Saved from landfills

One of my biggest goals is to have a zero waste home. I am pretty close on most days. As a result of my efforts I have become more aware of the amount of things that are useful or could be restored that end up in the landfills.

On this page I will keep a running total by year of all the things I found new uses or homes for thus keeping them out of the landfills, what is not counted on this page are things that I have passed on or donated as a result of my personal downsizing of my own possessions, this will only document the things I have picked up from around my town and from the dumpsters in my back yard.


  1. Five Wooden Chairs – one went to a thrift shop after repairs, one is in my home, one went to my son and  his wife to go with the three I repaired last year for their dining room, and the next two are being repaired.
  2. Two jewelry/music boxes – are now in the homes of two little girls
  3. One mechanism for a music box – added to a jewelry box before gifting it to my youngest grand child.
  4. Three brand new  pairs of men’s khaki shorts – were the perfect size and fit for my eldest son, and his favorite style of shorts.
  5. Two plastic pitchers – donated to a thrift shop
  6. Fifteen shot glasses – one became a toy in a child’s kitchen, the rest are awaiting a project
  7. Target work shirt in perfect condition – the emblem was removed and the shirt was donated to a thrift shop
  8. One hanging closet organizer with 8 compartments– is being used in my grand-daughters closet instead of purchasing a dresser.
  9. Two Plastic Folgers coffee containers – One holds small toys, the other is storing my egg shells for the garden.
  10. Two beat up guitars to re-purpose
  11. Many pounds of cardboard – some are used for crafts, many of it will be used to block weeds in the new garden beds this spring.
  12. Three paint cans which being repurposed into planters.
  13. Plastic water bottle – became a favorite toy for my grandson.
  14. Two non-working pens – became legs for a toy
  15. Six plastic keys from junk mail – two became arms on a toy, the rest are being played with by the grand children until I find another use for them
  16. Several egg cartons – are being used to start seeds for the garden.  They will then be incorporated into the soil as compost
  17. 2 Bamboo arm/legs from a loveseat left over after a reupholster
  18. A kitchen Drawer found on the curb.
  19. 19 inch television
  20. large rolling luggage in excellent condition.
  21. small table
  22. 2.5 foot square unfinished table
  23. solid wood coffee table that someone had painted doodling all over
  24. solid wood bankers chair
  25. hand saw
  26. wicker basket
  27. shoe box
  28. 2 desktop computers
  29. 2 laptop computers
  30. a wooden piece of a picket fence.
  31. wire shelf
  32. wall clock
  33. kitchen table
  34. 4 matching wooden chairs
  35. vintage 2 tiered end table


  1. LOVE SEAT: This was tossed out by two women who had graduated college and no longer wanted it.  This is now in my home and serves as both seating and a spare bed
  2. WOODEN ROCKING CHAIR: Again this was in horrible shape and left when a student graduated and moved on.  It spent time in the Little Cove and is now in my grand-daughter’s bedroom.
  3. PLASTIC BIN:  This was tossed out simply because it was dirty.  A puppy had peed on it and they didn’t want to touch it.  After a thorough cleaning and disinfecting it now stores toys in my grandsons bedroom
  4. TELEVISION:  This was being walked to the dumpster because it was heavy and the person didn’t want to carry it up the stairs to his new apartment.  This is now in my son’s family room in his new home.
  5. TWO LARGE BOXES OF BOOKS: These were also being walked to the dumpster, some have been sold on Amazon, some are now in a local used book store (where I was given $118 in store credit) and the rest are spread out among friends where they will be read.
  6. LARGE WOODEN CHAIR WITH CUSHIONS:  I received a call that this was going to be pitched and I had them deliver it to my house where I am currently restoring it to be used in my son’s family room. UPDATE: this is now in my son’s home and is very much-loved and used daily.
  7. A SMALL FOLDING TABLE: is now folded behind the love seat for when company comes and they need a place to set a drink.
  8. PLASTIC OUTDOOR TABLE: This was pulled back out of the dumpster and cleaned up.  It now sits outside my door with a couple of chairs for relaxing.
  9. LARGE WOODEN DRESSER:  A neighbor called to say it would be going into the dumpster, it’s now in my son’s master bedroom and awaiting a fresh coat of paint to coordinate with the rest of their furnishings
  10. TWO WOODEN END TABLES WITH MARBLE TOPS:  These are being split up and going to 2 new homes.  One to a little girl who will use it for her night stand and to hold her CPap machine.  The second to another  neighbor who wants a nicer table in her living room (of course I’m getting  her old ones to restore)
  11. SIX PATIO CHAIRS: These were being dumped off by a friend of the management of our complex. I caught him before the first hit the inside of the dumpster.  Half the chairs’ fabric is in bad shape so several of us are going to recover them this winter.  They have made perfect seating for the Little Cove
  12. SIX BARELY USED STUFFED ANIMALS:  These I cleaned, just to be sure and have given one to each of my grand children.  They are now prized possessions.
  13. NEARLY FINISHED CROCHETED PANDA BEAR: This my oldest grand-daughter will help me to complete so she had a gift to give to her cousin for Christmas. UPDATE: This was completed one rainy day by my grand-daughter
  14. A SMALL BOX OF PLASTIC CANVAS AND YARN:  This I have turned into craft supplies for the grand children when we are stuck indoors.
  15. PIECE OF CONCRETE:  Painted it makes a beautiful sign in the front of the Little Cove.
  16. A CHILD’S BOOKCASE:  This was brought to me from a friend when it was spotted on the curb for garbage pick up.  It fit perfectly on top of a small shelf in my closet to expand my storage space.
  17. AN ENTIRE KITCHEN: The first plan my children had was to totally tear out their kitchen.  Once I showed them what they could do with the existing cabinets the only thing tossed out were the metal plates behind the handles.
  18. PAINT CANS:  I have taken gallon size paint cans once empty to use as planters and holders for small toys. Total saved this year: 3.
  19. WOODEN DOLL CRADLE:  This is now a prized possession of my oldest grand-daughter.  Along with the cradle a partially completed afghan a friend no longer wanted to finish is now the dolls blanket as well.
  20. SMALL GIFT BAG: Pulled out of the dumpster by my neighbor
  21. TWO PAPERBACK BOOKS: I gave these to a friend to read when waiting for her cancer treatments.
  22. NEVER USED TALL KITCHEN GARBAGE BAG: Gave to a friend to use
  23. PLENTY OF CARDBOARD BOXES: I pull these out of the garbage and move them to the recycling bin.  Some I gave to a friend to use for assembling and gluing puzzles she likes to work on. Others are repurposed into toys for the children and even covered with fabric for storage purposes for friends and family.
  24. METAL AND WOOD CLOTHING RACK: I will repurpose this in the back garden to hang potted plants and humming-bird feeder from.
  25. SAUDER ENTERTAINMENT CENTER:After giving it personalization with paint I will find a new home and will use Craigslist or freecycle to give this away. UPDATE:  My son and his wife fell in love with this and took it home.  It’s now a reading nook with toy storage.  The kids love sitting there.
  26. SAUDER TWO DOOR CABINET WITH 4 SHELVES:This found a home in my daughter-in-law’s office to store her supplies. She had been looking for one and had hoped to find one at a yard sale, preferring not to buy it new. Now her office is complete.
  27. FOAM MATTRESS PAD FOR QUEEN-SIZED MATTRESS:  I will make a mattress for my grand-daughter to use when they are in town visiting, the rest I will save for future projects. UPDATE:  This has got considerably smaller. It’s been used for the doll crib mattress, cushion for the entertainment center’s reading nook,  to reupholster one dining room chair and to make cushions for two more.
  28. TWO BED TRAYS:I will use these for the grand children to eat off when visiting. Maybe I’ll even serve myself breakfast in bed when it’s so cold I’d rather stay curled up this winter. UPDATE: The kids use these all the time to eat from, color on, do crafts, and play games when here. They even end up going outside for play activities.
  29. 3 WOODEN DINING ROOM CHAIRS:These will be updated and given to my daughter-in-law who is still using metal folding chairs and not pay full price for chairs she wants. She plans to give  me the metal folding chairs to update for extra seating when she has lots of company.
  30. LARGE LEATHER SUITCASE: I got this off the curb, being in good condition I made one phone call and had found it a new home.
  31. LARGE PICTURE FRAME: At the moment this is in my house, I may make and frame something for a gift, or simply give it to the next person who tells me they need a frame this size. This went to a friend who spotted it and mentioned needing a frame this size.  Took 48 hours to leave my home.
  32. LARGE WOODEN DESK:  This was being carried to the dumpster in the rain. I just couldn’t allow that. Still deciding what to do with it, for now it’s sitting in my apartment.
  33. 4 VACUUM CLEANERS: One needs a belt the other three simply had a clogged hose. 2 already have new homes.
  34. BRASS WALL LAMP WITH SWING ARM: We heard this being tossed into the dumpster during a rain storm. It was pulled out within minutes and is sitting in my house waiting for a nice day to give it a new look.
  35. LARGE WOODEN DESK IN ROUGH SHAPE:  This was in my apartment when I moved in.  It was just taking up space so I asked if it could be removed. I was told it would go in the dumpster, but sure.  I told them to forget about it. I had it cut in half, and kept the  half with the drawers to use as a nightstand after giving it a paint job.
  36. FOUR READY-TO-FINISH WOODEN PLAQUES:  2 I gave to my daughter-in-law for the kids to paint this winter.  2 I kept for myself. One of those two I used a combination of milk paint and stain then wrote the word Family on it to hang with my wall of photos.  The second one my grand daughter finished by writing the first letter of her name on and decorated to put in her room.
  37. TIDE POD CONTAINER: This was headed for the dumpster. It’s now holding all my grand daughters paints which before had been stored in a plastic bag at her home.
  38. AN UPRIGHT FREEZER:  A neighbor wanted to toss this out, I begged her to hold on to it while I listed it on Craigslist, she agreed.
  39. CLOTHING CLOSET: This I have no room to store, so it is on Craigslist for free.
  40. 2 X 4:  3 foot long piece, I am making this into a coat rack for the hallway in my apartment.
  41. NARROW METAL SHELF:  This was found by a neighbor in the recycling bin. After a coat of white paint, it’s just the right size for my tiny spot between toilet and tub.  This one was a keeper for me finally:-)
  42. NARROW METAL SHELF:After a little cleaning and a light coat of white spray paint this fits perfectly in the nook between toilet and tub in my bathroom
  43. TALL ROUND PASTRY (PLASTIC) LID: Covered in a light blue fabric this now stores small toys for the grand kids.


  1. BATHROOM WALL CABINET: This was sitting outside my son’s neighbor’s home just when I was moving into my new home.  I picked this up and added it to the wall in my bathroom to hold bath linens and other items needed close at hand.
  2. MAGAZINE TABLE:  This my daughter-in-law spotted out for the trash and carried it to my place.  In their cottage there was only 13 inches between their bed and the closet where she and my son wished to have a night stand to put a lamp and book. Nothing fit there, but this did.  I showed her how to remove the peeling laminate  from the top and paint it to match their room.  Problem solved and one more thing not in the landfill.
  3. 3 SIDES TO A BABY’S CRIB: The two end pieces have been used for garden trellising, the third is now a headboard on my bed.
  4. VERY LARGE BOX OF HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS: These were passed around to friends who wanted a few more things for their holiday decorations.
  5. AN ELECTRIC GUITAR: My son adopted this, the neck was weak, he repaired it and it now sits in his living room where he plays his guitar with his two children who accompany his on theirs.
  6. LARGE TABLE LAMP:Again, this was going to the dumpster when a neighbor moved.  It now sits on my end table, but am looking for a new home for it as I really don’t need it.  UPDATE:  I gave this new paint changing it from a dull brown to black.  That did the trick it found a new home right away and saved the new owner from needing to buy a lamp.




    • Thank you. I thought if I kept track of them I would be reminded of how much I could accomplish just in my little corner of the world. I also thought by sharing it others might be inclined to see how just one person could make a small difference.


      • You’re welcome! I am like you too as I think you probably guessed by looking at my blog. 😀
        My grandparents (both sides) and my great grand parents (up maternal line) were very influential on me and my cousin Andrea (who is an organic farmer). They spoke so frequently about waste and taught us so much about how to do things.
        Recently, the last of my grandparents died, but not really… I carry them with me all the time. They influenced me massively.
        I don’t believe that I was born in the wrong generation though – I believe that I was born at exactly the right time – when women have more rights and with good ears and a good memory, I know how to do so many things that are lost on people of today. It means that with peek oil and the loss of resources that I know what to do and can also teach the ones who do not get that the planet is finite, to survive.
        xo L


        • Hmm, maybe I too was born at the right time. I always wanted to have been born a little earlier to have had an opportunity to join the battle for equality, bra burnings, speaking out about Vietman, and so on. By the time I was a teen/young adult, there was much more apathy. But maybe I need to be here now to pass on what I learned from my grandparents.

          I lost my last grandparent in 2002, and was saddened very much by it as they also raised me. But like you they aren’t gone, they are with me every day both in my heart and my actions.


          • That is funny! That is exactly what I wished I would have been able to participate in! Woodstock too… all that love, peace and music appeals to me.
            Sounds like you and I have a lot of common ground brought to us by the generation twice above us.
            xo L
            PS: I burned my bras anyway… 😛


          • Boy we do have a lot in common. Oh yes, Woodstock. I was so tempted to go to the second one, but I didn’t think it would ever live up to the first one and didn’t want to be disappointed. As for bras, I only own one and only wear it when I have to 🙂


    • Laura, you speak from experience–as if your grandmother is one of these and she trained you well! Yes, those of us who were born just after the depression do have a different spirit. Our hearts hurt when we see flagrant waste. I see children who deliberately destroy possessions (gifts or purchases) because they grow tired of them. Watching two kids put their feet through a hand made quilt gave me physical pain.

      Another scene that “hurts” is being told we need to join the “green club” and bag our own groceries at the grocery store. Young clerks speak to us as though we were the flagrant ones when they have never known how much we saved or how we pinched pennies to keep from being on the welfare rolls. We never took anything for nothing–not free lunches at school or food stamps.

      Have you watched men and women at the grocery store using an $800+ smart phone to check their food stamp balance?


      • Hi Beth, I can totally relate to your experiences. Yes, my grandparents, who raised me were raised during the depression and passed a lot on to me through both words and actions.

        I can’t even imagine my reaction to children putting a foot through a hand made quilt. Luckily, my children and grandchildren appreciate the though and time that goes into handmade gifts and treat them with respect.

        By the time I was a teen I viewed my grandparents as being comfortable. They traveled each summer, went out to eat once a week, bought the best foods they could for the money, even splurged on filet mignon a few times a month at the butchers. Imagine my shock when I was 16 and my grandfather asked what I was making per hour at work. He informed me he made $.80 an hour less than I was! It made me look at all the ways they worked to save for those splurges that had me and everyone else thinking they had a higher income than they had.

        Yes, I’ve seen many who have the expensive smart phones and know that money could have gone to something more practical. I try not to judge as I know I have been the recipient of a gift here and there that I couldn’t have afforded on my own but of course none of my gifts were ever that pricey. One year I received a lovely television when purchasing one was out of my reach, mine came from a relative who was elderly and had to go into a home.

        As for the free lunches, I didn’t allow my children to receive those either for several reasons. The first was that the quality of the food given to school students was of poor quality but also because I was raised not to take handouts. That said I am glad those are available for the many who need them. Just in 2017 it was widely reported that 10% of New York’s public school students were homeless. Can you imagine how much worse off their lives would be if they couldn’t count on a free lunch?


    • Lynn, thank you so much for sharing this story. It makes more sense to me to decommission a vehicle for a playground than to build those plastic play cars I see at so many playgrounds now. They did a wonderful job with the installation of the ambulance, from making it handicap accessible to the slides and railed roof. It is also unique in that the local children are welcome to use it as well as the children in the hospital. Job very well done and great use of a parking space!


  1. you’re welcome… the entire idea/as well as good conversion, tickled me. couldnt help thinking how much the kids would enjoy it/how good for their imaginations…wish there was much more of this type of thing.


    • I do as well. There is a home a few miles from me where the owner has an art installation using old cars. He created a spider out of an old Volkswagon beetle. We drive by now and then and pull over to let the kids check it out, but it’s not public property and the kids can’t climb on them.


  2. We need more people like you! I, too, salvage when possible. But currently it isn’t. One day, though. I think blogging is a great way to get people thinking and hopefully acting. ~ Linne


    • Linne, I hope you have an opportunity soon to get back to your hobby. I know some people have been inspired to fix, change, or simply update something they have after seeing a piece on the blog. I enjoy getting emails from readers asking how something can be done that they have on their mind to try.


  3. What a fantastic idea this is…. well of course to salvage, but also to make a LIST of it over the years so we can really see what a difference everything we can save and reuse (and keep out of landfills!) makes. Way to go! You clearly show how it all adds up. We can all make a huge difference with seemingly small steps. Cheers, Gina


    • Thank you, Gina. This was my hope when listing my finds. If others can see how much one person can save, extending its useful life I do hope they too will look to save and pass on items they spot. While we need to eliminate the practice of throwing unwanted items out, I believe as the number of people who collect what they find increases it will make a huge impact on the amount of land that is taken up for the sole purpose of disposing our garbage. Sadly, I have been lax this summer in recording my finds, I promise I will do it very soon.


  4. Amazing…
    I wish I could do one-fifth of this stuff, instead I end up carting home junk which just ends up piled up atop other old junk in my cellar and attic! Very little of it gets used or cannibalized in any way–but it’s better than just leaving half-decent good stuff sitting in front of other peoples’ homes for land fills!

    Maybe in another decade some of my old junk will be seen as “antiques” and be worth some money to some people…


    • JTD, my neighbor did the same thing. He carted everything home he found for free, especially from the curbs. His collection grew so he rented a storage locker. When he realized the amount of money he was wasting he started to listen to those around him when they mentioned something they needed and then pull it out of storage and surprise them with it. In no time at all his locker was empty.

      I think what you are dong is great! Each item we save will have a use or a person who needs it. I hope you get rich from your antiques one day. 😉


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