Curbside: Coat Trees, Pop Crates, and Brown Paper

The last couple of weeks have been great for junk picking. People are cleaning out garages, closets, and grandma’s house. I especially like it when people are cleaning out grandma’s house! For the last year or two, I’ve been attending garage sales at a particular house where they have been selling the accumulated stuff of a dedicated auction and estate sale goer. For health reasons, the lady now lives in a larger town closer to her doctors. Her children have gradually been going through and selling the things that she doesn’t need anymore. Well, most of it anyway.

Sometimes they just throw stuff out.

That’s where I and my extra-long Dodge Caravan come in. I’ve gotten in the habit of checking her house whenever I pass by just in case there is something useful on the curb! The first good stuff we found included the lamp that I spotted last week. (See my March 26, 2011 blog, “Curbside: Junk’s Risin’.”) Last week we stopped on the way to the Milwaukee Art Museum to snag a bunch of heavy-duty pop crates—among other things. (It was my birthday outing, so my husband had to turn the car around and stop!) I like to use the ones that are racks for 2-liter bottles as plastic pallets to set paper bags and boxes on in my basement storage area. If the water heater springs a leak, the pop crates help prevent water damage. If the crates get wet, they will dry rather than mold and mildew.

The pop crates that are more like high-sided trays are great for garden use to cart weeds to the compost pile, act as sieves for small amounts of compost, or haul clumps of perennials to the potting table. I also use the crates to hold newly potted perennials so they can be lowered into watering troughs or transported to a sale.

It was raining when I found all of this stuff. In the rush to get out of the weather before it wrecked my outfit, I almost missed all the new rolls of brown paper! Not only is it great for wrapping things, it is also very handy for a lot of crafts. The rolls were wrapped in plastic, so they weren’t ruined by the rain!

A week later, I spotted what looked like a perfectly good coat tree lying on its side in front of the same house. We were on our way to the 4-H Communication Arts Festival but decided to stop just long enough for my daughter to throw it in the back of the van. (My husband was present, but I was driving!)

I had been looking for a coat tree at my daughter’s request—she needed a handy place to hang her trench coat and trilby. The only drawback about this coat tree was that it was slightly damaged. It needed a leg repaired. A little wood glue and a few reinforcements later, it was as good as new.

Good things come to those who wait—and keep a sharp eye out—for what they need. I had been searching for a coat tree for her at local sales for most of the previous garage sale season. Here it finally turned up for FREE! Begonia

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