Monday, April 5, 2010

My Three Secrets to Finding Roadside Treasures

Many of you have been amazed by what I have found by the side of the road. In all honesty, so have I. You have asked me where I live, why people put things on the street, and if you could come along with me in my car! You may be surprised to learn the three biggest secrets to my success in finding freebies.

#1 - I am a runner.
I still run but I used to be a very serious and dedicated runner. It was not uncommon for me to run twice a day – morning and afternoon. I am up early - about the time most people haul their “trash” to the curb – allowing me the first look at what is being thrown away. I guess the early runner gets the finds! A second benefit of being a runner is it gives you a different perspective than driving around in a car. When you run, you are more apt to slow down and take a closer look. You see things when you run that you don’t when you drive. Third, when you run, you tend to take the road less traveled. I run in small neighborhoods, down side streets, and not on busy roads. All the places I am more likely to find things.

Running, however, is not without its challenges. How to get things home? Most things I will just carry while I run (really). My husband always jokes – what did you bring home now? There are times, however, when I am many, many miles from home. What to do? Why hide the stuff in the bushes of course! (I do have to admit remembering myself doing this made me giggle!) Seriously, I have hid quite a few things after finding them so no one else would take them. I simply return with the car after I complete my run.


#2 - I have lived in college towns.
Many of my best finds occurred while living in college towns. You see, twice a year students move out of their rented houses. They take what they can fit in their cars and the rest is left on the street for the garbage people (or early bird runners) to haul away. A lot of what college students use for furnishings are hand-me-downs or old things no one else in the family wants any more (translation = vintage!)

#3 - I am not bashful about looking in other people’s trash.
First a disclaimer – I am not a dumpster diver! I don’t set out to find things. I will, however, stop and take a closer look if I see something that looks interesting. When I put things out by the side of the road, I would much rather someone take it and use it then have it end up in the landfill. I guess I assume the same is true of other people who put things by the side of the road.

I do have a few other finds to share that I forgot to include in my first post. The first is a pretty pewter pitcher.
Another great and favorite find (one of my very first many years ago) is this large wooden window frame. I took out the glass and made it into a mirror. It now hangs in our upstairs hallway.

Finally, I found this great desk chair. It is oak and was missing one caster when it was found. I bought new casters and painted and glazed it to match my desk.

So now you know why I have been so successful. In truth, though, it has mostly been due to luck. I would love to hear what you have found and the secrets to your success! 

Today's Thrifty Treasure at Southern Hospitality
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm
Get Your Craft On at Today's Creative Blog
Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts
Spotlight Yourself at Its So Very Cheri
Idea Sharing Wednesday at Women Who Do It All
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage
Feature Yourself Friday at Fingerprints On the Fridge
Favorite Things Friday at A few of My Favorite Things
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Weekend Wrap Up Party at Tatertots and Jello

39 comments:

Lori said...

I love this. I have actually been out on a run (ok walk) and have ran back home with my new found treasure. I call this shopping at Curby's :)

Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage said...

Thanks for the tips. I never find anything...I guess I know why.... I am too embarressed to stop and look. I need some encouragement I think. This post gave me a kick in the pants... LOVE that pitcher!!!

Nancy's Notes said...

Well, I think I'll start running, what a great tip!! All of your ideas were fantastic, thanks for sharing!

Nancy

becca said...

great tips! i make sure to ride my bike around during bulk trash pickup week. :)

Debra from Bungalow said...

Guess I'll have to start running too....you found some great things.

Come on by and enter my giveaway.

Londen @ Sixty-Fifth Avenue said...

Too funny! I love the that you hide things in the bushes! Once I picked up dining room chairs, painted them and recovered them. Then I sent a picture to the house thay came from and a note telling them they liked their new home.
I know, Im a dork!

Creations By Cindy said...

I love this! I have found several things beside the road ready for the trash...but I was driving! Ha! Be blessed. Cindy

Rosie@Journey to Charm said...

That was funny that you hid things, so you could come back to get them. I would have, too, tho. I don't want to run. Getting too old. Maybe I'll start taking early morning walks on trash day. And maybe push an empty baby stroller....

Pine Tree Home said...

I wondered how you would carry your loot. Hide it of course. Too funny.

kim said...

I love your transformed trash finds. Not much good trash out around here.

Jane said...

I enjoyed reading your tips for successful roadside freebies. My husband and I were talking about this very subject a couple of days ago because he just can't imagine picking up things that are left out for trash (we obviously don't agree on this topic).
Your tips make a lot of sense...guess I need to take up running.
Jane

Diann said...

Great curbside finds! I love todo a little "free" shopping whenever I can. I have gotten some great things!

kayce hughes said...

So fun. We have found many treasures throughout the years. One of my favorites is when we lived in New York City. People there have the BEST garbage! One time I was walking home and found a rattan couch. i had to sit on it until my husband and friends could come help me carry it home. People kept stopping and yelling out of their cars "you taking it?". 17 years later we are still enjoying it.

Ann said...

Don't make me run, I've had one too many kiddos!!! I agree with you, some of the best finds are found in college towns. Thanks for the tips. :)

Absolutely Positive said...

You have found some awesome stuff! Love your site and I will definitely be back!

Following you from McLinky!

http://www.happytrailsfromcanyon.blogspot.com/

Paula said...

I've found some great things while running, too. I never thought to hide my treasures in the bushes. I'll have to remember that tip!

Julie said...

I just posted today about my latest (& maybe greatest) treasure that my husband & I found Saturday on someone's carport. It had been sitting there for months. You can read about it here:
http://lessthanperfectlifeofbliss.blogspot.com/2010/04/french-potential.html

Ness Lockyer said...

I love running for this reason. You are right you find the most amazing things down the side streets.
Ness xx

Living It At Home said...

I wish I was a runner! I can't remember the last thing I pulled out of the trash. Just don't come across anything that great. You are right though, when you are driving you tend to just go right by something. I love your story about carrying things home and hiding a find in the bushes.

~jamilyn

Cin said...

I was walking my son to the bus stop when I saw someone was throwing away 2 dressers. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them and I definately didn't need them but I hurried home to get my truck. I only had room for 1 dresser so what I did to ensure that no one would scoop up the second dresser, I took some of the drawers with me thinking ... Who would want a dresser with missing drawers? It worked ...the dresser was still there when I returned.

Debbie said...

Well you saw my treasure in the trash, truly was a trash to treasure!~ You are very creative and I love to see what you come up with thanks for sharing:)!

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Every time I go move one of my daughters home from for the summer, I'm always looking to see what these kids (young adults) leave! Luv that desk chair! Thanks for coming to my PAR-TAY...hope you had a good time:)

Blessings,
Linda

Kim said...

You sure were lucky! I'll have to remember to do a better job of hunting when I go out walking.

Cassie Patel said...

It is so refreshing that others are not ashamed to look through other peoples trash. Your post makes me smile and makes me feel norm. My 13 yr. old looked as if he could die when I stopped yesterday to grab a set of 4 wooden tv tables.

Lisa B. said...

Great post! Although I use the term "dumpster diving" loosely. When I talk about dumpster diving it includes items found laying beside curbside containers, on top of containers and in containers. I've only actually gotten INSIDE a dumpster 3 or 4 times and this was when the dumpster was brought back to the transfer station where I used to work to be dumped.

The DIY Show Off said...

Great tips! Now if that doesn't motivate me to run, what does? lol

I'd love to find an old window or other treasures by 'stumbling' across them!

R

Cara said...

We have "Big trash Pickup" here in our town. The 1st week of the month you can put anything and everything on the curb for the city to come pick up and take to the dump. My neighbors and I were just talking yesterday about how we all take each others stuff once it's been put out. So funny! My favorite finds - a brand new patio umbrella that would have cost $100, child size crutches which is the kids favorite toy, a bag filled with brand new webkinz with the tags still on and they hadn't been used! (my kids found that bag-not me). Anyway - I am a huge fan of big trash pickup. It's great!

Sandy said...

Ha! Love this post! I'm a runner too, but not sure I've looked in garbage cans. BUT I run by sales all the time! :)

Hamptontoes said...

That's a great post! It reminds me of our time in NYC (correlates with your living in a college town...lots of transit people...nice things end up on the curb.) We've found a treasure or two!

Screaming Meme said...

Hey, sweetie...i think you signed up for my giveaway...BUT if you didn't come over and enter...:) Meme

LambAround said...

I'm relieved to see the "not a dumpster diver" disclaimer. I was a bit worried! :p

Wondering who I am? Read my post: Who Are These People?!

Jessica Hills said...

This is a GREAT post! I love it. If you are interested, I would love you to post this on my Favorite Things Friday party!

claire said...

Love it! I am a neighborhood runner too and my best score was finding a set of serious wooden wine racks from a cellar. It was raining, I saw them in a dumpster in a driveway. Ran back home, wrote a note asking if I could take them, gave my cell # and put the note in a plastic sheet and placed it on the owner's car. He called back quite soon afterwards saying I was welcome to take them as long as I was careful with the nails .. .think he was a lawyer LOL! Now we have
space for storing 300 great "wine finds" and the racks are in our cool crawl space!

ThriftyAnnabella said...

You found some great things!

Jennifer at Cattywompus said...

Just found your blog...and glad I did! I'm going to pass it along to my sister-in-law who started out as a roadside treasure hunter here in Hoboken and now owns her own store of vintage finds! I think some people just have an eye for it, as you do. You might want to check out her new website at www.mackeyblue.com. And she's a runner! Thanks for sharing...

Laura said...

Some of my favorite things are from the trash!!! including my desk chair. I have an ironing board that my father found in the trash...it's very special to me because he died when I was six. My mother gave it to me a few years ago because it's wooden and too heavy for her now. Now, trash picking is a third-degree misdemeanor in our city. This is because we live near a scrap yard that takes scrap from "peddlers." These peddlers were making a mess digging through trash...Hence, the law! I see stuff all the time, but now I have to find another city to go trash picking.

Jessica Hills said...

Thanks so much for linking to Favorite Things Friday! I would love to feature this post for this coming Favorite Things Friday party. If you would like a Featured button you can pick one up from my blog!

Karen said...

Hi - I am a sporadic runner and find stuff on the side of the road too. If it's something super good then that is reason to shorten the run. If it's so so, then I finish the run and circle back and if it's still there it's meant to be. I'm also one for spotting trash in the car. When we're driving I go, "Pull over!". My friends are like, "What? What? Is something wrong?" And I say "No there's a cool thing there. We have to get it." Friend's know I like things and they pick them up and leave them in my yard. How fun is that? I also leave things I no longer want in front of my house. People know that my house is the place to walk by on a regular basis to see what I've left out for the taking. Visit my shop: www.MackeyBlue.com

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

you garbage picker! ;-) Love it! I have NEVER picked stuff from the garbage anywhere. no, not me. hee heeeeee

I'd love for you to post one of your projects on our Wicked Awesome wednesday link party this week, if you get a chance.

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