We (as Back Creek Design) renovate two to three neglected properties each year. Sometimes we find that the houses have been completely stripped. Not only appliances, but plumbing, wiring, and architectural details have been ripped out without regard to preserving the remaining structure.
Sometimes the houses are full beyond belief with the accumulation of a lifetime. Or more than a lifetime…it seems like more properties we find these days have been havens for hoarders, who have passed on and left the comfort of their possessions.
In either case, stripped or crammed, or even in that rare condition of ‘broom-swept clean’, we find things that we don’t need, can’t use, and which have no resale value.
Sample portfolios of roofing and siding material. (photo courtesy of Back Creek Design)
I usually can find a treasure or two for our own home or garden. I’ve gotten some great mixing bowls, flower pots, and even an unopened bottle of premium tequila by sifting through debris. But I try hard not to accumulate clutter. (Yes, it’s a very hard challenge!) We donate what we can to Habitat for Humanity, but often the condition or quantity of the debris is not worth their limited shelf space.
Just a few squares each of three sizes of ceramic tile. (photo courtesy of Back Creek Design)
We in Anne Arundel County are so fortunate to have curbside trash, bulk trash, and recycling pickup included in our County budget. So sometimes it is almost too easy to toss things out. And yet, I hate to throw things in the dump. (There are three county landfills in AACo. That’s a lot of trash!) That’s just shifting the junk from one location to another. Out of sight, but not beyond my responsibility.
A few square feet of tile in a discontinued color. Useful, but too small for any of our needs. (photo courtesy of Back Creek Design)
As we renovate each property, we accumulate odds and ends of material. I’ve saved the scraps in our shed over the years, with the intention of using them ‘in the next house’. But invariably, there’s no place for that tile, or the color of the paint won’t work with the existing woodwork, or….
And so the shed becomes full, as well as the back of my car, and the back porch, with samples, scraps, and good intentions, as we work through each project.
Thank goodness for FreeCycle.
I try to join a group nearest to each project to keep driving to a minimum. Staying local, besides keeping things out of the landfill, is part of the FreeCycle philosophy. Anne Arundel County is fortunate to have many active locations. I usually gravitate towards Annapolis or Severna Park. But Odenton and Glen Burnie are also hopping. There are lots of crafty, thrifty, and creative people in this part of the world. Have you seen my ‘Repurpose This’ series? Stuff gets snapped up through FreeCycle for uses that I would never have imagined. Sometimes the number of responses for this ‘junk’ gets overwhelming. Thank goodness I can keep up a steady stream of empty CBRC coffee cans!
This pile of ‘garbage’ is just a portion of what was re-homed through FreeCycle in one afternoon. You can see the sought-after CBRC coffee cans in the lower right. (photo courtesy of Back Creek Design)
All the items pictured here were picked up, quickly, in one afternoon by fellow FreeCyclers. And there were more things that I didn’t think to take pictures of. Just read the great ways that these are going to be reused…
The ceramic tile is going to be used in a mother-daughter project. All the scraps are in the same color family, so they are going to mix and match them to make a custom mosaic backsplash for their kitchen. Mom promises to share pictures when they are done. Love it!
There are probably a half-dozen different patterns of tile in this pile. Creativity and patience will turn these scraps into a gorgeous backsplash. (photo courtesy of Back Creek Design)
The coffee cans went to two places. A garden club is going to make a project based on the “Garden Edition” post. I am so happy! And an art teacher in the local elementary school will be using some cans as storage for supplies.
The portfolios of roofing and vinyl siding samples will be torn down to use as craft supplies…final project as yet undetermined. Whatever it is, it will last for a long time…there’s a 20-year warranty on that material. A really good reason to keep it out of the landfill!
Do you have a Freecycle near you? Did you know that you can request free items, as well as post offers? I have met people who have patiently completed an entire renovation project with material and furnishings entirely from FreeCycle.
What a wonderful way to be part of the community.
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