Spring Cleaning

We had a fantastic Memorial Day weekend and did so much that I’ll have to write a separate post with at least 384 pictures â?? just as soon as I have a tad more time (I will finish my dissertation’s conclusion this week!)

In the mean time, I thought I’d post a quick note about some stuff we found: I guess Memorial Day weekend is a chance for many people to get their spring cleaning out of the way before summer, and there is some amazing stuff being lovingly given away around here. We went out yesterday evening for our nightly walk and couldn’t even make it halfway around the block without loading up on stuff: a brand new beach umbrella (useful for the daily trips to the river I’ll tell you about soon), a kite in the shape of a biplane (still in its bag), old school kid’s camp chairs, a wooden play kitchen, woven baskets, a shoe shining kit, and a plant stand. After two trips we decided we had enough projects to sand and clean up and that we didn’t need to be those people who stock up on so many “bargains” that their house looks like a permanent rummage sale.

But then this morning I drove by one of the piles again and couldn’t stand the thought of leaving a wooden student desk in the approaching thunderstorm. So with no other help than my toddler-carrying-trained biceps and the Volvo, I brought this sturdy piece home, too. It’s in the garage pending a decision on its fate. If nothing else, we can put it on freecycle.org to find it a home.

I love this neighborhood. Everybody seemed to be outside last night and we met a bunch of neighbors/owners of the piles we were perusing. They were so happy to know their stuff was going to be used and loved by another family.

So here are the highlights:

The desk, which needs sanding and refinishing, but is in perfect working order.

The plant stand, something I was just talking about getting for the overflow pots on the side of our house (and to somewhat mask the hose from street view).

These kid’s chairs looked a bit better in the darkness. Today it’s becoming clear that a couple may need to be rewoven, but they are so lightweight compared to today’s beach chairs, it may be worth figuring out. Or maybe they’ll have to go back out onto the curb.

The kids who enjoyed this play kitchen are now 16 and 20 years old. It’s been hanging out in a garage, but after some sanding and scrubbing, I think it’ll be very well-loved by our 20-month-old aspiring chef. Have you seen how expensive wooden kitchens can be? I think this project, if none of the others, will be worth it. Plus, I love projects that involve light sanding and painting/varnishing, since I’m not too handy with the actual woodworking to make such things.

Jax has been officially initiated into our ragpicking ways: he held the kite in his hands as he rode in the stroller on the way home, with a grip that meant he took his task seriously. Poor thing, he doesn’t yet know it’s not normal to routinely bring home the neighbors’ trash!

6 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning

  1. We are moving back to NY for about a year and a half and after seeing your fabulous finds, I think we should move to your ‘hood just for the street goods!!! LOL! Anyway- I know you spent some time in the city while Jax was a baby, I was wondering if you have any advice, good resources, ANYTHING to tell me before we embark on this journey!!!???

  2. You have such good stuff in your neighborhood! I need to start trolling the alleys in my neighborhood and maybe I’ll find some cool stuff too. 🙂 I love the little kitchen; it reminds me of the one Dad made us.

  3. I am amazed – and seriously considering moving to your neighbourhood! I love the kitchen and that desk. Wow! I miss garage sale Saturdays…

  4. oh man,i used to live for pick-up week… such treasures! and that desk you found is wonderful. do a ‘designsponge before and after’ on it – it will be so worth it!

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