ship items with dry ice. We have one that my brother gave to us and we use it instead of a regular picnic cooler. They are very thick and rigid and hold the cold in a lot longer than a plastic cooler. We found three of them alongside the road and took them home. The label said they shipped frozen food. 

We wrapped them up in plastic bags and put them away for future use, if the one we have now gets beat up or if we need more than one for a family gathering.

I collected a variety of flower pots when I saw them on the sides of the roads. I need these in anticipation of my spring outdoor planting. I have some plants to bring outside that I have been wintering over indoors in smaller pots. I will spray some of these with Krylon Fusion paint for plastic to make them all match. The one special score I found was a unique flower pot in the shape of a huge funky coffee cup. I found it on Zulily for $39 on sale for $19! I am going to move my big jade plant into it and set it out in the middle of our red picnic table as an accent for the summer. How cute is this? Nothing wrong with it at all.  Someone must have just got tired of looking at it or changed their decor. Or the plant died.  Hmmmm I cleaned it up, no chips or anything wrong with it.

Now why on Earth would someone throw out this perfectly good chair? Not a mark on it. Like brand new. It folds up flat and appears to be part of a set. Maybe one broke and they decided to toss the other? It's perfect for an additional chair pulled up to the table, and stores nicely behind a door in my loom room. The woodwork matches our dining set too.

I found this box of 10 solar lamps. They are metal with heavy textured glasss lenses. I know why they were throwing them out. The top surfaces of the solar panels were all crusted up with a white film. Like calcium, perhaps from their garden sprinkler hose and city water? Using a tad bit of CLR and a 3M Scotch-Brite pad, I cleaned up all of the solar surfaces.  All of the lights now worked except two. Steve diagnosed that those two just needed new rechargeable AA batteries. He swapped out two other ones to check, and yes, all 10 of the lights now work.

For now we set them around the backyard perimeter down along the grass on the spikes that were also in the box. But I would like to take them apart and paint them white.  Steve said he will drill small holes in the top of the fence all around and we can insert the lamps along the top rail. Then they are not in the way of cutting the grass and I think they will look cute like little coach lights. I looked online for heavy metal solar lamps of this type and I found somewhere you could order them in sets of 10 for over $100! 

A couple of weeks ago I bought four of these chaise lounge recliners at a rummage sale. I had been kind of eyeballing cushions for them at the stores. They run in the $50 range per chair. Imagine my surprise when I found two perfectly good weather resistant cushions sitting out for garbage pickup. No holes, no stains, no nothing. Someone must have just gotten sick of the color or decided they needed new ones. They fit on two of our chairs perfectly. Now I just need 2 more ---- I can always recover these if I find two more and I can make all four match.

As we sit on our chaise lounges I suggested we needed to get some small white plastic square end tables. Lo and behold, look what I found in the trash! Yes they were dirty. Who knows how many years they sat outside gathering layers of grime?

A bit of spritz of this cleaning solution I read about on Facebook. It is Dawn dish soap, vinegar, and lemon juice. I sprayed them down and let them sit an hour or two. A little bit of Scotch-Brite scrubbing and they are perfectly fine.

Hosed them off and set them up by our chairs--- they are exactly what we needed!

The only bummer item was Steve nabbed a perfectly good looking lawnmower, gas-powered, but when we got it home we realized it had a blown engine. So what do we do? We just wheeled it up to the front of our house and set it out for pickup. Within an hour it was gone. Either someone else picked it up to repair it, or one of the scrap metal guys picked it up on their overflowing trucks that were making the rounds about every hour.

That's okay on the miss of the lawnmower, because on the next round we made, Steve found a cool old electric lawn mower that worked perfectly. We have no idea why the people threw it out. Steve plugged it in and it works fine. Sharpened the blade and it was good to go.  He said that he wanted a smaller one to get into the narrow areas of the dogs potty yard and around the bushes where the rider lawnmower doesn't get so well.

Why would I grab two heavy ceramic bird bath stands with no basins on top??? Here is my next project that I'm going to do with them. I painted them both white with glossy Rust-Oleum paint.

Then I am going to attach two large metal basins that I have cactus / succulent gardens planted in. I am going to attach them to the tops of the bases with GrabIt adhesive in a caulk tube. I will set them out in the flower gardens as a beautiful accent display item.

Then next fall when they need to come back in the house I can just set the entire stands and basins into the basement with the grow light on them.

All in all, we had a productive Garbage Picking this year.  Wonder what next year will bring?

It is time to get outside here and work on some flowerbeds. The weeds are growing faster than the perennials, so time to get ahead of them.


  1. WOW! I would love to put stuff out and do that around here. You have some very very nice treasures! Good idea, indeed <3 Enjoy your blessed day!

  2. What a great gleaner you are! Well worth the time and fuel to make those rounds.

  3. I like Yard Sales ! I like Bulky Item Pick-Up even better. You got a couple of great scores there.

  4. Great Score I would rather see someone picking things up the way you do then leaving it go to the trash. Sadly too many people really believe that we are living in a disposable environment. Another sad thing is there is no Recycling done in the US to keep a lot of natural resources out of the Landfills. Your country is way behind the Canadians.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.


Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog! I moderate all comments so it may take a little while for your comment to appear.