Monday, March 15, 2010

It's that time of the year again....Curbside Shopping!


I am a big fan of recycling goods and reducing my consumer tendencies for brand new items as much as possible. We have been frequenting garage sales in order to outfit our new place in Perth with 'loved' goods (and great on the pocket book of course - we think we have saved about $3500-$4000 as a result of outfitting our house with items found curbside shopping!!). We didn't expect to fill our whole house with 2nd-hand goods but we are doing our best to have it be the majority and have found some fun projects along the way!
I'm a fan of 'freecycle' a global, online community for recycling goods for free, based on geography. (Check it out in your area - and have found something new I'm so excited about......

Since moving to Australia, we have found out about 'bulk rubbish pickup'. Each community will have a curbside service where twice a year, they pick up bulk household items and garden waste. When we first moved to Australia we had the best day curbside shopping:

It started with attending a couple of garage sales north of Perth and where we picked up a few small items (laundry basket of wicker, toaster, picture frames). We noticed that everyone in the neighborhood had massive piles of "junk" and yard clippings outside of their house on the curb. We started looking around just to be curious and ended up spending 3.5hrs combing the neighborhood. We affectionately called it "trolling" -fishing for good deals and were joined by a number of cars (with trailers!!!!) also doing the same thing! We ended up finding a wicker table base and wicker chair to add to our wicker bench (also found in a curbside pile earlier in the week) to make a set for our patio area!!!  It's freakin' GREAT! I'm in recycle-repurpose heaven!

Then we found a washing machine! We went into the yard and rang the doorbell and the woman came out and told us there was nothing wrong with the washer and they had been using it up to a few days ago and they had recently upgraded.

So we continued on and found a beautiful wood corner unit that will hold a TV and other things. It had doors on it (not attached - we had to dive into the pile to find them with the help of the owner). He offered to keep the unit in the open garage and we could pick it up closer to the weekend when we have my friend's truck.

By this time, Andreas was delirious and I was laughing so hard at his enthusiasm! Never in my life did I think we'd be curbside shopping in Perth together. Our final scores for the day were a giant wicker basket (notice a theme here! Happy it's not plastic...) and a working, fairly new, bag-less vacuum.

We had so much fun! Andreas got really into it (much to his surprise) and even asked if we were offsetting our emissions by not consuming?! An interesting thought.  I certainly didn't mind spending a few hours and about $5 in petrol looking and collecting. It felt good to recycle things so they wouldn't end up in the landfill and will have a new home and loads of good use.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly didn't set out to make a habit of getting excited about large piles of curbside 'trash' but seriously, curbside shopping is way more appealing when the words 'dumpster' and 'diving' don't even come together in the same sentence. This is much more civilized and way cleaner! (not that I've ever truly dumpster dived...)

We missed out on numerous tables, chairs, plants, plant pots, a Webber BBQ, about 8 boogie boards (aka Shark Biscuits) and a great black metal futon frame! Most just needed a little TLC, a good wash with a garden hose, some soap and water and VOILA! Brand new life......

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