Curb Your Enthusiasm

These were too cute to pass up!

We call it curb cruising. Or trash-day intervention. Sometimes I also indulge in a little dumpster diving. Once, while I was bike riding around Tybee I spotted a great green metal locker sticking out the top of a dumpster at a house under construction. I pedalled back to my friends Ron and Leuveda’s, and got them to drive to the house in their van. Ron, who is tall, not to mention adventurous, climbed into the dumpster and fished out the locker, and it’s now a great addition to their garden area. A fan of mine refers to treasures mined this way as SORA–for Side Of Road Acquisition. Whatever you call it, it’s one of my favorite sports. Our neighborhood in Atlanta is renowned for its curb-cruising possibilities, because our town has such a generous trash policy–you can put virtually anything at the curb and our sanitation workers will pick it up and haul it away. When we put something with halfway decent potential on the curb at home, we’ll often make a game of sitting on the porch and watching to see how long it takes for somebody to drive or walk by and snag the object of their desire. My old office chair, which had finally lost its arm for good, went on the curb last Friday and it took only a matter of minutes for it to be re-possessed. I think Tybee must have the same liberal policy. This makes for excellent shopping possibilities. Locals are well aware that trash days are Mondays and Thursdays, so they make a point of “shopping” just ahead of the garbage trucks. In just the past couple of years I’ve picked up a pair of wicker armchairs (which I then painted and sold in my booth at Seaside Sisters), a wicker rocker, (awaiting rehab in our shed), a vintage oak dresser, (which actually once belonged to my Mermaid Cottage friend Diane, and which got returned to her), and yesterday, a pair of adorable homemade children’s Adirondack chairs. Mr. Mary Kay is not nearly as enthusiastic about this sport as I. In fact, he refuses to play, so usually I have to enlist a co-conspirator when the opportunity arises. Co-conspirators with vans or trucks are greatly prized! These little cutie-pie chairs are, admittedly, rotted. But right now, they look so sweet in the backyard at The Breeze Inn beside a couple of blooming azaleas. I’m going to accessorize them with some ferns and white flowers, and everytime I look out from the screened porch, I’ll remember that my friend Seaside Susan and I staged an intervention and brought them home. In fact, they’re so cute, I’m going to try to find somebody to copy them and make me a functioning pair for our granddaughter Molly to use. How about you? Got any good SORA stories?

8 thoughts on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

  1. I love finding things on the curb! I once found the exact number of Christmas wreaths needed for my home. All I had to do was make new bows, and they were perfect! We recently sold that home, and I gave them to the new owners, and they were thrilled.

  2. My husband is a more ardent enthusiast than I am at this kind of "shopping"! He automatically hits the brakes whenever he spots an item of interest & has to leap right out to examine it. Once, when our daughter was 15, we were dropping her off at a friend's house, & discovered the next door neighbor had moved out, leaving an enormous pile of "trash" on the curb. Much to our daughter's embarassment, we began sifting thru the boxes & piles. I don't remember everything we found that day, but do remember a lot of milk glass in perfect condition. Some I sold, some pieces were saved as gifts.
    Mother who collected it, & I still have a few pieces. I will say that now Lesley is 28, she has begun to appreciate our form of recycling!

  3. Adding to my previous comment: my daughter, who is now 28, has begun to appreciate our form of "recycling"!

  4. I've curb shopped before. Once when we lived in Orlando we were riding our bikes in the evening. I spotted a pair of faded green metal yard chairs that had sad looking strapping. After some coaxing, my hubby took one and I took the other and we piled them on the handle bars and rode home with them. Luckily it wasn't far from home cause those suckers were heavy! I've since repainted them and restrapped them and they look brand new!

  5. My daughter lives in a condo and they have several large dumpsters and sometimes we put the seven year old in the dumpster to retrieve an item? She loves it and thinks it is a pretty neat game?

  6. My daughter lives in a condo and they have several large dumpsters and sometimes we put the seven year old in the dumpster to retrieve an item? She loves it and thinks it is a pretty neat game?

  7. I've always loved curb shopping. When living in LA just after I graduated from college and my husband and I were trying to furnish our first apartment, we spied some serious treasures spilling out of a dumpster. We started to haul them into our Jeep and I kept commenting n how it was too good to be true. And it was. After we'd loaded a couple of random chairs in the car (that we desperately needed in order to sit at our "dining room" table) I noticed that this dumpster was actually for people to donate items for a charity. We were so embarrassed! And we put the chairs back. When I told my mama she laughed so hard she almost wet her pants and then informed me that we were so poor that she was sure it would have been fine to take the chairs. It's funny now, but I am still wary of plucking loot out of dumpsters now.

  8. When we lived in Germany, this sort of "shopping" was amazing. I have several things that I use daily obtained this way including a beautiful green velvet German chair, a white bookcase for my entryway, a teapot, three paintings….I think the German people thought we were insane, grabbing up the things they thought were trash. My husband generally would not participate in the "shopping excursions" unless he was shielded by the cover of darkness, but fortunately my next door neighbor loved it as much as I did AND she had a big truck!

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