We've known each other for a little while now and I think I feel safe enough to tell you a big secret about myself. An addiction--if you will--that I have. Hi. My name is Jennifer (Hi Jennifer).... and I am a trash collector.
And by trash collector--I do not mean the respectable trade of driving in the really cool trucks up and down streets and collecting trash and hauling it to a dump site. I tend to run the same circuit they do, but no--I am not there to dispose of the trash you so innocently put out by your curb. I am there to go through it and collect any "treasures" I can find. On any given trash day--I am the nosy neighbor peering out the window, the shady person driving up and down the streets and the pair of legs you see sticking out of the big construction size dumpsters.
Some people collect pets, or purses or wine glasses. I collect thrown out items. Now, don't get me wrong--I am not one of those artsy people that looks for every hub cap, scrap of wire or metal and craftily welds and fashions it into some sort of art.
I don't really have a hoarding problem with my collecting. (I....well... I don't think I do) I use, sell or donate everything I collect and I have found some REALLY cool items over the years. I am just wired in weird ways and am fearless about jumping into any dumpster if I see a promising piece sticking out. I know I inherited this trait. My Mom recently confessed that she too was a "collector" when she was a child. She told of finding a perfectly good pair of boots in a neighbors trash, but then was all bummed when her Mom made her share them with her twin sister.
The way I see it I am practicing a valuable trade. I have made a lot of good walking around money with my "finds" and I have collected a lot of useful items for our home. So today, I thought I would share some of my highlights with you:
Check out this child's roll top desk I found sitting next to a construction site dumpster?
All it needed was a little cleaning and paint to freshen it up and now it is a prized piece in my library. It even holds a family heirloom typewriter that my great-grandfather (Grandpa Tyler) used. Also we found all kinds of cool treasures in it--a few fountain pens and some old scribbled notes from the child who had used it.
Here's a pic of a dining room table and chairs that a neighbor no longer wanted.
There were a lot of broken pieces and some missing parts. I glued the pieces back together and gave it a little paint and recovered the cushions and voila!-- a pretty decent dining set. I ended up giving this one away to a couple who needed it for guests coming for thanksgiving.
This is a cute locker cabinet I found outside another neighbor's house.
It is perfect for my boy's room to store all their little treasures in. It was on castors and missing one. So I just took them all off and cleaned it up.
My latest finds are still works in progress. This sofa table is going to get a good sanding and a fresh coat of stain and some new inserts on top (probably wood with glass tops). It will sit nicely in our rec room and be useful for adding some much needed shelves for all of the toys I mentioned before.
This chair will also get a fresh coat of stain and be a nice for rocking the day away outside.
I have found countless items that I have just simply cleaned up and either sold online or at our annual garage sale. So many baby walkers, and little work tables and such that just needed to be cleaned and minimally repaired. The bit I wrote earlier about the bicycles with the rusty chains? I collected 3 of them from my neighborhood. I didn't even have to bother to repair them. I just set them out for our garage sale and a lovely couple purchased them. They just happen to go around town collecting inexpensive bicycles in need of a little attention. After repairing them, they drive them down to Mexico and give them to away to kids. Isn't that cool?
For me it's not really about making money off my finds--although a nearly 100% profit ain't bad. Super Rock Star and I watch the show "American Picker's" a lot and one of the guys on the show often says "It's all about finding the right home for these pieces we rescue from the dirt". I find that to be so true. Unlike them--I'm not going to go knocking on folk's doors and asking to search through their barns and out buildings (at least not yet), but I am always keeping my eyes open for that peek of a promising something sticking up out of a trash can or leaning against the curb. My neighbors used to think I was a little nutty (probably still do), but now they have started coming to me first when they have something to get rid of. "Do you want this__________?" Always with quizzical brow lifted and a look of "really?" The answer is nearly always "Yes. Yes I do."