Thursday, May 7, 2009

No! Don't Throw That Out - It's A Treasure To Me!

There is a 7-family house next door to me. Recently, it completely emptied of all it's residents as the owner prepares for renovation this summer. He will be constructing 4 condos where the 7 apartments stood, either to rent or sell sometime next year. While I am not looking forward to the crazy noise we are going to endure this summer, I have already become giddy with trash-pickin' delight as my moving-out neighbors began depositing their unwanted goods on the sidewalk for trash pick up. Oh my. I have already benefited from this experience - my son grabbed a punching bag, I found a beautiful, antique oak dresser which I will refurbish, we grabbed 3 sturdy drawers from a broken dresser that will be our first outdoor vegetable planters for the deck (a project blog for another time), and we are now proud owners of a motorized scooter without a key (hmmmm - not sure if that will turn out positive in the long run). And all this without one wall coming down! I spoke with the contractor and owner yesterday and admitted to my trash-picking habit. Really, I was just warning them that I will be looking through their cast-offs the minute they let go of them... They just smiled and said - You'll make our job easier. Wow. Do you know what comes out of an old New England house? Old panel doors. Real wood molding. I can just visualize my 'new' greenhouse coming from 3 floors of old 4-lite windows. I'm thinking about old doorknobs. Beadboard paneling. Old light fixtures. Oh yes. This girl's gonna be dumpster diving pretty regularly this summer. Mmm Hmmm. Can't wait. As I look outside tonight, I see a headboard that might become something else. Oh...there's a small coffee table just screaming to stay out of the trash truck.

Last Monday, I was home with a sick child. As I often do when home in the morning (rare), I watched out the window as life woke up and began moving around in my neighborhood. The trash truck comes on Monday, and my sons had diligently put out the trash cans the night before. As I dazed out the window, I looked at the enormous pile of 'trash' next door - a definite sign of someone moving: an old rotten couch, tables, lamps, trash bags galore, old phone books, old clothes strewn about. I heard the trash truck coming, and decided to sit and watch. I had already gone over the pile with a fine-toothed comb the day before, so I knew that what was left was pretty much trash (so glad I grabbed that antique dresser!). The truck pulled up and CRUNCH went the couch. CRUNCH went the desk and broken dresser. The bags of clothes and trash disappeared. The phone books (which could have been recycled) were tossed in the truck. In a poof, everything that to me represented 10 years of people living next door was gone. Gone. There was no longer any residue of anyone moving out, or living there at all. I looked over at the house, now empty, and felt so sad. Sad that the bulldozers will come soon to rip it's siding off. It's not a pretty house to look at, and a renovation is long overdue. But I felt sad knowing that the work will be done without much thought to keeping and reusing anything. So my mission is to find homes for the useable materials, to the best of my ability (it's not MY house, after all...)
I look forward to posting upcoming projects from the materials I have already gathered. Stay tuned for fun!

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