Thursday, June 26, 2008
Call it Dumpster Diving, Garbage Hunting, or Trash 2 Treasure Hunting
I've been doing it as an active hobby/"occupation" for the past 15 years.
I can remember when I was little (shh, about 40 or 45 years ago!) - we would be leaving church - my mother already drove slow as hell, but she was purposely going even slower so she could look up and down all the streets and alleys - garbage was picked up every Monday and Friday morning - she wanted to see what everyone was throwing out! Me and Johnny, my baby brother, would always hide on the back floorboard!
I'll never forget her whipping (well, it felt like she was whipping! She jumped from 10 to 20mph in no time!) into the alley behind the nuns' house, the convent (we attended the Catholic Church and the Catholic school) and she single-handedly loaded a dresser or table or something into the trunk of our old Buick Electra 225! We (me & my little brother) were so embarrassed! Not to mention she was cutting in on our Sunday morning cartoon and Shirley Temple time!
She and her friend, Bobba Jones, got in the adult woodworking class at the local public high school and, for a month, they were in our garage doing who-knows-what to that piece of furniture. They were sawing, and sanding, and painting and whatever else - they wouldn't let anyone see! Little did I know, it would change my life!
Do you know, to this day, that gorgeous unusual antique table sits in the formal living room of her million dollar beach house? It turned out to be worth thousands! Guess what? It's on my inheritance list! When she asked me if I wanted it, I didn't hesitate one second!
Folks, I am not exaggerating when I tell you that over 75% of my furniture and furnishings were either found or left abandoned in one of my family's storage rental units! Gorgeous lamps (I have an uncle who fixes lamps), tables, chairs, wicker patio sets, recliners, fabulous mirrors (I have 3 in my home right now), sterling silver pieces, etageres, all kinds of cool stuff. I've even sold a bunch of items to the second-hand furniture man, who I ended up becoming close friends with because I saw him so much! Once, someone abandoned a complete set of 4 brand new tires!
Once, when Bree was around 4 or 5, I woke her up at 5 in the morning, because I had "caught" some people putting out bags and bags and bags of stuff. I stopped and found out that their mother had just passed away and they had to completely empty out her apartment. Bree said, "Ooooo, we hit the jackpot!" There were full bottles of perfume, NOT cologne, perfume! Her children, the dummies, didn't want any of it - they had their own stuff! Whatever!
I got a beautiful working antique clock! There was gorgeous costume jewelry, a complete set of dishes, glasses, and pots and pans; canned goods, Oriental rugs, brand new unopened make-up and other toiletries and household products; lawn and beach furniture - and I haven't even touched on all of the furniture and Christmas decorations and knick-knacks and floral arrangements - you name it!
Did I mention I got 2 Salvador Dali framed reproductions? Oh, and 2 Ansel Adams framed prints? Made a pretty penny off of those!
It took us about 30 minutes to toss the big lawn bags into the back of my truck and about 3 days to sort through (and clean) it all! Bree made herself a little pile of stuff and played "store owner" to her little friends with her treasures! Even she pocketed some "7-11" money!
So, say what you want to about us scrounges! One man's trash IS truly another man's treasure!