garage sale

Thanks A Bunch

Most of the time it is other people that get in the way of and inhibit living a life with less waste.

BUT there are also the people who encourage you, listen when you are rambling about compost or send you articles they think you’d find interesting.

So in honor of Thanksgiving, I want to thank all those encouragers and listeners in my life.

Thank You.png

Thank you to my Mom for being an avid reader, always liking my Facebook posts, and being interested in what I am writing. I will forgive you for brushing it off every time I tell you that I am going to build you a compost bin in your backyard.

Thank you to my Dad who has contributed to a lot of my DIY  projects when I need help or materials.

Thank you to my Aunt MM who replies to my posts with great enthusiasm about how she is making changes or how she has been using cloth napkins for ages! Also for teaching me about haggling and getting a great deal at garage sales. Some of our recent purchases together are below:

Thank you to my friend Julie for calling me the other day to tell me she was going to purchase non-toxic nail polish and for sending me new blog ideas.

Thank you to my friend Britni and her husband Eric for appeasing me on a ski trip by picking up trash and always holding myself accountable.

Thank you to my friend Nina for starting her own compost bin in her backyard.

Thank you to K’s friends who read the blog specifically to make fun of K for composting. You’re still talking about composting and I call that a win!

A huge thank you to all my other friends, family, and readers who have sent me articles, comments on my posts, shared a story with me or told me how much you like reading my blog.

 

Thank You!!!

 

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Garage Sale Finds into Framed Art

K & I have a small obsession with maps.

We already have a map of Cape Cod Bay and Washington DC in our apartment.

So when I stumbled upon a copy of the Charts of the Illinois Waterway at a garage sale, I knew I had to go back and get it. K also told me I had to go back and get it.

garage sale1

It has maps of the Mississippi, the Chicago River, the lock system, and the canals that helped reverse the flow of the Chicago River.

K was thrilled with the purchase. We knew right away they would make great additions to our growing map collection.

The maps hung around for a few months until I finally got around to finding frames for them, even though we did not have much wall space left anymore.

framedmap1

We picked our favorite two: one of the waterways of the U.S. and one of the downtown portion of the Chicago River.

framedmap2

They look pretty good over the TV and am happy with the purchase and placement of them. It is also always a way better story when you can say you got something at a garage sale!

framedmap3

I Keep Flamingos on the Fire Escape

There’s nothing quite as kitschy or screams summer like a plastic lawn flamingo.

I personally think they are hilarious and have always wanted to have one in my future yard, but never really came across any and I didn’t go out of my way to find them.

That was until I found this flamingo pair at a garage sale.

flamingoes

And they are awesome! You can’t help but smile looking at them!

flamingoes2

According to the seller, they are cast-iron from the 1930’s and had recently been repainted. I did an e-bay search when I got home and could not find anything else like them online. They truly are one of a kind!

flamingoes3

Let’s keep in mind that I do not have a yard or any green space for that matter.

All we have is the fire escape.

So until then, the flamingos are going to hang out there with the mini grill and the compost bucket.

Can A Used Table Be An Upgrade? Yes!

Besides our couch, the kitchen table is probably used the most piece of furniture we own.

Except it is not actually used for dining.

It is where:

  • I work
  • I blog
  • We dump everything when we come in the door
  • The mail gets tossed
  • We put stuff from the kitchen to give us room to cook in there
  • And on and on

table1

The current kitchen table has been around for a number of years now. I picked it up at a garage sale and it made its first appearance in my apartment during graduate school. I ended up spray painting the legs black and re-staining the top since it was most definitely used as a kid’s table and had been covered in marker.

K used it in his previous apartment and it is now in our apartment.

table2

It has definitely made the rounds.

It’s a fine table. There is nothing really wrong with it, but it does not serve us anymore.

We can only fit two chairs underneath the table. That means only two people can ever sit there. We can never have people over for dinner (we only have 2 chairs anyway), or just sit at the table with more than one other person.

It is time to finally get a bigger kitchen table that can fit 4 adults where at least 2 are not standing up. And one where I did not do such a terrible job staining it. (This was even before last year’s debacle with stripping and staining our kitchen chairs).

Anyway, we want a quality piece of furniture that is going to last us many years, not just a quick fix that looks cute for the moment.

We like the style and look of a lot of West Elm tables, but we are not too keen on the price.

On the other hand, we are also willing to pay more for a quality piece.

For now, I will be been scouring Craigslist for a good deal. Maybe I will even find one at a vintage market this summer. Let me know if you find any!

 

 

 

We are Saying ‘Adios’ to Our Last Piece of IKEA Furniture

Back in college and the post-college days, K and I both had an assortment of IKEA furniture.  This included dressers, bed frames, coffee tables, nightstands, etc.

When I moved to DC, the easiest thing for me to do was pick some up from the IKEA in Maryland and lay it all flat in the back of our car (followed by 11 hours of putting it together). Then when I made the move back to Chicago, I sold all but one piece of it to the next person moving in.

 

That one unsold TV stand is now the only piece of IKEA furniture we have left in our apartment after selling a number of other IKEA pieces (aka K’s super wobbly dresser as seen below) shortly after we moved in.

 

dresser-for-sale

If you so much as poked this dresser with your pinky finger, it would wobble all over the place

 

 

Legitimately every other piece of furniture we currently own was previously owned by someone else.

For instance…

couch

Couch sourced from my aunt


 

coffee-table

Coffee table sourced from Craigslist


 

end-table2

End table sourced from Craigslist


 

IU chairs done 2

Kitchen chairs sourced from the IU Surplus Store & attempted to be refinished by me, but failed, so my dad helped


 

dresser1

Dresser sourced from Craigslist


 

dresser

5 piece bedroom set sourced from my Grandmother (50+ years old)


 

cabinet done

Metal cabinet sourced from a family friend and refinished by me


Not pictured are our kitchen table and mattress and that is mostly because I did not feel like clearing off the table to take a decent picture of it. The kitchen table came from a garage sale and was refinished by me, while the mattress was from a friend of K’s.

So now we are on a mission to replace the lone piece of IKEA particle board with something of a bit more quality, maybe something that won’t get instantly dinged up. Don’t worry, the TV stand will move on to another good home. My brother has his eye on it.

tv-stand

Lone piece of IKEA furniture left in our apartment, in what used to be a sea of MALM

The best part is that I love hunting for that perfect replacement piece. We are thinking of a midcentury modern lowboy dresser to provide us with some extra storage. Now it is down to finding the right one, at the right size, and the right price.

Sure, I could go online and order a TV stand that is made of particle board and will fall apart in 3 years, but I would so much rather have a real piece of furniture.

One that someone else loved.

I will be scouring craigslist, garage sales, and thrift stores until I find the perfect one. That will provide me with so much more satisfaction than just clicking “Place Your Order.”

Garage Sale Scores

Over the weekend, I spent the day with my mom and my aunt at a subdivision garage sale out in the suburbs. I love garage sales. There are so many treasures to be found!

This highly organized event was like a garage sale on steroids.

I am not talking about an itty bitty neighborhood sale. There were 200+ participating houses, and a church served as a station for restrooms, food, and maps!

We had gone a couple of years ago, so I was excited to go again and see what second hand finds I could get for our apartment. I was on the look out for a big wall clock, a coffee table, and a bench.

Of course I left with none of those things…

Instead I found some other great finds!

4 fruity cloth napkins for 25 cents

cloth napkins

K does not know it yet, but I am about to try and phase out paper napkins! I did not buy any more than the 4 because I had just taken an old set of napkins from my mom. So I probably have 16 now. Got to build that stock up over time!

10 produce bags for $3

produce bags

I only had 2 before so that was very limiting, and I pretty much always forgot to bring them with me. I ended up finding these at a sale that had a lot of kiddie stuff, and it turned out the mom had been using the bags to store puzzle pieces and small toys.

1 Crate & Barrel rug for $10

rug

Since we are trying to put together an entryway/mudroom type thing by our front door, I was on the lookout for a bench. No such luck. Instead I found this great never-used Crate & Barrel rug!

Unfortunately, the serious garage sale goers must have gotten all the good stuff on the first day of the sale. Sellers kept saying they were swamped and wiped out by the second day, so that meant we left with not has many treasures as we had hoped for.

Either way, it was a beautiful day and still fun!

 

My Favorites: Second Hand Things

I pride myself in having filled probably 75% of our apartment with second-hand things. I don’t really see the point in buying something brand new when there are plenty of other options out there.

There was a time when I was living in DC where my roommate moved out and took all the living room furniture with her. I was left to furnish it myself, and since I was on a budget, it all came from either craigslist or the dumpster behind my apartment building. I traveled around the District picking up a kitchen table and chairs, coffee table, couch, arm chair, and end table. All without a car.I ended up furnishing the entire place for under $250.

Now that I am on to my next apartment, it is no different. I love having pieces that are old, tell a story, and remind me of how I acquired them. As much as I love Home Goods, I would much rather have knick knacks that have a meaning/purpose.

These are my favorites:

Our copper bottom pots and pans were a wedding gift for my grandma and grandpa in 1953 and still going strong! My cousin used them for a while after college and now I have them! A little copper cleaner and they still look and work great.

copper pans

The metal cabinet was found while scrounging through a family friend’s warehouse that needed to be cleaned out. Read more about its transformation here.

cabinet done

Our couch was originally my aunt and uncle’s. Their labradoodle, Murphy, had a specific spot he would sit in and you can definitely see that spot in the leather.

couch

The blue end table was bought on craigslist in DC. I took the metro out to a part of the District I wasn’t familiar with, picked it up and walked a couple blocks with it. Once I found a taxi, I shoved it in the trunk and headed home with my new find. It needs a new coat of paint and then will look brand new!

end table

These pillows came with the couch I found on craigslist in DC and they were super ugly, but I did not want to get rid of them so I just got crafty. Can you tell I was homesick for the Midwest?

pillows

The bedroom set was my other grandmother’s set that my dad had refinished. Since she has passed away, it is a nice memory of her and makes my mom happy that it is being used. It is also quite in style now!

dresser

A bowling pin my parents picked up at the Randolph Street Market because they thought I would like it and an IU 1976 NCAA Champs 7Up bottle I found at a garage sale in Indiana. Go Hoosiers!

bowling pin and bottle

Rival Ice-O-Matic ice crusher that was in my grandmother’s basement and thought was super cool looking.

ice o matic

Vintage Coleman cooler we searched for and found at the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market. Right now it is being used for storage.

cooler