Free finds, and what were you thinking?

Yesterday was our save something  day I guess you could say.  The day started with finding an injured praying mantis.  We first put him in the shade and gave him some water.  Then we put him in a planter which seemed to help. He  began to move a little and even snacked  on a leaf, but by this morning he needed a burial.

Praying mantis resting among a few plants

The kids stopped by to help weed the garden and noticing the worms were starting to snack on the cabbages we added more lime when done

Hard work is fun if it involves dirt
By next year this entire bed will be filled with strawberries.

My neighbor wanted to contribute something to the seating area, and surprised everyone by coming home and setting out a couple of decorations around the rock.

Neighbors voted and “the little cove” won as what they wanted to name the seating area.

While most people who live here are like-minded, at least when it comes to not being wasteful, we have one neighbor who is constantly tossing good things in the dumpster every couple of months when she changes her apartment around. Some days I have to restrain myself from asking her “What the h*ll are you thinking throwing that away?” But I do control myself.

I’m not kidding when I say good items, pulled out have been a stove, hand-made booster seat for a young child, a hot plate, toasters, and several tables some solid wood!

Another neighbor checks the dumpster each day to see if there is something that could be useful to someone else, I can’t tell you how many vacuums he has taken out that work just fine.  Yesterday I became the recipient of his dumpster finds.

A little cleaning with vinegar and water and I had a new table for outdoors.

Where I had simply two chairs outside my door, I now have this.

Now we have a place to set a drink down.

For some people the need to change their environment will never pass.  Those same people may never learn to recycle and reuse, but if we keep our eyes open we can save much from ending up in the landfill and find someone else who would be glad to have the items.

My favorite site for reusing items in a new way is Replayground. With all the painting projects I have had lately, I found a new use for old paint cans. Check it out  here.

I grew up with a grandfather who regularly walked every where, several times a week he would bring something home from another person’s garbage, it was just his way.  I guess the lesson rubbed off on me!

What items do you love that were  re-purposed, or lucky b finds?



  1. I was looking for a little corner unit with a light to brighten up the dull spot in my home. I went into a furniture store and saw exactly the type of thing I was looking for. It was Italian handmade, and was just filled with character. It didn’t have a price on and I guessed it was way out of my price range. I asked a member of staff only to be told, ‘oh its damaged so we going to bin it.’ The damage was the mirror on the top was broken. I asked if I could have the unit anyway and they eventually agreed. It cost next to nothing to repair and I now I have a stunning corner cabinet


  2. I love thrift stores. Addicted actually. I also love bags of hand me downs, rummaging through my father in law’s sheds and friends who ask if I can use it before they toss it.


    • Ah rummaging through a shed, past generations around here held on to everything waiting for a day someone would mention needing and item they could pass on. My DIL is famous for asking me if I want or know of someone who needs something she no longer has a use for. Of course I do the same so we’ve exchanged plenty of items over the years. She has a picture on her kitchen wall I no longer wanted and I have a small shelf and a nightstand I use as an end table from her.

      I have been hearing a lot about clothing parties, where people get together to exchange clothes they no longer want, maybe we should expand that idea to anything we no longer have a use for.


  3. I enjoy seeing how “The Little Cove” is shaping up!

    Lately I’ve been enjoying coming up with homeschool activities using items we already have. I pulled out my husband’s old dice from role playing games (lots of 6 sided and many others up to 20 sided), dominos and playing cards for math games. I also pulled out the scrabble tiles for some reading games. My husband smokes cigars so I have a huge stack of boxes and can almost always find exactly the size I need for various things. One holds all the children’s cds in the school area, one holds all of our memory cards, another holds all my recipe cards. They’re also handy for pens and markers and things too.

    Since we’ve been in downsizing mode, I’ve become the person who’s always offering stuff to people. I have one friend who left with quite a haul on more than one occasion and told me that she would just start coming to my house for a visit whenever she felt like shopping.


    • That’s funny, but it’s good that you can pass things on to your friend who can use them.

      I too home schooled my boys and found plenty of uses for ordinary items. One of the best things I think we did, thanks to my grandfather, was to have a hack saw and plenty of roofing nails along with hammers and other tools each spring ready for the boys and their friends. The reason I used the hack saw was it had protection if their friends weren’t familiar with tools. I had plenty of hand-made items from their imagination and easy access to tools. As did their friend’s parents.

      No one in my family smoked cigars, but we had plenty to store items in. There were jewelry making supplies, craft supplies, along with the many uses you found. My boys would pack a couple of the boxes when we went on long road trips of things they wanted to play with like stickers, art supplies, cassettes for their walkmans (remember those, I’m dating myself now), and so on.

      I’m glad you are enjoying the progress on the little cove. It has surprised me how nice it has turned out with just a lot of weed pulling and then contributions from neighbors.


  4. Here in Hamburg, (Germany) lots of people put their unwanted items in a box outside their apartment saying “take as a present”. I have received so many small items this way for my own apartment I woudn’t know where to start.

    There is also freecycle and ebay classifieds where I have both received and donated unwanted items. One of my best friends actually bins her unwanted clothing instead of donating. This makes me so sad and I have told her off plenty of times about it.


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