Saturday, August 28

Dumpster Diving

It's true what they say about one man's trash. When we were first married we were still in college and when the school year was up we hit the big time at the local Boy's Hall dumpster.
This may sound gross, but If it does, you have never been dumpster diving. You can find some of the best stuff dumpster diving.

That year alone, we scored a shelf, an old stereo, a chair, and a 27" TV. I'll be honest and admit that someone had rolled up his entire bedding- pillows, mattress pad and all- and dumped it, doubtless to prevent his mother from finding out that it had not been washed all year. And that I did not touch. A boy's dorm at the end of the year is one of the best places to find treasure. Girls will make it all fit in their car, but guys, they just dump it.
Yesterday we were walking thru our neighborhood, and found that someone had rented a dumpster for what appears to be a remodeling project. We grabbed two narrow shelves, one of which will be a lifesaver in the kitchen. And we saved them from going to the landfill. If anyone wants glass shower doors, they're there for the taking.
A close relative of dumpster diving is the annual Boy Scout pick-up day. In our small town, once a year the Scouts come around to haul away large stuff, and everyone puts their stuff they want to get rid of out to the curb. And, being both cheap and friendly, most people put their stuff out a couple days early. Then you can drive around town and grab stuff off the curb. And the Boy Scouts pick up whatever is left.
When my sister moved, she got rid of a bunch of furniture that way.
In Hungary, where my folks live, they are only allowed one bag of trash per week. So once a year all the large trash is brought to a neighborhood center and dumped. Then everybody goes thru it to find things they want. Clothes, furniture, you name it, if it's unwanted it gets dumped. And when everyone's done, the gypsies come dig thru what's left. Then they burn the remainder, which, if the gypsies don't want it, is truly trash.
Frankly, the amount of stuff we throw out in this country is staggering. I wish it was easier to rummage thru other people's unwanted stuff. There are drawbacks, obviously. Those two shelves are out on the porch airing out right now- I'm not gross. I know in some big cities, "Freegans" are raiding dumpsters at night looking for food. That seems very noble and all, but I think I'll stick with the farmer's market.

Have you found anything awesome that someone else threw out?

Friday, August 20

Friday's Find

This Week, the Find is twofold.
First off, a fun Mens' t-shirt from our local Goodwill- Cost $1.99. If you can't tell, It says, "Keep It Green". I am contemplating making grocery bags out of t-shirts because they are, cheap, washable, and recycled. My husband has a huge collection of this kind of shirts, but he won't let me make bags out of them.

Second, a vintage (retro?) 1980 Man with Big Muscles. I think he's cute.
This is what happens when you ask your Dad to take a picture of your husband for your blog.

Wednesday, August 18

Thrifting with kids and other great Finds

This weekend, went Goodwilling with my lovely SIL Debbi, her two little ones, and The Other Elisabeth*.
Not only did we have a marvelous time (well, I know I did.) But Elisabeth found a fantastic, vintage 40's navy blue dress that fit her like a dream.
Okay, the real truth went something like this:
Her: Oh this is nice (Moves on)
Me: This has a metal zipper! In the side! The tag is original! THIS IS MID-FORTIES! TRY IT ON, IT WON'T FIT ME!
She rolled her eyes and took it, since people were starting to look at us funny.

But, in the end, the Rules, strictly enforced by Me, paid off, as it fit her like it had been made for her, and was generally adoreable. She told me she wore it out the other night, but did not send me pics.
We also introduced Debbi to the wonders of Thrift shopping. Debbi is Queen of Dollar Stores, Empress of Bag Days, and Mistress of the Community Garden, so it was about time we showed her what second-hand was all about. We forced her most cruelly to try on stuff, and she ended up with several cute things, some of which she even admitted to liking.
But the real revelation for me was my 6-year-old niece. It was my first time Thrifting for kids, and, if possible, it was even more fulfilling than Thrifiting for myself. We let her be amused by rooting around finding things she wanted while we shopped. Then I went in the dressing room with her and strictly enforced the "no you can't grow into a size 16" rule. (This is a new rule. I Might have to write all new rules for thrifting with Kids. I need to find some more kids to practice them on!) She ended up with such a haul of cute stuff that fit her, that I had to hide some of it so she would forget about it. And get this- kids clothes are even cheaper than adult ones!
As for me, I got two cute sweaters (which was insane because it was approximately one-hundred-and-seventeen-degrees outside) and a great khaki dress which I can wear to my lovely new job where wearing skirts is smiled upon.
All in all, a fun trip.

*I thought of abbreviating this, but calling her "T.O.E." just doesn't seem very nice.

Monday, August 9


Yesterday I went to Goodwill with my sis for the first time in, Oh, ages. We were just hanging out and, as usually happens, we wound up out looking for bargains. She was getting ready for the new work and school year, and needed a couple things to spruce up her wardrobe. I was just along for the ride.
And she found some great stuff!  While we were there we had a conversation about how no matter what style you are, you can find it second hand. Of course, I love anything retro and relaxed, but she has a much more crisp, tailored style. If she sends me pics I will post them, but she got a darling new black pencil skirt with lace detailing that fit so perfectly! I would not even try on a pencil skirt, but to her, they are indispensable. Even out shopping, she wore a cute outfit of kelly green tank and tailored navy capris. I wore my trusty bell-bottoms and a brown T-shirt (one of several). 
We'll never look like sisters, but if you talk to us for more than 30 seconds, you will see the similarities. Or rather, you will hear them loud and clear! We laughed so hard, people were looking at us. At one point she wondered aloud why Goodwill hasn't run out of high-waisted stone-washed jeans yet, and I reflected that they never sell, so they just become more and more concentrated in the inventory as all the other styles come and go. She did not find any new jeans.
One thing we certainly have in common, which we inherited from our mother, is the desire to obtain the greatest quantity of clothes for the smallest price. Cat was commenting amazedly on a friend of hers that had spent hundreds buying a week's worth of new clothes. All in all, Cat spent about ten bucks, and she even bought a tank for me.We returned home victorious, and (I'll be honest) feeling slightly superior. There is something so satisfying about saying, "Oh this? I got it for three dollars. Great, isn't it?" And to me the added bonus of being able to show my "greenness" off with style is quite the temptation. At least Cat will always keep me humble. Nothing reminds you not to take yourself seriously like saying, "Isn't This Cool?" and having the other person laugh uproariously as she derides you for you weirdness. Because she loves you.