Friday, October 2, 2009
Dumpster Diving. Trash Digging. Recycling. Whatever you choose to call it, from my previous postings you already know I get a great thrill out of coming upon discarded treasures. Personally, I like to consider it “rescuing” furniture and home décor objects from inevitable destruction. The idea of some perfectly good home décor object meeting untimely end in some landfill is totally offensive to me. And in this new “green” era, what could be more environmental and economical?
I’ve had some fabulous successes because of where I live. In my neighborhood, which is a wonderfully preserved and well-regarded historic district in Arlington, Virginia, the first Saturday of every month is officially called “bulk trash pick-up”; unofficially, the residents refer to it as the Neighborhood Exchange. For me and some like-minded neighbors, it is best described as Treasure Hunting Day. On the Friday night before, you will see residents and outsiders alike trawling through the ‘hood in search of home décor gems that, for whatever reason, have been tossed aside. Indeed, many residents place their discards carefully by the curb in anticipation of someone else making claim to them.
Although I’ve lived in my ‘hood for over three years, these once-a-month Friday night expeditions are a new experience for me. My first time out, just a few months ago, was so fortuitous as to have me hooked for life! Having heard tales from a neighbor of all the bounty to be found on these treasure trips, I ventured out on foot late that Friday night, with the intention of walking just a block or two from my home to see if there was anything worth getting excited about.
Less than a block from my doorstep, I noticed a bulky pile of something on the curb. As I trepidatiously quickened my pace to my target, I could see that two of the items appeared to be dressers. Even as I got a closer look, I was sure that, since they had been unceremoniously tossed to the curb, they must be some destroyed particle board-constructed piece of garbage. However, imagine my glee when, upon very careful inspection, I determined that these were actually very well made, perfectly intact and matching hardwood dressers!! However, they also were quite bulky and heavy – much too substantial to move by myself, especially by foot.
Back in my home, I spent the next thirty minutes trying to convince myself that (a) there was no way that I could move these items, and (b) I have absolutely no place to store them (not to mention no immediate need that would justify the effort of claiming them!). BUT WHEN HAS THAT EVER STOPPED ME?!? I swear, it was as if I were trying to talk myself out of getting involved in a tragically doomed romance. As I agonized over leaving those two glorious pieces to the inevitable – death by landfill – I was looking in my pseudo walk-in closet for something when it hit me: I could used them for storage in my bedroom closet!!
I raced down the stairs like a man on fire (or, more descriptively, like a crack whore after the next fix). I quickly ran to the corner to see that the dressers were still there, calling to me; tossed everything out of the back of my VW Passat Wagon to make room for my haul, and sped over to the hulking mass at the corner, defying anyone to stand between me and my new found loot.
Keep in mind that I am still alone in this endeavor. And let me tell you: those dressers were NOT lightweight! Unleashing some superhuman strength, I managed to get both dressers into the back of my compact wagon. Of course, the hatch wouldn’t close, but I carefully drove back to my parking space, and lugged one of the pieces out of the car and into my front door. There, I became all giddy and giggly (another Vintage Vertigo attack), thrilled at not only my good fortune, but also my ingenuity in capturing and delivering my prize! The next day, I engaged Sig-O in assisting me to move both pieces to their new home, where they are very snuggly serving their new purpose – providing much needed space for my abundance of shorts, sweaters, and gym attire. The pieces have a decidedly mid-century sensibility of form plus function, with an elegantly simple line. They are a welcomed addition to my vintage collection!
Stay tuned for more tales of Furniture Rescue….After all, tomorrow is the first Saturday of the month!