One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

Greetings on this fine fall day! It’s a holiday here today, so the city is quiet and our morning has been slow going.

Today I thought I’d show you some things I have recently found put out to the trash by others.

Here in Toronto we are required to put our trash out in big plastic garbage bins which you can’t see through or into, so often if someone has something they no longer want but that might be of interest to somebody else, they set these items out near the street, separate from their regular trash, to be picked up by someone who wants them. Sometimes they will stick a sign on the goods stating that they’re up for grabs. If the things don’t get picked up before the garbage day, they end up going to the dump. But usually anything with some life left in it gets picked up.

In fact, recently I saw a nice little wooden shelving unit put out, that would have been perfect for storing our shoes at the front door. I was on my way to the store when I saw it, thinking to myself that I’d grab it on my way home. Not! Someone else also thought it was quite nice and nabbed it before I got back for it.

But this story is not about the things that got away, but about the things that have made it to our home. The most beloved being the wooden and cast-iron bench that Nick found four years ago. Before I proceed with the other things, I want to dwell on it a bit.

I hope you believe me when I say that this bench and our yard were meant to be together. After doing some work in the garden one spring day, I had a sudden urge for a nice bench to put in our yard. I had gotten everything looking quite pretty and thought it would be lovely and romantic to have a bench to sit on out there, to enjoy the view. I mentioned this to Nick and we had a conversation about where one would get a good one. We didn’t want something light and utilitarian that we could find at the Home Depot or IKEA … really what we wanted was a real park bench, and we wondered where they came from. The conversation ended with me saying that I would call the city parks department to see if they could give us some insight into where be could find a good durable bench.

Then, the very next day (honestly), I was upstairs when Nick called up to me for a bit of help outside. Lo and behold, he was trying to get this extremely heavy cast-iron bench into our yard. He had come upon it put out by someone who amazingly didn’t want it anymore, and had carried it all the way down the street by himself.

After that there was plenty of silly talk about Nick being the ‘Magic Man’ … All I had to do is say I wanted something and he would magically find it for me!

As for these other more recent finds brought home by me throughout the summer … The wooden drawer, with dove-tail joints was set out alongside the chair. There was no desk or cabinet to go with the drawer but I thought it would make a great spot to keep papers or magazines in, so I grabbed it and the chair. These same people had actually put out a selection of nice vintage wooden chairs, but I could only carry one. Plus I wanted to leave some of the goodness for someone else to find.

Another time I found the vintage pressed-glass light fixture globe put out with a bunch of other junky looking stuff and I actually walked right by it. It had paint all over it and I told myself that it was probably cracked or chipped. But after walking away from it for a block and a half, it called me back, so I turned around. Glad I did, because the paint came right off and I love it. I don’t have a light fixture that it will go with but that’s ok. I will find another use for it. The houses it was near were built in around 1900, but I don’t think it dates back that far. I’d say it’s from the 1940s or so. What do you think?

The crystal carafe thing is a recent find, having been picked up the other day when Nick and I were on our way home from exercising in the park. I don’t think we’ll ever use it for its intended purpose of holding liqueur on a bar-cart, but it would make a pretty way to serve water at a dinner party. We’ll see how it gets used, but I couldn’t just leave this sparkling pretty treasure sitting there on the side of the road.

Have you ever picked up good trash from the side of the road? Or do you leave things that you no longer want or need, out for someone else to find? Should I be embarrassed for admitting that I bring home trash?!

And now that I have gotten the Heart song “Magic Man” stuck in your head you might as well have a listen. The video is priceless. I can’t say that if I were a mama, I’d be overly thrilled with my daughter coming home and encouraging me to try to understand that the new stranger she had met was a ‘magic man’ though.

Wishing you a happy Monday!
xo loulou