Free Furniture Finds and Climate Change

Today was one of those days where the good restored my mood after hearing a news report about the effects of climate change.  Did you know that planes can not fly if the temperatures are too hot?  I don’t fly so hadn’t thought much about how temperature affects air travel.  In Phoenix, Arizona flights had to be cancelled due to it being too hot for the planes to lift off. I guess that’s one way to curb emissions although a bit too late if you ask me.

So how about some good news?

I’m asked often where the best place is to find used furniture inexpensively. My first answer is to ask rental property owners. If you don’t know anyone who owns rental properties you can look up “property management” companies in your area. When tenants move out and leave furnishings behind it costs the landlords time and money to clear out the homes. Most are happy to let you take what you can use.

Yesterday I received a call that a woman moved out of her house and had left a lot of stuff behind. Was there anything I needed.  I suggested I was looking for a small the dresser/nightstand for the boys’ room. Today the landlord suggested I come over and take a look.

I met with the landlord and was introduced to him as the woman who restores old furniture. Guess that’s about as good a description as any other. Since I couldn’t get into the house my friend took my phone inside and began snapping pictures of any tables she thought I might be able to use. She knows I prefer to work on wood so that’s what she focused on.

These next two I passed on only because I wasn’t sure if I could sell them later and couldn’t think of anyone who was specifically looking for these types of pieces.

This magazine table was cute.

And then there was this coffee table. I saw it and immediately saw the frame being restored and stained a different color and the top inset being painted with a mural of some kind or maybe a  pretty stencil.

I’m almost kicking myself because there is a chance I could have sold them through the new store in town.

Would you like to see what pieces I did bring home?

This little table will make a much nicer night stand for the girls room than the one I previously made which was awfully small.

I’ll give this a nice white wash to match the other stand I have for that room. It will be adorable with the milk glass lamp (that belonged to my grandmother) on it and has the shelf to hold a couple of books for bedtime reading.

I brought home two stands for the boys’ room. I hadn’t found any before this and will need one for each boy. The boys’ room is currently a rather dull shade of blue but I’ve decided on a soft green to brighten the room up. I haven’t decided the overall look of this stand yet, but as usual it will come to me once I begin working on it.

As you can see the woman left most of her furnishings behind. The landlord plans to burn what he can’t rehome.

Yes, I brought the lamp home too.  It’s pretty beat up, but with a soft green wall color I’m thinking a bright green on the metal parts and a nicer stain on the wood section will be perfect for young boys.

The lamp will sit on this table.

I set this on the deck, finally a dry day to sit outside, while visiting with the friend who took me to view the furniture. I kept looking at this table then suddenly announced I’d be right back. I returned with sandpaper and began sanding the drawer. My friend laughed and said she knew I couldn’t just look at that table without starting work on it.

I knew I wanted to start on this when a vision of how I wanted to finish it came to me.

Look at how beautiful that wood looks already. Inside the drawer is a label from the manufacturer stating this was made in the USA. Guess this is pretty old as not much is still made here.

Here’s a sneak peek at one finish I’m using on this table. I have about 3/4 of this container left after refinishing the Ikea dining table.

It doesn’t take much to get me excited but real wood furniture will do it every time. That coffee table is still on my mind I see so much potential for it…….

All things come to those who wait.

~~Violet Fane

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31 comments

    • I have three of the pieces almost ready to show you. Yes, landlords are normally very happy to have someone take the leftover furnishings off their hands. It saves them paying to haul it all away.

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  1. Never thought of that being a way to get used furniture, Lois. You never cease to amaze me in your innovative ways. I love your ideas and inspiration in making use of new finds. Thank you. 🙂

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    • It’s truly shocking what people leave behind when they move. When my son worked in mostly residential real estate he brought me many things. Numerous cans of paint, garden hose, and lots of furniture. Curtains are often left behind too. In one house he found an entire nursery crib, changing table, toys dresser etc. He brought several pieces home because he and his wife were expecting.

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      • Never ceases to amaze me, Lois — our throw away supposedly ‘surplus’culture. I’m glad there are those like you who see the value in fixing something up and using it again. That’s good to know what is available and reclaimed.

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        • Pat, I’m like you, I can’t imagine being so lacking in conscience to throw out the amount of stuff people do. I have come to the conclusion that this area will never change when during a conversation a woman told me that she didn’t care how much she threw out. When I said we need to think about the amount of landfill space left she replied that that’s someone else’s problem but they better keep picking up her trash.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I would have been interested in a couple of those pieces. We’ve been looking for some end tables and I don’t want to buy new if I don’t have to. However, if I don’t get too impatient, my husband wants to make some. Now if he only had time to get his new workshop in working order. Slow and steady wins the race.

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    • You are lucky to have a husband who can make furniture! I hope he finds the time to make you some end tables you’ll love for a long time. Slow and steady is exactly right. 🙂

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    • I wish I could send a few to you. I left so much behind but am considering getting the rest after realizing my grandson will be here soon and he looks forward to working on furniture.

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      • I have been busy cutting out placemats to put up for sale that I don’t have time to work on furniture now anyway. I have several pieces here that I want to redo ASAP. Next month looks like things may calm a bit. How does an old woman with no job have so much to do??? I’m glad you have projects ready for your grandson. We are having a heat wave starting today so I’m up at 3 to get started. By midday, when the heat gets bad, I’ll rest awhile and then sit and sew.

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        • Where are you selling your placemats?

          My grandson will have to fight the neighbor girl to work on those furniture pieces. lol It amazed me how interested children are in working on furniture. Can’t turn them down because I would hate to be the one to kill that spark of budding creativity.

          I don’t know how I got so much accomplished when I worked. How did I fit in diy projects with caring for our home and raising two kids? The only difference between then and now is that without work I have the luxury of time if I want to take breaks.

          I’ll take some of your heat! It feel into the low 60s today and we are expecting high 40s tonight. I had to close the one window I’d had cracked in my bedroom or I’d freeze tonight. Crazy for being almost July.

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  3. Wood always gets me excited too as most newer stuff is that crap stuff. Glad you could find what you needed. Looking forward to seeing the finished results. 🙂

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    • The new stuff is definitely crap. I get it’s cheaper to make but the lack of craftsmanship along with how flimsy they are makes me happy to find solid older pieces.

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  4. It always amazes me the sheer volume of “stuff” that people leave behind when they move. I suppose that with “stuff” being so abundant in our society, it’s cheaper to replace it than to move it. Anyhow, now that you’ve connected with the landlord I’m sure there will be a steady stream of things coming your direction, and I’m sure you’ll turn them all into wonderful treasures!

    I’ve been amazed by the news coming out of the southwest weather wise. We’ve been just on the edge of it with temps nearing 100 the past few days. But since the tree on the southwest corner of my house is finally getting tall enough to provide a decent amount of shade, I barely even needed the air conditioner! Woo Hoo! Anyhow, I saw some good news on the climate front recently. It was a video about how (outside of the US) solar power is becoming so cheap that people are choosing it over fossil fuels because it’s more economical. They were profiling a city in Saudi Arabia that needed to build a new power plant and they chose a solar plant over a gas one because it was cheaper! in Saudi Arabia!!! Anyhow, it gave me a bit of hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that is good news on the environment and even better news that you are able to live without your air conditioning for now.

      The funny thing about Phoenix is that I lived there for three years. We hit 120 many times and all I recall is being asked to carry water to give to the homeless on the streets because they were dying from the excessive heat, nothing about the planes. Maybe this model wasn’t being used then?

      Recently, there was a Facebook post by climate change deniers in which it was suggested those of us who believed in climate change should turn off our AC and see how long we survived. Thing is I don’t have AC and haven’t turned on a fan even when it hit 92, which it was that day of the post. like you I have large trees that shade both the east and west of my house, no windows on the north to block winter winds. The south has good open views but I have an awning over the porch that limits sun to one window.

      I don’t know how many properties this particular landlord has but I’d be happy to receive more calls about furniture. My son has transitioned to commercial real estate so there aren’t many free finds coming my way from him any longer.

      I’m almost completed three of the four pieces I brought home so look for updates soon.

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  5. Love what you have chosen Lois.. Its amazing what people leave behind or throw away.. My Dad would always say, what is no use to some is another’s treasure. And he was always on the look out to find something he could turn into something.. For him though it was clocks.. Those that no longer worked with gogs and wheels inside.. He made Carousels with horses, and many different things with working parts.. He loved tinkering.. As you love restoring.. I can see you will be kept busy for many a happy hour. ❤ 🙂

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  6. Lois, I love your finds and look forward to seeing the upcycles completed. That coffee table . . . I’d say go back and get it’ you’ll have fun decorating the inset oval, I bet. If it were mine, I’d be tempted to do something in the way of folk art or Rosemaling (Norwegian folk art). Or do an arrangement of dried flowers, etc., then ‘find’ a glass oval to cover it. I know, easier to dream . . .

    And thanks a lot for the ideas for finding second-hand wooden stuff; once I’m settled, I’ll be looking into those sorts of sources, too. I like the idea of upcycling, then selling, too. I just need a place to work. One day . . . Hugs to you (but cool ones lol) ~ Linne

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    • I went back for the coffee table and more. 🙂 Love your ideas for the inset on the table, I’ve had a few ideas floating around but like usual, the finished look will speak to me while I’m sanding down the mess that was done to it.

      The best place EVER to get furniture is to visit a college when the students leave. You could fill many homes with the amount they throw out rather than taking home with them. I hope you find your work space soon.

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