Dallas (my current home) is a bustling city with a center core, sprawling suburbs and cozy neighborhoods, it’s a far cry from my hometown. I grew up on a farm in Fairacres, NM (not the moo-cow, oink-oink type of place but an agricultural based farm) where we lived right smack in the middle of fields that rotated cotton, chile, alfalfa, onions, cabbage and tons of other vegetables that
we’d steal we were given for our Sunday night dinners.
While having many wonderful qualities, beautiful views of the mountains, interesting wildlife, the ability to see the stars at night and peace and quiet, it lacked a sense of neighborly love. Not that we didn’t like our neighbors it’s just we didn’t have much contact with them. The closest neighbors were about 100 yards away so we weren’t about to walk that far to bring them fresh baked cookies just to be nice.
Now, I live in a small neighborhood just east of downtown Dallas. I have a 10 minute commute to work, a 10 minute walk to the lake (yes, Dallas has a lake, not the kind that you’d go swimming in — actually I think that’s illegal here — but a lake with ducks, mutant fish and pretentious bicyclists) and a 10 minute walk to my local organic-conscious and slightly-more-expensive grocery store. Having said all of that, my truly favorite part of living in my neighborhood is BULK TRASH DAY!
My reason for liking bulk trash day isn’t because I have lots of stuff that I need to get rid of, rather, I like going through other people’s trash to find furniture that I can fix up. Besides cheapskate furniture connoisseurs (like myself) there are lots of people that rely on big trash day to supplement their income. If your neighborhood has bulk trash pick-up you’ll notice that there will be trucks driving up and down the street slowing down and occasionally stopping to go through the piles of scrap wood, bags of leaves and garage sale remnants. Scrap metal is usually the sought after prize…these guys will scrap even the smallest of metal objects with ceiling fan motors being the coup de grace (we’re talking like $3.00 in scrap copper). But, if you are a crafty person you’ll find all sorts of uses for left over lumber, tree branches and slightly abused furniture.
If you have a keen eye, patience and luck (and by “luck” I mean “the death of an old person who hasn’t bought furniture in 40 yrs and whose kids don’t want to deal with their crap”) then, you will be rewarded with some awesomeness left curbside.
My biggest find to date is this Sculptra china cabinet and nightstand. Found 3 blocks away from my house on the curb and luckily in pretty good condition.
And my latest find…matching white vinyl club chairs!
Yes, I hear what your saying “One of those chairs looks alright but the other one is a pile of crap” Well, part of bulk-trashing (yes I just made up a new verb) is looking past the surface rust, spider webs and cat pee and see the potential of something awesome.
Part of the reason why I am writing this post is to force myself to follow through with refinishing these chairs and show you the result in a future post. With a little help from photoshop I’ve mocked up some fabric options…
On second thought…maybe I’ll just stick with the white vinyl.
So go check your city’s bulk trash calendar, go through your neighbor’s discarded stuff and save one piece of perfectly good furniture from the landfill. It’s good for you and good for the environment (or something like that).