Frugal Living

"A Roadside Pickupping We Will Go"


Oh it’s so much fun!

It may be below a lot of people to take a drive past piles of other people’s rubbish, searching for the odd potential prize bit of rubbish, but I really enjoy it. 

Here in Western Australia, our local government allows people to place certain types of rubbish out on their verges at set times during the year. The rubbish is picked up by trucks and taken away.

As the saying goes, “one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure”.

As a family we have collected many useful items and building materials. When we first set up our little farm, we were able to find gates, fencing posts, scrap metal, fencing wire, pots, doors, paint, tiles and lots more. We have put a lot of these to work on our farm. There is still a stock pile of much needed scrap metal, gates etc. that comes in handy at times. 

You might be thinking that our place must look like a junk yard. Absolutely not, it is beautiful. Some of the gates we have found were ornate and with a lick of paint look rather grand. Other cattle gates add to the rustic charm of the place. We have beautiful old solid cedar doors that adorn our garage. My husband has even cut some up for strong shelving in the shed. The chook pen looks great with its recycled door and an old trampoline spring to pull it shut. The possibilities are really endless.

My son was able to acquire many bikes and parts to fix them. We had a great collection of bikes and he learned a lot about them. Some bikes just needed air in their tyres and they were as new.

As I look around my yard I see an old garden bench that we picked up and restored, a lovely ornate round metal garden table beside it. There is an old hospital bed head leaning against the garden shed, and a rusty metal dairy milk urn taking a prize position by the path. What about the antique metal wheelbarrow, with bulbs growing in its tub, and that brass bell that adorns the cubby house. Oh, as we are on the subject of the cubby house. It has a lovely recycled kitchen, ornate metal veranda railing, nice steps, veranda floor boards, bookcase, woven reed baskets, the list goes on. They all come from roadside pickup.

My family went to work in the outback of Australia for a few years. We gave a lot of our gear away before we left and so when we returned, we had no beds for the children. Although we had mattresses , we had no frames. Well, our wonderful God provided. As we went roadside pickupping, we found near new bed frames for all of our four children. God is so good.

We have so many stories. Lately my daughters and I do it the most. We make a day of it and take the ute to our local large town about 50 minutes drive away. A lot of what we picked up last time, we have already sold again. We clean it up a bit and make a bit of pocket money when we sell it on our local second hand website. (see my article about selling your second hand goods on the internet) Some of items have come in handy around the place. I especially love to pick up suitcases. People seem to throw out perfectly good suitcases. They make great storage containers. (See my article on storage) I have three beautiful cushioned dining chairs for extra visitors to sit on. All they needed was a dust off and they looked new. I recently saw similar ones in a furniture shop and they were priced at over $200 each. Astonishing.

It can be a bit embarrassing at first but you get over it. Sometimes we actually ask the people if we can look through their pile on the verge. They nearly always cheerfully oblige and even bring more stuff out for you. We have had it where they took us into their shed and offered us good stuff that they weren’t throwing out. If you are pleasant and respectful, people respond happily. Unfortunately some people may rummage through a pile and leave it a mess. That’s not nice. Be aware that most people feel that the pile of rubbish is their property and so it is. Just ask, if you see them, otherwise be smart, respectful and pleasant.

Have a go. You may find something useful, save some money, and even begin to enjoy it.

Written by our Dearest Mother

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