My mama raised me right. In our house, nothing ever went to waste. Leftover bacon grease was saved in a can on the kitchen counter. Aluminum foil was reused until it disintegrated. My lil’ brother and I often joke that Mom can spot the sales rack in a store faster than green grass through a goose (I cleaned that one up a bit for you Mom).
But it’s not just good common sense instilled from Mom. My thriftiness can be traced to all sides of my gene pool. A couple of years ago my Dad introduced me to the highly organized network of estate sales. I am now a self-professed Estate Sale Junkie and have the battle scars to prove it.
I am not alone. One of my favorite makeover/DIY/trash-to-treasure goddesses is the loveable Lara Spencer who has taken re-purposing and garage sale hopping to a new level of cool. Shopping with her along the World’s Longest Yard Sale is on my bucket list.
Is she adorable what?!
My latest score was found in my very own neighborhood. Yep, I picked my neighbors’ trash. Now, I know this isn’t for everyone. Some of you will bristle over the idea of sifting through the cast-offs of those who live just down the street. But imagine my thrill when Hubs, on his way home from work, called to exclaim:
“You’re not going to believe what the new neighbors are throwing out! I’m coming home to get you!”
When I’ve now got Hubs in on the hunt, I know I’m doing my mama proud.
After knocking on the door and introducing ourselves, we confirmed that the stuff lying at the end of their driveway was indeed up for grabs. They are lovely folks who we’ve invited over for a cookout which illustrates another benny from scavenging – you meet the most interesting people. Here is what we scored:
Refinishing outdoor wrought iron furniture can be a little tricky and a bit time consuming. But purchasing this stuff is almost always a pricey proposition, so it’s worth the extra effort to ensure your hard work will shine and hold-up to weather, critters, and the occasional good ol’ fashioned throw-down. Here are a few tips that I’ve discovered along the way:
It’s very important that you take the time to remove as much flaking old paint as possible. This requires items such as a wire brush, sandpaper (coarse and fine grit), a sander if you have one, safety goggles (trust me, stuff is going to be flying everywhere), and of course one of these:
Make sure you clean the furniture thoroughly before and after sanding. And, this is important, make sure everything is completely dry before you start to paint. The painting is where the magic happens and I know you will want to rush to this part of the process, but if the metal isn’t completely dry you’re not going to be happy with the results.
- Make sure you are outside or in a well-ventilated area.
- Lay down a few drop clothes.
- Pick a day that is cloudy with limited wind/breeze and dry! Humidity is the killer of a good paint job.
- Hubs and I are a split decision when it comes to priming. I’m good with a spray paint that includes primer and paint together. But he prefers to prime first and then paint. Your call, I don’t see much difference to be honest.
- Best Tip Alert: this little contraption, called a spray can holder, has saved my middle-aged hands as well as helped to ensure even paint distribution. Cheap, usually about $5 – well worth the investment.
- Additional Tips: Don’t rush it; finish with a sealer; if you need to hide a lot of flaws stay with the original color; paint in short, even strokes; and by all means test first on the drop cloth to ensure that the paint can isn’t dripping or clogged. For additional tips check out How to Spray Paint Wrought Iron Furniture.
Hubs and I haven’t finished re-doing all the furniture, but here are a few pieces that we’ve completed so far – whatcha think? I believe Lara would approve:
How about you: have you ever picked something out of someone else’s trash? What was your best find?