Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Outrunning the Trash Truck

It was Thursday morning, almost 9:00 a.m. Why hadn't I made an early morning trash run? I was already so busy I had completely forgotten what day it was.

I took off running (actually driving) and made time, aiming for the side of town where the trash trucks may not yet have plundered MY potential treasure trove.

I was in luck. The streets were laden with fresh rejects awaiting a picker's eye to spot and rescue them.

Unfortunately my back seat couldn't hold all I wanted to add to my stockpile, so I had to hightail it home after loading up the first time. I took armfuls of new, unfinished wood from the underside of a bunkbed as well as the head boards, a basket with handles, a tray, some weathered fence posts...

 ...the drawers for a dresser, which was unfortunately no where to be seen itself.

Then my eyes landed on this wonderful old pedestal phone table which was missing its drawer. No matter, I thought, it has cool hardware and maybe I could figure out something to do about the drawer space. At the last second, I happened to spot a couple of little wood drawers over in a bin, snagged them, thinking they would make cool trays or something, and ran it all home so I could clear out the car and head back to that same pile for the shabby chair with the curvy legs that needed me. Turned out that the two little drawers belonged to the phone table. Glad I picked them up!

The trash truck was closing in, so I had to rush. There was also a great 9 drawer, late 60's early 70's dresser about 4 apartments down from the pile I was plundering, and it was standing on it's head hoping I would take notice and stop to perform a sort of 911 rescue and recovery on it. Well, believe me, I noticed, and I really wanted to help it out, unfortunately there was no way to get that sweet thing in the car. It was long, lean and drawer-rich, with enough detail to have some real fun with. It would have been a dream to redo, but alas, my car's backseat has its limits.

Sometimes a girl could use a second set of hands to help with the heavy lifting. Mainly I just want someone along to share in the shame when the hefty load won't fit after struggling with it, because an audience tends to show up, watching with amusement, intrigue and that quizzical look that says they are trying to comprehend what exactly I would want that for and what kind of desperation I must be in to dig through other people's garbage piles. When you have to send it back to the curb to await the trash men, it's a real bummer, an epic fail...sheer shame. I prefer to have someone with me at such moments to deflect all that. You feel a bit less visible if someone else is there to absorb some of the onlooker stares.

I should certainly have loved to have had that piece. I hate missing out on large old dressers! I'm having picker's remorse about it. It plagued me all day yesterday. Another one bites the dust. After all, it would have been free.

Distressed Donna's words about getting a truck still ring in my head weekly as the discards, shabby gems and timeworn classics lie unplucked from their resting places. I SHOULD start scounting the road for old trucks for sale. If we're gonna open a shop, I'm not going to be able to afford passing up fantastical free stuff just because my back seat is limited.

On another note, last I left you on Saturday, I had regretfully driven away from a French door that I was unable to get into my car. Well, I'm happy to report that I went back by while returning to a yard sale for these leaded glass sidelights...

...and the French door was still there! Note: Lynette said the sidelights were definitely worth the asking price, and that we should have them, so I hightailed it back and was able to get the woman (hesitantly) to go down on her price! Woohoo! Leaded glass and heavy wood, and they were under 7 feet and fit in my car, end to end. While they look pretty spectacular in the light of this photograph, the brown is just not cutting it and the intent is to paint them white. The green patina of the leading would look great with a distressed white finish. Meanwhile, Lynette was able to come to my rescue in regard to the French door, and we loaded that baby up and delivered it to her storehouse of goodies. I was happy to see she had a fantastic stash going of her own!

So aside from these roadside junkfest finds, we have had quite the busy time adding to our stockpile today. I headed out yesterday morning on an impromptu trip to check the curbside in a neighboring town. It was 8 a.m. and my goal was to be home by 8:30 so I could start right in working my projects for a full day of glorious results. Along the way, I encountered a wreck of a 3 drawer chest I couldn't fit in my car. I snagged the drawers (only two of them had hardware, but I loved it) and texted Lynette to see if she was going to be out and about. It was early. I sent the text and drove on. As I went, I started finding other "too big for the backseat" things, texting my finds to her as I went. Then I started to head home, stopping to pick up a really weathered (but über cool) chair that I had spotted the evening before but hadn't picked up at the time because I was in a rush. Luckily, I still had room for a chair.

It was National Empty Chair Day yesterday, so it worked out perfectly that I got this one. It sat out in the front yard all day.

Check out this glorious shabby detail:

But back to my story. Lynette called as I was heading home and she was on her way.

Hurray! Lynette to the rescue! We met up, and after she got the dresser and a pallet and unloaded them at my house, we took off to see what else awaited.

The three drawer chest dressed up in a gaudy outfit, yes, but we can fix that. 

Check out that leg!

It turned out we found quite a bit, and we loaded Lynette's car with tons of wood drawers, furniture legs, three clay pots, a yard stick. Then we spotted a huge, 2 column white shelving unit that would be perfect in our shop. However, there was no way it would fit in her car, so we drove on and spotted these amazing wood folding chairs.

We've never seen any like them (and of course I didn't get a shot of the detail, so you can't tell how cool they are - they have a delicate cutout design on the seat backs, and the chairs are padded). We were so excited. Then, we spotted an old boat, like a dingy, about 8 or 10 ft. long, kinda weathered. We had to drive on with remorse hanging over us because we couldn't fit it in.

As you can imagine, after acquiring all of this, there has been a lot of hauling, cleaning, sanding, and along the way, a few stops at places like Dunkin Donuts' drive through, a consignment shop and Goodwill. Needless to say I wasn't home by 8:30. Try 12:30. We scored the goods, though, and the loss of time only ramped up my work ethic.

Lynette and I each took charge of some of the finds. The good news was that I had two sweet college students who were off school and they offered their free time to work projects with me. I set them to work scraping the drawers of the three drawer chest. They sat out in the heat and got it done!

The layers of paint were elastic-like and peeled somewhat easily in places; it had to come off. That took a while. While they did that, I glued and clamped the phone table that was bowing and did the same to one of the dresser drawers. There weren't enough clamps, so I used a heavy metal pot filled with rocks and plants to assist me. Hey, whatever works!

Then I scraped and sanded the top of the dresser, sanded the drawers after the girls were done, picked up mushy avocados that had fallen from my tree, got stung by a wasp, and on and on. All in a day's work.

Time does not allow me to tell of the glories of the day before and the final touches that I'm pleased to say were put on the vanity I got a week ago. I also worked with the drawer fronts I salvaged and started another new project with plates that I got at Goodwill. There is fabric ready to go for another project, and all the while that was going on over the weekend, Casey was busy with some design work of her own in her bedroom. My fingers are crumpled from the scraping and sanding, the sewing and the painting and waxing. My back is crying out for rest.

I'll pick up there next time and show you the progress we've made.

For now, it's time to stop trying to outrun the trash man. I have to get back to the paying job.

I'll be sharing this at:

Thrifty Treasures @ Southern Hospitality
Nifty Thrifty Sunday @ Nifty Thrifty Things
Sunday Show Off @ Twigg Studios
Creative Things Thursday @ The Vintage Farmhouse
Cowgirl Up @ Cedar Hill Ranch
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
Be Inspired @ Elizabeth & Co.


  1. You Go Girl! Truck, Trailer and a sidecar for a side kick maybe...! Perhaps you could start offering working holidays- I would happily come scavenging with you!

  2. I don't want anyone I love to MISS THIS POST LIZ- so I featured a snippet of it on my blog with a CONNECT TO YOU for "the rest of the story"..can't wait for the REVEAL.

  3. What a Hall!!! I need to move to where you are. :D I fill for your problems with the car. My pour old van, is on it's last leg. My husband was discussing ways for me to get into another vehicle. I asked him what, were you thinking of. His reply was, a car with good gas mileage. You mean not another van. I can't fit anything in a car. NNNNNNNNNNNooooooooo. We are still discussing it. I look forward to seeing what you do with your finds.

  4. Ok, Liz~ you struck gold on this trip out. I'm so in love with the table!

  5. Great finds Liz! I see you are very determined when you like something...! I love that french door.
    And those salt shakers from the last post, so cute! It's one of my collections.
    Besos from Argentina, Silvina


  7. You find the best stuff!! Unfortunately, people where I live don't put good stuff at the road. I don't know what they do with it. Love the sidelights, the chair, those wood chairs.....Wow! Looking forward to your makeover projects.

  8. What?! I need to hit your neighborhood for sure! I still do the bulk pickup drive bys, but I am usually met with particle board "furniture". I love all the stuff you found!

  9. Score - the sidelights are amazing and will look great in white!! That door is a winner too - glad you could squeeze it in. What a day you had - jealous!

  10. GET A TRUCK!!! (Thanks for giving me credit for that!) I am so so so envious of this haul. To think, all of our junk in this All-American city goes to the landfill! I need to go to another town on trash day to see if I can find stuff like this! You and Lynette are going to have a fabulous shop! I am currently looking for chairs just like the shabby one - please make it run on up here to me!

    Distressed Donna Down Home (And I mean I am really distressed!)

  11. You need a truck ... you wore me out with your very busy day. I bring home a lot of junk, but nothing like you are doing. When I was younger, I did that too. I say ... recycle, save the land field. Ours is full and stuff has to be hauled to another city. I was at the dump once and was totally shocked to see what people were dumping.
    Audrey Z. http://audreyzumwalt.blogspot.com/
    Timeless Treasures

  12. Ditto. With your finding skills, you will find a truck in NO time! Or a nice minivan might work, too. :) I LOVE the finds and I can't wait to read your first post about your shop opening and see what you have done with them.

  13. I love a roadside rescue and boy did you get some great ones! You are quite the picker!!

  14. OMG! well all i can say is you had me at your title! lol out running the trash truck!hysterical!!!!! OMG you are too funny! I found you on Savvy Southern Style party today! wo hoo! my kinda gal! you got so much very neat stuff! i'm still laughing so hard.....love the way you write too! i have such a large inventory i havent been "lurking" anywhere but i think I may have to get "back in the game" lol thanks for the laugh, and what a great bunch of goodies! i'll be back, your newest follower, hugs kat =^.^=

  15. Oh my gosh, you two did great!! Here we have to take anything like that to the dump. The only thing that the garbage men pick up is bags of garbage. Period. Dang... I could see my Wednesday mornings being very busy otherwise! Have fun with those finds! :)

  16. Your finds are just amazing, unfortunately that sort of stuff never gets thrown out with the rubbish here!

  17. You seriously need a pick up truck! I cannot believe how much "treasure" you scored in a single day! Wow. Can't wait to see that telephone table after ...



  18. Hi Liz!!!!!
    I like the chairs and the window!!!!!!!

  19. wow I am so jealous. Nothing ever set out here as you have only one trash can allowed and anything else you have to haul to the dump yourself. I would love to live somewhere where there is cool stuff set out at the curb for the taking! you really scored.

  20. You sound like me!! I bought a truck specifically for heavy trash pick up in my area!! Hope you will come by and share at Creative Things Thursday. http://www.thevintagefarmhouse.com/

  21. Bravo! Nice curbside finds. I love outrunning the trash truck. I've done it many times.

  22. OMG - I want to move to where ever you live, seriously!
    I have never seen this much treasure on garbage day in my life!
    You go girl!

  23. Is it weird that my dream is to someday outrun the trash truck, lol? I quite often see neat pieces sitting out, but I have no where to store them and at this point in my life no time to restore them. So, I must forge on and leave them sitting to await their fateful death. But someday, when the kids are a little more grown and we live in a home of our own, I think it would be a blast to do just what you're doing. : )

  24. Wow, you found some amazing things! You go, girl!!! The chair with the nail heads is amazing. :)

  25. Holy Flip! You need a truck!! What some fantastic finds you found!! Thank you for sharing. Visiting from Nifty Thrifty. Would love it if you would share this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House which goes live on Monday at 8am CST. http://thededicatedhouse.blogspot.com Hope to see you at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  26. Wow, you really loaded up! You have got to get an old truck so you won't have to pass up things! and you can use the cost of the truck as a tax write off in your new business! I'm happy to see I'm not the only one who tries to "outrun" the trash truck!

  27. Ah yes, I have outrun a few trash trucks and even some pickers in my day....you did great! hint - start carrying bungee hooks in your car so you can let the big stuff hang out of your trunk. Nice post miss liz!

  28. This made me crack up ! So very me :). My house is almost all freebies.

    I saw a guy picking last night and he had a great chair in the back of his truck. Nooo. I should have been out there. It's downright competitive here.


  29. Okay, now I get it! This is my first (but not last!) visit to your blog and all I could think of when I was trolling around it is "where the heck does she put all that stuff?" You're opening a shop!!!! How cool is that? I'm so jealous of your trash scores. Here in Colorado, all trash has to fit into a big plastic bin that the truck automatically picks up and dumps, so needless to say if it doesn't fit it doesn't get put out. Lazy garbage men. Your junking, picking and garaging antics crack me up. Buy that truck sister!

  30. Iwish our town had this type of stuff! Everyone uses independent ncontractors so some neighborhoods om certain days of the week. Aggravating. AD we don't have any kind of city wide pickup day.

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  32. Wow Liz! How very thrilling- and that was just reading about it! What a haul you made! I understand you completely. My husband of 4 years has finally stopped protesting and just stops when I spot good junk on the side of the street. I love all your stuff and can't wait to see what you do with it all!

    Linda at The French Hens Nest


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