simple living

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…

fisher price elevatorVintage 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.

beach chairsWhen you live near the beach, one can never have too many beach chairs. I love how low these are – perfect for sitting at the waters edge…cocktails anyone?

glassware

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?

his and hisNow, 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!

mower + wheelbarrowHere’s the real mower again and the wheelbarrow in the back, was also, you guessed it, free.

tool tray

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?

tools

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.

wooden toys

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.

enjoy.

winter savings

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;

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.

down jacket

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.

blender

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!

kids tools

Free pinecones (I do live in the woods, in Maine)

bowl of pineconeslook lovely in a wooden bowl this time of year…the beautiful bowl, yes, free from the dump too…

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.

2 days a week

That’s how often my favorite shopping haunt is now open – 2 days a week. Winter hours. Winter hours? What? Already? Oh my.

My transfer station (aka – the dump) is now only open 2 days a week. Wednesdays and Saturdays. The busyness of summer has passed, the fair weather residents have moved on, thus the population has decreased significantly – so, no need for 4 days a week now… two days it is.

I hadn’t found anything spectacular since the sweet little pink piggy bank – until just recently. I found a few great old children’s books. Happy Birthday to you, by Dr. Seuss, 1959 and Walt Disney’s, Bambi, based on the original story by Felix Salten, copyright, 1949. The illustrations are lovely…

I also came across a Richard Scarry’s, Fun with Words, 1971. Dumbo, 1968 and My Friend Mac, by May McNeer & Kynd Ward, 1964.

These books are fabulously nostalgic and in decent condition. I’m not sure a Kindle version would last quite as long or be as memorable…

I’ve also recently come across a Thermos travel mug,

the usual plastic toys (at least they are getting recycled and not in the land fill – if only all plastic toys could be recycled or at least, be made of recycled product…),

a handmade wooden toy truck, (the dog puppet was picked-up at a thrift shop, $1 – the little bunny, a handmade gift)

a boogie board,

cross country skis,

a ball of string,

a hula hoop

and a simple, old, wood framed, chalkboard and eraser – even the old blue mason jar holding the sunflowers is from the dump!

I certainly didn’t need any of these things, but they are fun to have all the same. Treasures I like to say… I am recycling, re-using and best of all not consuming. Fun for free – what’s not beautiful about that?

If only every town had a transfer station like this, how lucky we’d all be…

enjoy.