Tag Archives: Free stuff

Free and cheap things that have come my way lately

I’ve been a very fortunate girl in terms of the ongoing free/cheap things that have come my way. I really do think there’s a kind of cosmic give-and-take at work. I give away A LOT of stuff. (Not that I buy so much or own so much in the first place; it’s more that I find many great things and share freely. And when I “upgrade” something, I let go of other things.) Anyway, I mean that I don’t just write posts like this to say “Look at what I have!” but to think about what it means. Since I last wrote specifically about getting cheap and free things I’ve acquired many more for “show and tell.”

A neighbor threw out this large (25.5″ x 33.5″) mirror. It was a dark burgundy color and I already have a similar mirror so I painted this one white (primed first). It’s a small room and I always keep in mind that mirrors enlarge spaces, plus this one, opposite the window, reflects light from outside. I’ve been liking the overall effect very much; it adds something.
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Someone listed a free manual treadmill on the local on-line yardsale group and I pounced! I know nothing of treadmills; I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a “manual” kind which is powered only by your movement but I liked the idea. (This may have to do with having seen too many movies featuring the hackneyed scene of somebody getting distracted while on an “automatic” treadmill and go flying off the back.) Yes, it’s a beast and taking it on meant a piece of furniture (a tall corner shelf unit) had to go (gave it away) but when I thought about, what is more important? A large object that adds to health and possible longevity or a large object that is mainly decorative and stores stuff? I have used it all winter. I can truly see the benefit of having exercise equipment on-hand especially when the weather is lousy. It even measures calories spent, speed, time, nd distance traveled.

On the same aforementioned online yardsale group, a woman was selling the long, unused burgundy runner seen in the photos for $5. I thought it would cozy up the treadmill corner and make it more appealing to use in the dreary, cold, dark winter months. It did.

I should move on to the wild curtains seen in the treadmill photos. Last summer I found that pair of curtains tossed out on the curb. They were still on a curtain rod, that’s how lazy the people were! It looked as if they’d had a big fight: “You don’t like these curtains? Well, I’ll show you!” [rips curtains down rod and all and heaves them out the door.] Well, saw this gorgeous fabric pattern and thought, YEAH! That’s for me. My taste grows increasingly bolder. The curtain rod? Well, it WAS garbage, kinda rusty, so I left that behind. Not only are these curtains – which I assure you I washed – beautiful – they fit the other colors and act like a big of piece of art on the wall.

Further, I realized they are thinner than my original, cream colored curtains and I got the idea to simply hook the new, patterned curtain OVER the others so they added extra warmth in winter months.

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Patterned curtain clipped overtop other solid color pair

This bag was on the “free” table at the local thrift store. They must not have thought it had much value but it’s actually well made and looked useful. I’m not sure if maybe it was a camera bag or something? But I thought it could make a good over-body purse for times I might not want to haul a bigger bag, like on a hike.

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I probably wouldn’t have bought it but for free I’ll give it a try

I paid a mere $3 for this bag at the thrift store and was happy to do it. I like to keep larger bags on hand for times I need to carry more than just a purse. The sunglasses I got from Amazon for $5.
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I found a nice, large bird feeder last summer. The strange thing (for me) is I no longer remember where – I think that’s because I promptly put it away to wait for winter. It’s been a huge hit with the birds.

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When I write about my community I often think it must sound like people throw perfectly good stuff out all the time as if they were rich. The first part is true; but the second is not, nonetheless a lot of good stuff gets trashed. Near last summer’s end I found these two chairs in terrific condition. They were with two other chairs that weren’t in terrific condition so I left those behind. I washed them up (hose, soap, scrub brush) and boom – aren’t they great?!

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In late summer somebody threw out what must have been a large IKEA storage unit (all IKEA stuff eventually goes to die by the road). I’d had an idea for awhile and when I saw the drawers in the pile of rubble, I snapped up a few. I’ve been looking at underbed storage and I really didn’t the want to spend the money plus when I read Amazon reviews, many of the styles available sound flimsy. I want sturdy. So what I did was add a set of castors I had to the bottom of one of the drawers. Voila! Nice-looking, underbed storage. Because they were drawers they even have that hand opening to pull them out. I need two more sets of castors to do the others.

In the fall I got these two pretty scarves from the thrift store’s “dollar bin”. They are both my style and so soft!

At the local synagogue’s annual fall rummage sale I picked up this basic tote bag for a mere quarter. Little faded but still has life.

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More inexpensive secondhand sunglasses. The black-and-white were a quarter; I haven’t worn them yet…maybe this summer.

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Someone in the neighborhood threw out this step stool. One of the legs is damaged but I feel safe. (It wasn’t a mortal wound.) Did you realize the hole is a carrying handle? I think I figured  that out (about such stools) only two years ago.

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This 3′ fake tree hit the curb right after Christmas – the lights work and everything. It’s not a good picture but it is a cute tree so far as fake trees go.

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Last year I found a container full of small thread spools, which I could definitely use (although I did wonder who throws out thread??). The container, a big plastic chest, I soon gave away. I got the idea to put all the little threads on thin dowels. It’s great; I can see all the colors and they don’t get tangled.

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Lastly, these Easy Spirit shoes were $2!

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It’s May show and tell time!

A number of nice, free or cheap things have come my way in the last month and I’d like to share them with you. I always loved show & tell in grade school and well, I still do. I figured I’d pack a bunch into one post.

I lucked into these Sloggers rain boots in my size at the small local church thrift store. Sloggers is a U.S. brand that makes oh-so-cute rain boots and garden shoes. I already had some I bought from Amazon. They have nice thick treads and since I don’t have a car and walk a lot  I wear them often. This particular pattern is one I’ve covetously eyed and knowing their usual price, I didn’t mind paying a modest $5 for a second hand pair, ones which are perfect for spring/summer in this beautiful pastel shade.

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Last week I saw what I thought was trash in the street and I was going to get it out of the roadway (doing a good deed natch) but when I got closer I saw it was two Holmes window fan boxes with fans inside. I wasn’t optimistic that they’d work but I took one home to see and lo and behold it was a working fan so I fetched the other one. My best guess is they’d been left on the curbside but the grass cutters mowing a “common” area had knocked them into the street. It was odd there wasn’t a “FREE” sign on them; if I hadn’t picked them up they’d likely have gone to the landfill because who expects random roadside appliances to work?? Especially when they appear to be trashed boxes.

They were really dirty, especially one, so I had to take it apart, even breaking a small, unimportant piece in order to clean it but I looked online and these sell for $40 each at Target so not such a bad deal. Not only are they digital but they have a reversible “exhaust” feature.

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I paid $2 at a community school yard sale for these Levis 314 “shaping straight” size 29 jeans. The people were nice enough to let me take them into a close-by building to try them first and they were perfect.

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Someone tossed out a small set of drawers. The drawers were cheaply made and I didn’t want them but the solid metal drawer pulls were great so I only took them. This isn’t typically something I’d do particularly if I think it’ll render an item useless for the next potential grabber (I once didn’t take an IKEA bed frame because I only wanted it for the lumber and it seemed right to leave it for someone needing a bed, only to later learn from another person that a fellow came along after me and took it for the lumber!). However, drawer pulls are easy enough to procure so I didn’t feel too guilty.

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I set them in the dish drain to take the picture to show you

I’m not sure what I’ll do with them; they could be drawer or door pulls or if I attached them to a board I could make a little rack for hanging things.

Someone advertised a large, free glass bowl on line along with other items. I was delighted to be the first person to request it. The bowl turned out to be good quality Anchor Hocking, perfect for making breads. It was great timing because I’ve been looking at large bowls online but thought they were too pricey. Here it is next to a measuring cup to show size.

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I think this next is my favorite. I happened to see this IKEA Poang chair on the local Freecycle group (other than to give stuff away I rarely look at it because the group is very popular and nice items get plenty of replies). For whatever reason though, I saw this listing with a photo about an hour after it went online and somehow I knew this chair was mine. Sometimes I just get those feelings. I was right! The lister contacted me and I picked it up promptly. The cover needed a thorough washing (not dissing the owner; it had been used on a screened porch and abandoned by the previous home owner) and the arm rests needed sanding, both of which I did right away.

It happened that I found a tossed-out IKEA Pello chair several years ago (and after cleaning it and washing the cover of course) I put it in my room. It’s been fine but the white cover gets messy fast and it’s not my favorite shade. I thought I’d swap it for the new chair. However, a Poang chair is a bit larger than the Pello and it seemed too big for my little room. I had an idea: I swapped the covers! Even though each is made for its specific chair they still fit the other. So, here is the Pello chair I already had with the “new” Poang cover.

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After having a plain white chair for years this in-your-face print is a big change but I love it! I put the Poang chair with the white Pello chair cover in the living room. Perfect!

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Let me tell you about these two chairs. When I sit down in either I say, “Oooooohhhh“, close my eyes and promptly start yawning. Either I am too tired or these chairs are quite comfortable. I mean look at that chair above – it even appears to be leaning back & relaxing by itself!

And finally, I just got this ” glider” style bench curbside. You can make it move back and forth with your feet. Or you can just sit there sprawled on its unusual depth. It was kinda blackened when I found it but I scrubbed it up. I “willed” a new bench to come my way because another I’d found and had for many years finally had to get trashed; I’d made several repairs over the years but the wood had deteriorated too much. What’s cool about this one is I could remove the glider mechanism if I wanted and just have a bench. It appears from the bottom of the wood that it sat directly on the ground without protection so I may have to get rid of that part eventually. Benches like this are expensive and I love getting them as freebies.

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think that’s everything – for now.

p.s. The day after I wrote this I found a beautiful 7′ umbrella thrown out for trash. I had to add it to this post!

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