I’ve needed to post.
So here it is.
In photographic form…
A taste of the last six months.
Yeah for summer!
What have you been up to?
There is so much trash in the world. I see it on the side of the road, on the beach, in parking lots, on sidewalks – it’s unfortunately, everywhere. Though some of the ‘trash’ I see at my local transfer station is not really trash at all, well, at least not in my eyes...
It’s actually perfectly good stuff no longer wanted or needed by its previous owner. And our wise town transfer station has created an area specifically for these hand-me-downs…everyone wins. The town saves money, the earth is spared (at least a little) and goods are recycled, upcycled and simple re-used by another.
Here are just a few of the fun things I’ve come across this summer…my house is filled with free stuff. It’s actually quite amazing what people throw out…
So before you get rid of something, think of donating or giving it away. You just never know, your trash could very well become someone’s treasure.
I thought I’d end this year by talking about my favorite place – the freebie barn!
The freebie barn, swap shop, transfer station, call it what you will, it’s a fabulous resource!
Granted, not all transfer stations allow ‘shopping’, and that’s a shame. Mine does and I call it the ‘freebie barn’, though the sign on the outside calls it, the ‘swap shop’…
Why not set aside a space for residents to drop off unwanted – but good stuff – for others to use…instead of trucking it away, to be dumped into a large hole in the ground (planet earth), to only eventually leach out into everything…? Why not invest in a ‘swap shop’ area?
Wouldn’t a space such as this help a town save on expenditures for removal of said stuff? All the while allowing residents to utilize perfectly good stuff someone else simply tired of – thus, maximizing the re-use of already consumed goods, which in turn minimizes consumerism? Which, ultimately, lessens our impact on the world around us?
I realize a resource such as this improves things ever so slightly, yet, it’s a step in the right direction…how can anyone disagree with that?
Every piece of ‘junk’ removed by another resident (recycled) vs. an outsourced company, is so much better for everyone…why not have an area designated for this?
Finn and I visit our transfer station once a week (at minimum). It’s the place we take our trash and recyclables as well our time to visit the ‘Swap Trailer.’ I love this place.
I’ve picked up such cool stuff here.
And not only is everything being recycled, it’s also free. Free and recycled. What a fun combination!
I also realize not everyone shares my sentiment about re-using, and that’s ok. Everyone’s different. If you don’t want to ‘pick’, don’t. But do drop off your good stuff, versus just chucking it in the trash. Don’t have a local transfer station, why not consider donating?
I’ve shared photos of things that I’ve found over the years, though I’ve never shown the space in which I find my treasures…it’s quite the place…Here’s one of the signs viewed upon entering.
And here, is another…
The swap shop is a trailer. A tractor trailer, an 18 wheeler kind of trailer, but on the ground.
One end is open, with double doors. Each door proclaiming a sign…that’s the entrance.
Various shelving is found along the two long walls…
And things are piled in, around, and on these shelves…clothing, shoes, utensils, ice skates, skis, furniture, toys, books, candle stick holders, glassware, dishes, books, small appliances, instruments, picture frames, baskets, cameras, rugs, framed prints, tools, lamps, curtains, baking pans, gardening tools, boots, antiques, mirrors – are a few of the things one might find on any given day…the list is endless – seriously.
Granted, some things really should be trashed, like the badly chipped vase viewed in the photo above…though, that’s my opinion…I guess someone could argue it’s still usable – I wouldn’t use it, but that’s my opinion… who’s to say what’s trash and what isn’t?
One man’s trash is another’s treasure!
You just never know what you might find…
Below are a few more recent acquisitions…love ’em, especially the metal ice cube trays…and the vintage pyrex mixing bowls!
I wish I could have taken this (imagine it, cleaned, painted and with new hardware) from the outdoor covered area – too bad I had no where to store it! What a sideboard it could have made!!
Do you like to recycle and go ‘junking’? If so, I’d love to hear from you!
All the best to everyone in 2014, may it be a prosperous and peaceful year for all!
Happy New Year!
A lot of people do it.
And, unfortunately, a lot of people, don’t. Why one wouldn’t is beyond me…
Anyway, I am someone who does. I love recycling, repurposing and general re-use of good quality items. Why not right?
My town has a brilliant concept – it’s called a swap trailer. It’s a place where townspeople can drop off unwanted but good items, for another townsperson to take home and use. Brilliant.
The photos you see above are some the recent finds I’ve scored over the past few months…to see more treasures, go here.
The swap trailer is conveniently located at our local transfer station…so people can drop off their recycling (cardboard, cans, bottles, etc.) their trash as well as their unwanted stuff.
I love our swap trailer (aka freebie barn). I have found some great things over the years, so much so that the NYTimes took notice…it’s still surreal that my house was in the NYTimes…
Regardless of who takes notice or not, it’s a resource which is beneficial for people of all income brackets as well as the planet. Simple. Brilliant. Fun.
Try starting a swap shop of sorts in your town…you just never know what you may find!
Frittatas are a lot like quiche, without the crust. No crust, means they are that much more convenient to prepare. The built in bonus – they are versatile. I love versatile…
Fresh eggs and veggies. Eggs and meat. Eggs and cheese. Combine all three or more or less, and you have a frittata.
Simple. Inexpensive. Quick and Healthy.
Frittatas are perfect for house guests, a potluck or brunch. They can be served warm or cold.
Expecting company and want to serve straight out of the oven? Prep veggies the night before and then simply heat, add herbs, mixed eggs and cover. Voila, a beautiful breakfast/brunch/meal is ready to be shared… freshness and scrumptiousness served up in minutes -and for a fraction of going out.
What’s not to love?
Artichoke heart and goat cheese frittata
*adapted from Patrie Grace, in Potlucks.
What you’ll need;
1 bunch spring onions or scallions, thinly sliced (substitution – 1 medium onion, chopped and browned)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup basil, finely chopped
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1/2 cup calamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1 medium tomato, chopped)
1-2 good pinches of sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 large eggs, well beaten (preferably farm fresh) (:
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (I substituted brie for the goat – I was out of goat – it was great too!)
Cook onion in olive oil in a large oven proof skillet – cast iron works great – until onions are soft and brown. Add the garlic, cook briefly.
Add the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil. Stir gently, until all vegetables are heated through.
Reduce heat to low and pour the beaten eggs on top, covering all the vegetables.
Cover skillet and cook until eggs are firm on the bottom, about 5-7 minutes…give it a little shimmy to see how firm it is on the bottom. If more time is needed go on a minute to minute basis…
Uncover and place under the broiler, watching carefully until frittata is lightly golden. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and return for 1-3 minutes.
Slice, then garnish with ribboned basil or freshly chopped chives and serve.
Enjoy with a light green salad and or pan fried potatoes.
Serve with soup and salad.
Eat warm or cold – either way, it’s delicious!
enjoy the weekend!
P.S. Fun fact – the cute rooster plate I found at my local freebie barn – actually, I found an entire dish set for four, including, tea cups, saucers, side plates and dinner plates – plus, the lovely green bowl the eggs are photographed in … I love that place! (:
If you’ve been with me for awhile, then you know I love cooking, baking, gardening and the dump!
Yes, the dump.
Well, it’s not actually the dump, it’s actually a transfer station, but I lovingly (though incorrectly) refer to it as the dump. It’s just what I call it.
It’s where I take my trash and recyclables. I’ve lived in a few areas (and states) where residents can choose to use a service or take care of their own trash, meaning, go to the transfer station (dump) themselves. I’ve always opted for the later. Why?
Well, first off, it’s free, secondly, it’s no big deal for me to take care of myself (and my trash, which, by the way is quite minimal…) and usually, there is an area for ‘free’ items. It’s an area where residents can leave unwanted, yet good items, for others to take and enjoy…what’s not brilliant about that? My town has such a place.
I call it the ‘freebie barn’. I love it. Lots of residents do. I have found countless items there…toys, shoes, dishes, beach toys, chairs, tables, televisions, radios, rugs, silver ware (real silver), glasses, fabric, grills, telephones, old cameras … the list goes on and on – sometimes I look around my house and think, ‘Wow, I’ve scored so much cool stuff, for free!’ I love the dump.
It’s second hand stuff, without the price tag. Squeamish about second hand? Well, if you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant or slept in a hotel – you’ve experienced, ‘second hand’… get over it.
More areas need this resource. There are too many things being wasted. Lots of people would just love to have what others are ‘throwing away’ – too many good things (and well made things) get ‘tossed’ simply because another tires of it…thankfully, where I live, good things don’t go to waste.
So, the next time your driving down the road and see a table or chair on the side of the road and it’s got great lines, is well built and could use a good clean or a fresh coat of paint – don’t think twice. Pick it up. Fix it up. And enjoy it.
Why not? You’ll not only save yourself some money, (while adding to or changing your living space), but you’ve repurposed a completely good and useful piece of furniture or whatever it may be, that someone else simply tired of...don’t let well made items go to waste. Use them and enjoy them!
Here’s a look at a few things I’ve recently scored for free from my local transfer station…
Vintage toys are always fun to find. This piece is great. All parts work, the bell dings (without batteries!) while the elevator moves up (and down) and it’s great fun for Finn to push his cars up and down the ramps while allowing ‘passengers’ on and off the elevator.
I have scored such a variety of glasses from the dump and here’s a few more I’ve added to my never ending collection…one can never have too many glasses either…I love entertaining and having a plethora of glassware to choose from – and if one breaks (which, they inevitably do), I don’t fret…I will always find more…again, cocktails anyone?
Now, these were a fabulous (and serendipitous) find. Finn has been enamored with mowing the lawn (and we have a BIG lawn to take care of)…though, he’s only 3, so no real mowers, for a long time…though he’s been asking for a toy mower (his own mower)… most are plastic and I didn’t want to buy plastic (there’s too much plastic as it is, without consuming it, new!) so when we found this one (above) – he and I were so happy! He, because he finally had his mower and I, because we’ve recycled it (despite it being plastic), and we will recycle it, again. The red mower in the back, I also picked up! It needed a new spark plug and that’s it – it started right up – $200 mower, free. Love it!
This (plastic – I know) tool tray we also picked up with these fun tools (below)! I know, more plastic (frightening!), but at least it’s being re-used – even the drills (below) still had (good) batteries in them! What?
Now, I much prefer wooden toys (that is all I choose to buy) so when I spotted all these (below), I had to pick them up! Great additions for play dough play…not only does Finn enjoy working with play dough, but he also enjoys helping me make it! It’s very simple (and fun) to do, see here.
So while second hand may not be for everyone, it is for me.
It’s great for the planet and great for my wallet. You don’t have to spend a lot, to have a lot.
Do you love second hand things as much as I do? If so, I’d love to hear from you!
Share your thoughts, finds and most favorite ‘scores’ below.
While walking past the wood pile, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted two drawers. Two drawers that were obviously old, yet useful and practical for what I had in mind.
These beauties in disguise were tossed atop dilapidated doors, scraps of wood, disintegrating decking, bait tainted pallets, broken chairs – wood rubbish – they were part of the enormous pyramid shaped mound of wood – known around here as the ‘wood pile’.
I knew, instantly, I had to have them. They had to come home with me. Just like this had to come home with me a few weeks ago too…oh, the things I drag home…
So, I stepped carefully onto a few bits of heaped rubble and then steadied myself while leaning in to reach them. I picked each one up, inspected more closely and decided, yes, they are worth taking…they were haggard (obviously), but I saw their potential; train track storage.
Finn loves trains. Train play is so much more fun now that Finn has a train table (Michael built it). Assembling wooden train tracks on floors which are anything but level (we live in a 200+ yr. old Maine farmhouse), is a struggle no child or parent should experience – children’s train tracks should not require shims…nor elicit tears…
So, now that the train table has been built (thanks Michael!), a whole new love of train play has ensued and more storage was needed…especially since we’ve recently scored all this track and plethora of bridges; also picked up for free during one of our weekly jaunts to our local transfer station…
We had quite a bit of track and accouterments already, though train play can always be expanded upon…
In come these old drawers…
They were the perfect width, depth and height to fit under the newly built train table. And the best part of all was that one of the drawers already had partitions! Organizing the track types, while making them easily accessible has never been easier!
Yeah for the dump! (:
A bit of wood putty, a light sanding, two coats of paint, a little help with the castors and some fun contact paper and Finn now has some super cool track storage, which fit perfectly under his custom train table…and best of all, they make organizing and accessibility easy and fun – especially for a three year old!
Recycling and re-inventing at its best!
Try this idea under a bed or anywhere low drawers would fit…storage solutions made affordable, easy and fun.
We’ve been in need of some shelving for Finn’s reading nook… It’s a very small nook at the top of the stairs (it used to be my office) and while its been his ‘space’ for the past year, it was in need of a little re-do. It needed shelves and it needed white paint on the floor (it had been a dark red – not a nice red).
So I re-painted the floors (with floor paint we already had) and then hoped for some type of shelving or bookcase – something to keep books and toys on, while keeping things organized and easily accessible…and as luck happens, I found one. In the wood pile. At the dump. The very next day…
Now, this was certainly no beauty – obviously… Oh no. Typically I wouldn’t even had noticed it, but as I was walking past the wood pile – I thought, “I wonder what a coat of paint will do for that?” Then I thought, “I do need shelving for Finn’s reading nook…” My next thought was, “If it fits in the back of my car, I’m taking it.” And it did.
As I was unloading it and hauling it across the lawn, Michael says, “Wow, that’s nice…” Can you hear the sarcasm…? My immediate response was, “I know, I know – it’s not my style (at all) but just wait and see!”
So I got right to it. I scrubbed it, bleached it, lightly sanded it and then asked Finn to help me paint it and he was so excited to help, that we finished both coats, in one day (don’t worry, we were outside and it was a VOC free paint).
So two coats later and some gingham contact paper ($2.00 for the roll) and we now have a (useful and sturdy) ‘new’ shelf in the space.
Too bad it didn’t fit next to the window, instead of being slightly over the frame…
Oh well, things don’t have to be perfect to be lovely…and in the end, it was free, useful and needed. It didn’t end up in the wood chipper (see here for the other shelf I saved from the wood chipper). I didn’t drive all over looking for the ‘right’ shelving and I’m going to use the rest of the contact paper to re-cover the interior shelves in my pantry; money (and time) well spent I’d say.
Added bonus, the shelf is not only useful now, but it could (at some point) be used elsewhere in the house (thinking laundry room), or we could add more shelves to allow for varied storage abilities or even paint the sides with chalkboard paint or magnetic paint and Finn could play away…free, versatile and useful, what’s not to love?
What have you turned into treasure lately?
Dump shopping is my favorite kind of shopping. To be factual, my town transfer station is my favorite shopping destination. A big part of the transfer station is the ‘freebie barn.’ It’s a trailer set aside to house free (but good) stuff that residents no longer want/need…Who doesn’t like a deal? And a free deal, is the best deal around, right? Added bonus, this stuff isn’t ending up in the landfill or worse…why don’t more towns and cities incorporate this into their budgets? It boggles my mind – if my little town can do it, surely others can too…it’s another form of freecycle – but centrally located versus driving all over – what’s not to love about that? Extra added bonus – the savings. Childrens books and toys add up (everything adds up doesn’t it?), money saved is money available for other things, or simply more time to do more things…money equals time, the less money you need, the more time you can have (sort of – everything has its trade-offs) to do what it is you want to do. We’ve chosen to live on a much tighter budget than most, though these past years spent raising my son are worth so much more than money could ever buy…and shopping is so much more fun this way.
Here’s a few recent finds…amazing huh? It’s nothing, yet so much, all at the same time…
I just love these little etched vintage glasses – a whole set of 12 – perfect for little man. Estimated savings, at least $20.
These are the first two illustrations of ‘Animal Stories’ seen above – they are beautiful in person and will look great framed. Free art – estimated savings, $40.
Finn is getting into puzzles and he LOVES trains, so when I found this (new, still in box!) I had to pick it up. Estimated savings – $12.
Finn is also really into cooking, so when I found a bunch of kitchen tools (some even kid sized!) I had to take them too! Here’s Finn enjoying his latest treasures. Bonus they were all metal or wood (spatula, spoons, pie server, tongs, ice cream scooper (vintage), whisk, honey spoon)! Even the little people joining him were found at the dump (of course!). Estimated savings – $25.
Yet another plastic toy saved from landfill – even the batteries still work as do the sounds and songs which are played when the doors open and close…little animals were free too. So much plastic in the world – it’s frightening…estimated savings – $35.
File sorter. I can always use something like this, but I won’t buy this type because they are plastic, but I’ll use it and then recycle it when I’m done. And when I say recycle, I mean I’ll give them away to someone who wants them or return them to the ‘freebie barn.’ Estimated savings – $15.
And finally, this cool (vintage) book about shells. I love shells, I always have. I had to pick it up, the illustrations were too cool…estimated savings – $8.
Total estimated savings – $195.
Savings to the planet, priceless.
Other ways to save money and resources -check out flea markets, freecycle, craigslist, consignment shops, stay out of the mall and big box stores, trade with friends, shop for big items during annual sales, check your local newspaper… you just never know what you may find.
Also, visit your local library. Books, music, newspapers, magazines, movies – are all available for you to use (and borrow) for free…ok, not ‘free’ the town has to pay for all those books, movies, newspapers, etc. and the library itself, but then, its’ citizens (including and most importantly, children) get to enjoy all those ‘free’ treasures…money and time well spent I’d say.
Tag sales, thrift stores, garage sales, auctions, charity shops, the dump, the curb, hand me downs, consignment shops – why pay full retail when you don’t have to? Granted, I do buy some things new – like undergarments and beds, but for a lot of my needs, I will search second hand, before buying new, or I’ll simply do without. It’s not as hard as it may sound. You just need a bit of patience. For me, the fun part is the serendipity of my finds and the knowledge that I’ve kept us on budget – or under – and, let me tell you, we have a small budget.
I have been in need of a winter coat – one cannot do without a winter coat in Maine. I’ve checked out a few thrift shops and consignment shops, but no luck. I am picky – I’m not one to settle, I’d rather layer, than wear a bad coat. But, it did start to get cold…
Then, I came across this great fleece jacket;
at the dump (freebie barn). It is so cozy and warm, but I was still in need of a proper winter jacket – then I found this one, below, now I’m stylish and warm. This jacket set me back $7. I love the color – it’s charcoal. Not black, not brown, charcoal – and the extra wide platinum zipper, love it. Plus, it’s down, and down is so needed here. It was picked up at a local church charity shop. All proceeds go back into the community.
The dressmakers bust seen in the above photos, I picked up for $75 at auction, years ago. The ‘slipcover’ (piece of fabric placed over and tucked into cushions) seen behind the bust, I picked up at Goodwill for $4. The chair was a hand-me-down from my grandmother. And the lovely antique bread bowl on floor, seen to the left, scored at a flea market, $65. The curtains were free, as was the side stump table (made by Michael from a fallen 100 yr. old apple tree). The prints on the wall behind, were part of a larger collection we won at auction, $5. Frames, $2 each, thrift stores finds, painted black.
I love this quote from Katy Wolk-Stanley, the non consumer advocate;
“Still squeamish about used stuff? Consider these used things that you use without a second thought. Restaurant napkins, silver wear and dishes; hotel sheets and towels; bowling shoes, your hairstylist’s drape. Then, get over yourself.”
I am SO glad I’m not one of those unfortunate souls (squeamish about used stuff). Though, I’m not impervious to buying new – I almost spent A LOT of money on a new winter coat and a number of things I eventually found for much less, if not free. See, patience and persistence does pay off. Not only for our wallets, but for the entire planet…here’s a few more free things I’ve recently picked up for free;
Blender – I couldn’t believe it.
Mine recently broke (was given to me, new – lasted, 6 months – what a waste!). I missed my blender…and there it was – even better than the last blender, this one is glass, not plastic… I love it. And this sweet little pitcher – perfect for maple syrup or cream…
Oh, and the usual suspects – plastic toys. Finn loves them and I’m glad they’re not in the landfill!
Free pinecones (I do live in the woods, in Maine)
I realize not everyone has a freebie barn as I do, but there is freecycle, craigslist, yard sales, auctions, curbsides (don’t laugh, I found our deep, double sided, kohler, cast iron sink, curbside) and your local newspaper. Can’t find something you need, ask family and friends – maybe they want to get rid of just the thing your in need of. And don’t forget thrift shops. Goodwill and Salvation Army are not the only ones out there…check your phone book for possible additional listings…most importantly, don’t just buy – think.
As Katy Wolk-Stanley says, “Frugality is not about having more for less. Frugality is about doing more with less.” So true.