A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

Found Treasures from Spring Cleaning

A few years ago, I came across a man who was storing many odds and ends around his shed. His wife was dismayed, but he was pulling in more stuff for his collection. I was a little baffled as to why he would need to save some of these things, and my questioning of this habit led him to take me on a short drive. He showed me a house that had even more items scattered about. He said that the man there had told him that whoever has the most stuff when he dies wins, and he has taken that message to heart.

Most of us do not add to our collections to such a degree, but I seem to be quite a collector myself. I have noticed that over the past few weeks that my neighbors have been taking care of some spring cleaning, which has caused the amount of treasures on the road side to increase. I saw a nice coffee table being left for the garbage men today. It just needed to be refinished. I am not against re-using quite a few items that I see, and I have picked up an object or two. My office suite was obtained at little cost. A firm was moving into one facility, so they were getting rid of the older furniture. I showed up with a U-haul truck to see what I could buy, and the foreman said that I can take what I want for free.

My son has been infected with this trait. Last week he comes home with a nice patio umbrella frame made out of teak. He set about creating a stand for it, and now we need to buy some fabric for it. I am creating some seats from wood planks that were given to me. Some paint and refinishing and we will have a comfortable seating area. In fact, many pieces in my garden are recycled bits. An old bench was repaired and painted, and the glass ball for a lamp has become a garden ball (with a little spray paint) . The shade has become a birdhouse with a little work.

Cleaning supplies, paint, and stain have worked wonders with many older goods. What I really wonder is why these former owners do not do the same? Or why not donate to Goodwill or some other charity? I have been bringing items to Goodwill twice a year for the past few years. Most of the items are not mine. For me it just makes sense to reuse something if possible rather than throwing it into the dump. I see my neighbor is now throwing away old garden furniture, since she has updated her patio. I will go and see if she will let me take to a charity instead. I do not want to win by having the most stuff, but I would like to see some consideration for the stuff we have.

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