The most random treasure hunt ever

The very best thing about junk hunting (aka curbside shopping, etc.) is that you just never know what you’ll find. Even more-so than secondhand shopping, when searching the side of the road for discarded goods, you could literally come across anything.

Although I mostly pick up furniture & bigger things (because I don’t usually dig through bins & boxes, and just take what I can see,) sometimes I find other stuff that I just can’t pass up.

I’ve cut down on hunting for roadside finds lately, mostly due to a lack of space and a huge backlog of furniture that’s waiting for me to work on it.Ā  But when coming home from my parent’s house last week, I couldn’t help but notice the piles and piles of stuff all around their neighborhood. Much of it was empty boxes, but I decided to go down a few extra side streets in case anyone tossed out something good, maybe in their NY resolution to de-clutter šŸ™‚

But beteatowelfore doing that, I grabbed this cute tea towel from the top of a box put out by my parent’s next-door neighbor (the rest of the box contained old – but clean – men’s t-shirts, which I took straight to St. Vincent de Paul to donate.)


A few houses down from my parents, someone had set this dry-erase board & unopened wedding guest book on top of their closed trash can, essentially willing it to be picked up. (I donated the dry erase board and already sold the guest book on Etsy).


Around the corner I grabbed this neat old dart-board cabinet, complete with chalkboard interior for keeping score.


And then this spice rack – I won’t use the spices, and don’t need a spice rack, but I can definitely find another use for it (probably storing sewing or craft supplies). And this under-bed storage bin.


Then I turned a corner and saw this scarecrow sticking out of a box, along with a couple of big fake bonsai trees (which I didn’t take, they were huge). I hopped out of the car to grab it and the wreath sitting next to it, and then I noticed there were a few additional boxes filled with stuff that obviously wasn’t trash. Since it was freezing and close to the girls’ bedtime, I threw the boxes in my car to look at at home.


One box was full of (unused) colored copy paper, card stock, scrapbooking supplies, and those borders that teachers use around their bulletin boards. Another was packed full of CDs. There were also some Christmas decorations, a nice pair of Clauss scissors, and a big carton of foam stickers. (I donated most of this stuff – minus the CDs, which I still need to go through – to the girls’ schools).

paper stuffAnd a giant ziploc bag full of old pictures. They cover this one man’s whole life – baby pictures, him as a child, his High School graduation photo, him in the Air Force and working at a factory, he and his wife as a twenty-something couple, and then with a baby – the most recent (presumably) are him at his daughter’s wedding, and sitting around a campfire as an old man. I can’t believe someone threw these away. I don’t even remember which house I got this stuff from, or I would go back and see if it was done by mistake. None of it is marked, so I have no idea of his name. But I find the pictures fascinating. I don’t know what to do with them, but I definitely won’t be throwing them away.

picturesIf you would have given me 10 guesses of what I might find junk hunting that night, I don’t think I would have said guest book, spice rack, copy paper, or a lifetime of pictures. I love the unpredictableness of it. Of course, there are many times I go out specifically to junk hunt and find nothing. But those instances are worth all of the cool stuff that I have found.

Speaking of, I added a bunch of new things from this summer/fall to my Roadside Finds gallery if you want to check it out.

If you’ve found anything cool on the side of the road, please share!


Mini Makeover…Thursday? (Crate & Board Ottoman)

Well shoot, right when I started to get into a posting groove, life got crazy and I just haven’t had the time to do much of anything related to Secondhand Fancy.

Since I also dropped the ball on “Mini Makeover Mondays” (projects that took less than 30 minutes to complete,) I thought I would just share one now.

When I began working from home full-time we transitioned the kid’s playroom into my office, and it’s since morphed into my office/craft room. I think I’ve come up with some pretty unique storage solutions that allow me to fit everything I need for work and fun into a 10×10 space, but this was one of the simplest.

I found this plastic crate, along with another 2, on the side of the road.

I wanted to use it for storage, but it didn’t stack with the other two, and since space is at a premium here, I wanted an alternative to just having a crate sitting there with stuff in it. This is what I came up with.

The top was formerly the door to our old bathroom cabinet. After screwing the doors closed, I just covered it in a layer of batting and used my staple gun to cover that with a pretty pillowcase (the counterpart to the one I used on this chair).

I attached a couple brackets to the bottom that help it fit nicely on top of the crate, but it’s not attached – so you can’t sit on the edge of it or anything. But it’s fine for resting your feet on! Or even doing art projects, as K demonstrates (I placed another piece of wood on top, here,Ā  since she had been painting.)


I got my volunteer assignment for Crafty Supermarket today! (I’ll be helping to direct people outside from 2-4.) I’m excited to be able to participate in this super-cool event, and am looking forward to being inspired by these awesome vendors (and doing some shopping!)

NEW Roadside Finds Gallery

I could have included this in the previous entry where I shared this week’s roadside finds, but I wanted to post it separately in hopes that more people would see it this way.

I’ve added a Roadside Finds page to my site. You can see pictures of all of my roadside finds here, including many that I’ve never posted about before. Take a second to look – you just may be shocked at the amount of stuff that I’ve managed to pick-up within the last year or so.(I’ve also added a Before & After page)

This Week’s Roadside Finds!

It was a good one!

First I found these plastic bread crates on the curb just down the street from my house. I have a few things in mind,, but would love to hear other people’s ideas!Ā  I just know they can be made into something totally cool.

plastic bread crates

Later that same day I found this kitchen chair – clean and not a single thing wrong with it (except for the fact that it’s kinda ugly) – sitting on the curb a few houses down from where the crates were.

The next day I grabbed this…bench? foot stool? from the roadside. It’s really beat up, but regardless of its original purpose, it will make the perfect step stool for our bathroom. The one we have now is about 3-inches too short for K (who’s 3) to reach the faucet, so despite the fact that she’s a very proficient hand washer, someone has to turn the water on and off for her each time.

old step stool


Then, yesterday, I struck junker’s gold. The girls and I were headed to the vet to pick up the (insanely expensive) cat food that one of our cats must eat (and therefore, they all eat), when I spotted something sitting next to the dumpster in an apartment complex parking lot and swung through to check it out.

What I had seen from the road turned out to be junk (literally), but when I glanced behind the dumpster I found these two soon-to-be beauties.

old glider

glider chair

old baking rack

baker's rack

The only downside is that (with a small house and no garage or basement) we’re fast running out of room for all of my to-do projects. But I can’t wait to get started on these!

Operation Dresser Rehab – Chalkboard Dresser

We have six badly-in-need-of-rehab dressers in our house. To sum it up, the reason we have six dressers is because a) I don’t like to get rid of furniture since I always have plans to rehab it, andĀ  b) if I see a decent (being a relative term) piece of furniture on the curb, I can’t pass it by.

Dresser ugliness

Only one of these was purchased new, and it’s a cheapie that we bought in college. Two are from craigslist, one’s a hand-me-down from my parents, and I found two of them on the side of the road.

And lest you wonder if we don’t believe in drawer handles, I just forgot to take the “before” pictures prior to removing the hardware.


So I recently began “operation: dresser rehab” around here.

Changing hardware is the simplest, easiest way to freshen up a piece of furniture, and since (between all of the dressers) I had so many different kinds, I figured I would just paint it and switch it around instead of buying new hardware. (I even included our kitchen cabinet hardware in the exchange, and handles from two of these dressers are currently adorning our cabinets. I’ll share those later.)


Completed Dresser #1 – Chalkboard Dresser

You might notice that a few of the dressers are drawn on (mostly by my preschoolers, but I was bemused to also find things obviously created by a 32-year-old man :))

Overall I’m pretty laid back about this kind of stuff, and this in particular was no big deal because I’m planning on painting all of the dressers anyway. In fact, the drawings inspired my first completed dresser – a chalkboard dresser for my daughter’s room (using the paint I had leftover from the chalkboard table.)

I got this dresser for $10 from craigslist when I was pregnant with my younger daughter. I had just wanted something small and sturdy (and cheap) to hold baby clothes, which this is. I had planned on painting it a long time ago but never got around to it – so it’s remained a scuffed-up white with bright yellow knobs for, oh, just over three years.

Dresser before

Dresser before (after knobs removed)

Me demonstrating what the knobs looked like before

I spray painted the drawer fronts with 3 coats of chalkboard paint and painted the rest of the dresser a bright pinkish/coralish color that I got from the mis-tint section at Lowe’s.

Since I didn’t have any other single-hole hardware (and I didn’t feel like patching all of the single holes and drilling double ones) I decided to reuse the original drawer knobs. My first idea was to paint a variety of smiley faces on them, but then I figured – why do I get to have all of the fun?

So I brought the knobs over to my parent’s house and had my mom, dad, brother, husband, daughters, and myself each paint one (actually, my older daughter, whose dresser this is, painted two.) I love the idea that P. can look at things created by those who love her, everyday.

The last thing I needed was somewhere to store the chalk and eraser, and P. suggested using a little ice-cream carton that she’d decorated with tissue paper.Ā  I was planning on attaching it to the side of the dresser but she requested it be on the front so she could see it better šŸ™‚

The finished product

The knobs that family members decorated:

Now it’s on to the next ugly dresser!

Recent Roadside Finds

I’ve had some good luck lately!

In the past week (or so) I picked up this TV cabinet (soon-to-be my sewing/craft desk)

this nightstand (which I’ll be painting and using as an end table)

and this poster (perfectly clean, just in a cracked poster frame)

Then, a few nights ago I had the biggest chocolate craving ever and made a 11pm trip to the gas station for M&Ms. On the way home I spotted what looked like a large painting leaning against a trash can just down the road from our house. I stopped to check it out, expecting something ugly, but figuring that I could at least use the frame.

Instead, I found this – a Cincinnati map, circa 1933, titled “A New and Accurate Map of Cincinnati, the Queen City

The pictures aren’t great (per usual) and it’s rather dim and a bit difficult to read even in person. But the level of detail is amazing – each street is labeled, buildings are named, and the border is filled with renderings of Cincinnati landmarks and quotes about Cincinnati. It was made by two guys named John Becker and Stuart Ball, and oddly, the only thing at all that I’ve been able to locate online about the map is the copyright entry. I did find out that these two ‘gents went to UC, and even got to see their pictures in the 1925 University of Cincinnati yearbook.

The TV cabinet and nightstand are already undergoing my renovations, but other than perhaps a fresh coat of varnish on the frame, I’ll be leaving this one untouched!