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?
Rena McDaniel-The Diary of an Alzheimer's Caregiver saysSeptember 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm
What a great find and a terrific job fixing it up too!
Kimba saysSeptember 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm
Victoria Virgo saysSeptember 6, 2014 at 6:08 pm
My sister is a true fan of picking up other people’s trash and transforming it into treasure. That is how we also got out garden furniture.
Well done to your hard working assistant 🙂
Kimba saysSeptember 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm
Yes, he is very under-appreciated!
Marla saysSeptember 6, 2014 at 2:05 pm
I call it treasure hunting and I’m a fan! Whether it’s beach combing, freecycle online, goodies at the end of driveways, thrift stores, or the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, there’s something so exciting about finding a used item that you can give new life to. Let the creative juices flow. Love it!
Kimba saysSeptember 9, 2014 at 1:55 pm
Treasure hunter sure sounds better than trash picker or dumpster diver! 🙂
Suzie Cheel saysSeptember 6, 2014 at 2:42 am
That is brilliant, I want a lounge like that.
Best think I got about a year ago was a special cushion I had just bought for the car seat, and there was one on the giveaway pile at the fromt of our complex, i now use on my computer chair- nothing as grand as what you scored
Kimba saysSeptember 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm
That sounds like a great cushion! Hope it’s also a fun color to match your spirit.
Helene Cohen Bludman saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 8:54 pm
Wow, I am impressed. I could never pull off something like this!
Kimba saysSeptember 9, 2014 at 2:05 pm
Puleezee… I know you could this and more Helene!!
Terry saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 7:57 pm
IMPRESSIVE. Must say i thought . what the heck is she going to do with that… and surprise a beautiful table and chaise !
Kimba saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 8:45 pm
Thx Terry – still need to get to the chairs that go with the table. Think I can get them done before winter.
Marquita Herald saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 5:52 pm
I am SO impressed Kimba! I haven’t been to a garage sale in years. (Estate sales on the Island are very rare!)I wish I had something to share, but I am a minimalist to the bone. Still, you’ve inspired me so I may just venture out this weekend just for the adventure. 🙂
Kimba saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 8:46 pm
Wishing you great finds – let me know if you discover any island treasures.
janieemaus saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 5:17 pm
My girl friend and I went dumpster diving in the back of a florists shop! Great finds.
Kimba saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 8:47 pm
Oh, I bet! Do flower shops through flowers away? If so, I know what my next target will be!
Doreen McGettigan saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 4:05 pm
My husband and my brother-in-law are skilled pickers, trash pickers that is. My daughters are very good at thrifting and they are trying to bring me up to speed.
I love the chaise! Amazing transformation.
Kimba saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 8:48 pm
Thrift stores are great fun – you never know what you will find. Last week my Dad found an old copy of a James Joyce novel for me in a bin of $1 books!
Elaine Ambrose saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 2:19 pm
Wonderful transformation! Could you come over and clean up my patio furniture? I once retrieved a broken tricycle from my neighbor’s trash and fixed it for my son. He didn’t know the difference.
Kim Dalferes saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm
LOL, sure Elaine, you supply the wine and I’ll bring the spray paint.
WendysHat saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm
YES! Take me with you on that dream “junking” trip with Lara too! I have many things that I have saved from the junk pile and love them!
Kim Dalferes saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm
I wonder if we could entice Lara to host a gals “the world’s longest yard sale” road trip?
Julieanne Case saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm
I have taken extra furniture from a family member and used it. I have bought at garage sales before but at this point in my life, I want to let go of things. But I love what you did with it. They are sturdy pieces and you’ll enjoy them! Congrats.
Kim Dalferes saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 1:53 pm
I do find that I’ve become a bit more selective later in life. When I was younger I needed everything; now a days I look for items that I think will look good re-purposed at my house or the lake.
Lois Alter Mark saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm
Send this to Lara Spencer! I would love to see your bucket list wish come true!
Kim Dalferes saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 1:47 pm
LOL Lois, I did send her a tweet. I would be over the moon if she responded. She’s also a Penn Stater, which is where my son went, so maybe I could get a “WE ARE” from her too. That would just be too cool for school.
WendysHat saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm
Great idea Lois and Kim that awesome! My daughter is in her second year at Penn State. I just got back from taking her back this last week.
Kim Dalferes saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 2:25 pm
Kim Tackett saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm
I am jealous of those of you who find awesome stuff in the trash, and by the side of the street. My daughter does it with flair! Me, never so lucky.
Kim Dalferes saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm
Dear Name Twin – just keep your eyes open. I recently found a beat up but sturdy oak chair buried in the basement of an estate sale. A coat of paint and it now looks terrific at my desk.
Carol Cassara saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 12:50 pm
I would love to have the energy to repurpose–actually I’d love to have the eye you have!
Kim Dalferes saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm
Yeah, I have to watch out for creating too many projects – they tend to pile up in the garage. As a Virgo, I become obsessed if stuff sits for too long – not one of my best qualities (just ask the Hubs).
Nancy Hill (@Nerthus) saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 12:33 pm
OMG! I am so glad you posted in Megaphone so I could find you! You are a kindred scrounger! I love estate sales… as long as the item doesn’t feel weird; I swear that sometime stuff hangs on to “vibes.” Thrift stores are also delightful.
Kim Dalferes saysSeptember 5, 2014 at 1:39 pm
You are SO right – sometimes I pick up something at an estate sale and it doesn’t “feel right.” Any bad juju vibes and I walk away. My Nana brought me up in thrift stores – we are kindred spirits indeed.