August in Review

As I contemplated how I was going to write a review of the past month I only recalled the larger items, and not even all of them.  I was conflicted between not having saved enough and being happy that I didn’t find a lot of things.  I pulled out a bookmark and began to look over the past month, soon I was trying to find room to add the next item.  At this point, seeing the items that were tossed out my feelings of sadness won out that people still think nothing of tossing out things that have nothing wrong with them.


One of the reasons I found so much was due to the moving out of a couple of tenants who decided they couldn’t take everything with them and waited too long to do much else but toss the stuff out.

Here’s the list in no particular order of what we saved this month:

  1. BRAND NEW TWIN MATTRESS: One of the apartments was furnished with a brand new mattress, the new tenant decided to use their own and tossed the one in the apartment into the recycling dumpster.  We found this shortly after it went in.  It now is my granddaughter’s new bed, replacing the toddler bed she had grown out of.WP_20130827_006
  2. UMBRELLA:  When I spotted the umbrella I brought it inside to my home.  It will come in handy when I need to go somewhere but don’t want to be drenched.
  3. 3 PAIR OF SCISSORS: I still have two pair waiting to pass them on to someone in need. The third went home with my daughter-in-law whose scissors barely worked.
  4. CARDBOARD GALORE:  I use cardboard in the garden to start my raised beds.  I have collected all the cardboard from my son’s home and the ACL (blood testing lab) so this is too large to put a number too.
  5. 2 ALUMINUM POT PIE TRAYS:  When I spotted these two small trays I pulled them out to hang in the garden over the carrots to deter animals from getting into the garden.
  6. LARGE MIRROR:  This was being put out for trash when a new tenant didn’t want it in the apartment (our apartments come partially furnished).  This mirror is one of the heaviest mirrors I’ve ever tried to handle.  I planned to show it to you today but with rain and very high humidity it is sitting in front of a fan drying, I’ll show it to you tomorrow.WP_20130827_014
  7. 2 WOODEN END TABLES:    These just arrived this past week, and are  a strange mix of materials.  The lower part is solid stained wood and the top has a laminate which ruins the look of them.  They are dirty, wobbly and in need of a new look.  I don’t know anyone who needs these so they will end up being sold when I am finished with them.
  8. 9 CANS OF PAINT:  I spotted a local person advertising free paint on freecycle. While this isn’t exactly saving paint from the landfill, it made my day adding to the free paint I have available to work on my furniture.
  9. STACK OF TEXTBOOKS:  I didn’t think to count how many were in the stack before I began giving them away.  I know my son and his wife took several.  This was a case of take these or they are going in the dumpster.  I took them.  What I don’t find a home for in the next couple of days will be donated to the thrift shop.
  10. LARGE BOX OF BOYS CLOTHES:  These came down from a neighbor who wanted to get rid of clothes her son outgrew.  She was in a purging mood and wanted them gone, NOW.   I went through them finding several tops, shorts and pajamas that fit my grandson, and repurposed 2 more tops into a shirt and dress for my granddaughter, you can see them here.  I have 3 pairs of jeans which had stains and holes that I held on to knowing the thrift shop would toss them that I will use a fabric scraps.  The rest went to the thrift shop.WP_20130823_034
  11. STACK OF PROMOTIONAL T-SHIRTS:  These were never worn, I believe a total of  8 were given to friends and family, 2 I have cut and sewn into reusable shopping bags and still have 3 leftover.
  12. WEEKLY STACKS OF RED PLUM FLYERS:  We have anywhere from 20-30 sets of flyers delivered to the apartment building each week. No one seems to want them and if left out will end up being tossed in the dumpster.  Frustrated with this, I have taken to collecting them after a couple of days to line new garden beds for weed prevention.  I don’t know if you agree with my reasoning, but I believe letting them decompose under the gardens is a better use for them than recycling.
  13. VACUUM:   My son and his wife now have this.  It was nearly brand-new and a top of the line model with a washable filter.  perfect for a family with a Golden Retriever. :-)
  14. SWIFFER MOP AND BRAND NEW BOX OF REFILLS:  This too found a home as soon as I found it.
  15. 2 BRAND NEW BOTTLES OF LIQUID LAUNDRY DETERGENT AND 1 HALF BOX OF POWDERED DETERGENT:  These went directly to my son’s house where they are being used up.
  16. HALF A BOX OF DRYER SHEETS:  I’m glad my daughter-in-law took these home, she brought one over to dry clothes and I was overwhelmed with the chemical scent having to ask her to set it in the laundry room out of my apartment.
  17. TOASTER OVEN:  Having a new neighbor move in who has to adjust to living without a stove I offered this to her, she was thrilled to have it
  18. TV TRAY TABLE:  This little wood table I kept for guests and for the children to eat at or do crafts on.WP_20130829_021
  19. HALF A BOTTLE OF AUTOMOTIVE WINDSHIELD WIPER FLUID:  My son took this for his car.
  20. GEORGE FOREMAN DOUBLE GRILL:  This didn’t sell at the yard sale, but a couple of days later during a conversation with a neighbor I offered this to him. It’s now in his home being used often.
  21. PLASTIC LAUNDRY BASKET:  I couldn’t find anyone who needed this, so this was donated to the thrift shop.
  22. MESH CLOTHES HAMPER:  My daughter-in-law took this after I made a repair to it.
  23. SMALL WASTEBASKET AND PAIL:  Both these items were plastic and were donated to the thrift shop.
  24. STRETCHED ART CANVAS:  This is now on my bathroom wall, having painted a tree of life on it.
  25. PAINT CAN LID:   I punched a hole through this and hung it over the little one’s garden for deer deterrent.
  26. MICROWAVE: This sold at our yard sale for $10
  27. DORM SIZED FRIDGE:  This sold at the yard sale for $15.
  28. 2 STREET SIGNS:  I painted a flower on the back of one and hung it over my bed, the other a no parking sign was sent home to adorn my grandson’s bedroomprojectIcon
  29. ANTIQUE COCA COLA WOOD CRATE:  This now corrals my often used kitchen spices and such on my counter.
  30. 3 LAMPS:  All three of these ended up going to my son’s home.  The floor lamp my daughter-in-law wanted for the living room and the little ones took each of the small ones to have next to their beds.
  31. BATTERY OPERATED PENCIL SHARPENER:  This was donated to the thrift shop when it didn’t sell at the yard sale.
  32. MORE PENCILS, PENS, AND MARKERS THAN I CARE TO COUNT:   I still have most of these, my daughter-in-law took a couple of pens since she’s always losing the one in her purse, the little one’s took a couple of pencils, and my granddaughter took a pink sharpie for art. As I  hear of someone needing a pen I will pass these out until they are gone.
  33. PLASTIC HANGING CLOSET ORGANIZER:  I was sure no one would want this, but couldn’t let it be tossed in the dumpster being plastic. It was one of the first items bought at our yard sale. It would come apart with the slightest touch, but one woman saw beyond that and wanted it for storing her yarn.  Glad I took a chance on this.WP_20130809_006
  34. 2 PENCIL HOLDERS:  Both of these are metal, one black the other an aluminum color.  The aluminum one has 3 divided compartments and was perfect to store my silverware. The other I still have until I find a need for it or someone to pass this on to.  If I don’t find someone in a few more days it will be donated to the thrift shop.
  35. MORE CLOTHES:  My daughter-in-law took 3 pairs of women’s pajama bottoms tossed out and a man’s shirt she ended up donating.



  1. HEADBANDS:  in repurposing old t-shirts I cut off the neckline of each to make quick headbands for the little ones.  They are comfortable on their heads and does the job of keeping long hair out of their faces.WP_20130815_005
  2. CHERISHED T-SHIRT:  My granddaughter was upset to have outgrown a favorite t-shirt I found for her last fall at the thrift shop. I saw it pained her so we cut it up.  The long sleeves are now part of her dress up clothes to cover her arms when wearing her dresses, the body of the shirt is a small bag she can carry things to the beach in and the neckline is a headband.  Not a piece of this shirt went to waste.  I may have donated it back to the thrift shop, but it had a few stains on it, instead it made my granddaughter’s day to still have her shirt in another form.
  3. REPAIRING RATHER THAN REPLACING: I spent a Saturday afternoon this month repairing a dining room table and a coffee table that were broken and would have been replaced by my son and his wife.  With a little glue and finishing nails they are as good as new.
  4. MADE A BIRD FEEDER: Having saved an orange peel I showed my granddaughter how to make a bird feeder from it and hung it outside their kitchen so she can care for the birds at home as well as at my house.  Zero cost feeder.
  5. FREE FOOD:  When my neighbor’s mother lamented that she had no time to save apples that had fallen from her tree I was one of the recipients of the free apples.  Now I have several containers of applesauce up for winter.
  6. USING FREECYCLE:  With a few items not selling at our yard sale I listed them on freecycle. This month a computer tower needing an update and a scanner were picked up and given a new home.


The total for this month was 53 ITEMS and that’s grouping the clothes, textbooks and writing utensils as one each!

I believe what comes around goes around.  As I freely give what I find to those who need them, I find I get a lot in return. Helping a neighbor with the weeding of her garden plot I then receive excess food, and in this case the offer to share in free apples.  By giving away most of what I find, and only selling what I can’t give away, the free paint coming to me from Freecycle was a true gift to allow me to keep doing what I enjoy and saving good quality furniture from the landfill.  My son and his wife are enjoying my hobby especially this month. By repairing their 2 tables, passing on a good working vacuum, 3 lamps and a mattress alone saved them over $1,000 in purchases they would have had to pay to replace the damage items and to buy lighting and especially a mattress to upgrade their daughter from a too small bed. My granddaughter smiles when telling everyone who asks how comfortable her new bed is.


While this is where I have decided to spend my time making a difference, every little thing we do helps.  I know some of you bike rather than drive, or grow a larger garden than I currently have to eliminate the need to truck food to feed your family, others work to cut down their electric usage. etc. What do you do to lessen your impact?


21 thoughts on “August in Review

  1. WOW! thats one impressive List Lois, and such good recycle articles here, great! Growing my own is our thing as you know,…
    Wishing you a really great rest of the week Lois and I have really enjoyed my long visit with you today….. So many great posts
    Love and Blessings
    Sue xox


    • Thank you, Sue. Just this afternoon I ran into the neighbor who I gave the George Foreman grill to. He told me how much he loves it and that they use it every day. I was happy to know it’s getting plenty of use and not just taking up space. I rarely know what happens after I find a new home for these things, I just hope for the best, it’s all I can do.

      You do a fantastic job of growing your own. Your allotment has been so productive this year. I am a little sad my garden didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but it did a lot better than other gardens, this was just a really tough year.

      Have a great rest of the week, and hope you don’t have to work too hard this weekend.


      • Not so hard, I am on a long shift tomorrow which includes a sleep in, but then not on again until Monday, So will Chill this weekend, No PC, I need to paint again, That mandala got the paint juices flowing again LOL :-)


  2. It amazes me with thrift stores, free cycle, and craigslist people throw perfectly good things away. My large pregnant self hasn’t done much- the two biggest things I have done in August are line dry my laundry and pick up litter anywhere I see it (mostly on the playground and at the beach!) Thank you for all that you do.


    • Katie, you are one up on me, as I haven’t found a way to line dry my clothes here…yet. Your picking up trash at the beach is HUGE because it is so easy for the wind to take those items directly out to pollute the water. How far along are you? I hope you have had an easy pregnancy. I know my son is worried about using Craigslist and having people come to his home to pick things up because he works 3rd shift and his wife and children are home alone, but I list things for him and then have people pick the items up in front of my building or from the notary attached at the north end of the apartment building for safety issues. Now thrift stores, all it takes is a few minutes of your time to drive to the drop off location. Can you imagine what goodies we could find at thrift shops if everything that has been going in the trash was instead there to buy?


      • I am 7 months and it’s going well so far thanks !! :) Better than the first time around. I understand feeling nervous about leaving things for Craigslist- sometimes I feel nervous picking things up also.
        Ah! I can only imagine. People throw out some really amazing stuff. My husband’s set of free weights was found on the curb, along with my son’s picnic table…


        • I’m glad to hear your pregnancy is going well. As for Craigslist, I do choose the neighborhoods where I feel more comfortable going to when I respond to the listings. The free paint I received Sunday was right in my hometown, which doesn’t have a scary neighborhood. If a listing comes from an area I am not comfortable with I let it go and don’t try for it.

          People do throw out a lot of amazing things, this year when the college students left for summer break I was shocked by the amount of antique furniture they had. Times are changing and it looks like rather than buying stuff at a big box store (here that would be WalMart) they are bringing second hand from most-likely grandmas house then discarding it. It’s nice to know they aren’t buying new to toss and if we get to it, I am able to pass the found pieces on and keep them in circulation. The older pieces were made so much nicer than the stuff today.


    • EcoGrrl, I will have to stop over shortly and check out your slow living post. I followed Christine last year with the slow living posts but found I had areas where I regularly had nothing new to add. This year I decided to try to do a recap of what I found and was able to save from the trash. So far I have had plenty to share and it’s a good way for me to see just how much I have done in my goal of keeping good items circulating and being used.


  3. Wow! That list is super impressive! In Australia we have verge collections – I hate them because people dump perfectly good items on their verges for the council to take to landfill. We don’t have a car so I can’t save most of the great stuff I see : ( Although I did find three wooden file organisers this weekend in great condition and I could carry these home, so that’s three things saved from landfill.


    • Wooden file organizers would be very hard to find here they are usually plastic, great find. I thought Australia was more progressive about reducing waste, but your verge pickup sound horrible to me. Could you enlist someone to help you pick things up? You could sell the items and either give that person a part of the profits or simply pay them for gas and wear and tear on their vehicle to help you, that’s what I do.


      • The verge pickup is also divided into small suburbs so it’s hard to know when they are happening. Seems to me they are happening far too often! I think each suburb has one four times a year – how do people even have that much stuff?! I met someone locally who was trying to set up a community group to do something about it – like take the collections to a warehouse for sorting and selling on or recycling – I must get in touch with her and see how she is getting on and whether she needs help. No point lamenting it here and not doing anything about it! I’ll have a think about who I know with a car, too. Great suggestion : )


  4. Lois, you are still seriously epic! You have so much fun, and come up with some very creative repurposing ideas!

    You’ve got me thinking of ideas, or at least wanting to reduce the amount of garbage we produce. It’s not as bad as our rushed, moving purges, but we could do better.

    However, I plan to start training on my bike, so that I can use that to make my 10-mile commute. I think it will be much more relaxing than sitting in traffic!


    • Traffic, Bethany, I could never live in a large city again because I just can’t take the traffic. I think a bike would be a much more relaxing way to travel. And just think of how toned you will be.:-)

      Btw, if life isn’t fun the only other term that would apply would be boring and that’s the last thing I want to define life as, but thank you for the complement.


  5. You are so inspiring! Thank-you. I realize that I have only just started making a difference and there is so much more that is possible. I live in an apartment where there is a room that has become a dumping ground for tenants moving out. Perhaps I will look at that pile a little differently and look for possible ways to fix or repurpose some of those items.


    • Jodi, there is a lot we as individuals can do, don’t overwhelm yourself, just make little changes that are easy for you to get used to and build on that. You have a treasure trove right in your apartment building! How wonderful of your building’s owner to provide a place for things not wanted rather than letting them be thrown out. If you find some good stuff whether it be mixers or furniture you can take them and list on Craigslist for extra cash. I have been putting the money I make from selling my finds into my Christmas fund to buy gifts. Your managers might be relieved to have you take the initiative to find new homes for the stuff left behind.


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