Author Topic: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?  (Read 4577 times)

OutOfTheAbyss

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Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« on: February 25, 2016, 10:02:03 AM »
This is a new outlook, or even a game for me: What is right in front of me that's free that I'm not seeing?

I am starting to see all sorts of FREE resources all around me that I missed before. A lot of it ends up in the garbage.

 We have dozens of trees that drop coconuts all over the yard all the time. I'm using Google to figure out how to start using this free, delicious resource (i.e. how to open them, etc).

I decided to start growing vegetables. I was throwing out egg cartons all the time, so I saw one in the trash and started using them to start seeds for bell peppers, etc. instead of throwing them away or buying seed trays. I can write on them. right now I have an experiment where I am using some of the compartments for store-bought seeds and others for seeds I took from scraps.

I ran out of parmesan the other day and realized I could marinate our Costco chicken in my homemade yogurt with some ginger and curry instead of a trip to the store.

I was going to buy a new bucket to start washing my car myself (especially in the spring when we have bugs that take the paint off), then realized I could just use our house cleaning bucket and return it.

I ran out of PAM spray, and realized that it contains "propellant" (yuck! ack!)and found an old gift of an olive oil mister I can use with the bulk olive oil

Junk mail envelopes = note pad and grocery list paper

Kitchen scraps (leeks, bok choy, etc) are now healthy plants on my patio. Or broth.

I cancelled Audible.com and found free audiobook downloads online. Similarly, I was able to sell text books and work reference books and find the same information (statistics, SQL, Excel, etc) free online for the rare occasion that I need it. Also, there are free courses on EdX and Coursera with downloadable materials.

What is free that is right in front of you?




MasterStache

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2016, 12:28:17 PM »
My flip phone was free. Haha!

Not exactly in front of me at the moment but in the Fall, I walk the neighborhood and collect large quantities of large plastic bags filled with organic soil nutrients and garden compost (aka leaves). I routinely swing by Starbucks and collect many many pounds of used coffee grounds for even more soil nutrients and organic compost.

teadirt

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2016, 02:41:29 PM »
Last week I was walking to work from the bus stop (~10 minutes) and about 3-4 people in front of me passed by a dollar on the ground. Of course I picked it up!

I've had pretty good fortune with finding discarded things on the ground. A couple years ago, I picked up a pretty nice raincoat after a football game at the local university while I was picking up trash (I was on the grounds crew)! It was practically new. My clothes currently live in a cupboard that was sitting outside with a 'free' sign on it.

In my college days in a college town, I've found and consumed many full, sealed beers I found around town on sunday/monday morning, and once, someone left a half-case of Budweisers, and about 40-50 empty bottles and cans strewn about, at a fishing hole I went to. I figured that the full beers were an appropriate fee for picking up all the empties.

I'm always on the lookout for things, because occasionally you'll find a real treasure!

marty998

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2016, 03:18:57 PM »
It's free to give a compliment
It's free to make someone happy
It's free to enjoy the company of others
It's free to smile

Ok I'm getting a little too reflective right now...

On topic, I like the mentions of scrap paper/envelopes/notepads below... can't recall the last time I bought stationary for the purpose of scribbling random lists, names, numbers etc. Always reuse whatever scrap from the various bits of mail I get.

That... and I never turn down free food... savings on not having to do dinner really add up.

Noodle

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2016, 04:49:24 PM »
Fun topic! At one time, my apartment was largely furnished with freebies! I used to live in a neighborhood with a lot of free piles, plus I had family in town who were something of recreational shoppers and would often hand things down to me as they upgraded. Since a move, my sources are much more limited...

Some things I do have:

My laundry hamper was sitting by the dumpster in my apartment complex.
My pretty floral box for loose papers was part of a luncheon centerpiece at a work gathering.
Clipboard was a free sample for an order placed at work.
I buy most of my books (when I buy) very cheaply at used book stores, garage sales, or from Kindle sales, but I also have some that were freebies.
Several free tote bags that I use to collect donations for Goodwill, take stuff to the beach or pool, etc.
A glass bowl (looks like an art class project) found in a free pile in which I am currently forcing bulbs
A salad spinner and Pyrex dish that a family member didn't want any more
The freebie mini-cedar chest they used to give to high school senior girls is a pen box
My stand mixer was purchased with gift cards that were my Christmas bonus for a job close to fifteen years ago. (I also got a food processor and coffeemaker that way, which have since given up the ghost).

I thought I had more than that, but I realized that what I do have is a lot of gifts accumulated over the years, a lot of things I thrifted or yard-saled, or items that have been repurposed over and over again in different homes.

meghan88

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2016, 09:47:44 AM »
Quite a while ago we made a choice to minimize the amount of money we spend on stuff that goes straight to the dump during / after use:  garbage bags, plastic bags, paper napkins, plastic wrap were just a start.  Now:

- paper bags from the bakery are repurposed as organic waste bags which we keep in the freezer (to be emptied in the green bin at my workplace since we live in a condo)
- plastic bags from food are repurposed for other things and eventually recycled
- scavenged plastic bags become garbage bags, and we produce one small bag every month or so
- vegetables such as carrots and potatoes no longer get peeled (we buy organic)
- we clean most things with water, vinegar and baking soda (not free, but inexpensive)
- if I come across something useful in someone else's trash, I take it home

Rosy

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2016, 11:35:56 AM »
Not entirely on target with this thread, but I finally learned to say NO to free things, that I have no use for.

Gave an "art" coaster to  a stranger who admired it this morning - giving something away is "free"-ing:)

As to free goodies - I exchange garden plants with my garden friends and we always plant a couple of extra seeds to give away, a colorful zinnia or a tomato/basil plant.

We pretty much have all we need, so my wishes are either totally frivolous, "I just love this" or they fall into the category of "we really need a new drill" - so all I can hope for is to find some free cash on the ground or win the sweepstakes or inherit (unlikely:) or be the 1 Million customer at the grocery store:)

Inaya

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2016, 12:39:06 PM »
One could probably feed themselves off conference-room leftovers just by roaming around my office building. Unfortunately, it would be an unhealthy lunch of pastries and pizza. And unfortunately, I always track them down after I've had lunch. And I have no willpower when it comes to pastries and pizza.


People tend to leave items they don't want in the stairwell of our building so maintenance can pick it up. Furnished my balcony that way.


In the summer there's free entertainment all around me. Or at the cost of taking public transit. Almost nothing compared to a movie or concert ticket.

teadirt

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2016, 03:25:23 PM »
...
- scavenged plastic bags become garbage bags, and we produce one small bag every month or so
...

Amazing! I hope I can get up to your level some day.

Basenji

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2016, 06:45:56 PM »
Reading the OP, I kept looking for a photograph to examine, literal me.

We have little "libraries" all over our neighborhood, which are small hutches on fence poles where people can leave a book, take a book. It's become a fun new game for me to walk the dogs looking for these little book hutches. I also take books with me to put in.

My biggest score of paper was outside a print shop. They put out (with a sign saying to take it) huge stacks of offcuts, strange long strips about 5 inches wide and two feet long. I took a pile about 6 inches deep. Beautiful paper for lists.

One of my fave free things was a small side table left out on junk day. We had it for a few years, then we gave it to a neighbor and they used it for a few years. Then one day recently I was admiring a small table at another neighbor's that had plants on it. I realized with crazy pleasure and pride that it was that same junk table! And someone threw it away all those years ago!
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 06:51:53 PM by Basenji »

MKinVA

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2016, 07:50:52 AM »
Instead of buying mulch, my husband drives around picking up hauls of pine needles on the side of course try streets and ditches. It's much cleaner than mulch which can have weed seeds, it's free, and our combination of bushes love the acid when the needles are breaking down. I like the look better than mulch. Win win.

Dicey

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2016, 02:19:15 PM »
Okay, this one takes a little effort, but I'm going to pile it on in hopes it helps someone else. I volunteer at my local library's quarterly book sales. We set up all week and hold the sale on Friday night and Saturday. On Sunday morning when we do takedown, anyone who's there to help can have anything they want for free. The catch is that you have to get there early and work fast, but hey, free books!

CindyBS

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2016, 04:16:21 PM »
In our city, it is custom to put anything that is still useable that you would like to give away on your tree lawn a day or 2 before trash pick up.  Lot of free stuff gotten that way.

I am currently making a bathroom storage system out of milk cartons (toothpaste, shampoo bottles, etc).  One thing that inspired me to do it is search "upcycle ______" in a search engine and then look at images.  I get a lot of ideas of how to use things I was formally throwing away or recycling.

Also, I have found a clipboard to be a great investment.  It makes it a lot easier to use any sort of extra paper/envelopes, etc.  I write out my shopping lists on the scrap paper and then clip to the clipboard.  The clipboard props up really easily in the top part of a shopping cart. 

Peter Parker

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2016, 05:57:17 PM »
My neighbor tore down his fence.  I took the boards and made three rustic "farmhouse" coffee tables/trunks out of them. 

My wife liked them better than the NapaStyle trunk we had--so I sold the NapaStyle trunk on Craigslist for $500...and then sold the two extra farmhouse trunks for $300 each!

The boards were going to the dump...and then it turned into $1100 in my pocket!

HAPPYINAZ

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2016, 09:36:05 AM »
My husband is the king of finding free stuff on the road.  Most of our tools have come that way.  Wrenches, wire cutters, ratchet sets, hammers, axes, shovels, etc.  It's amazing what you can find lying on the side of the road.  We actually have found so much stuff that on a walk along a dirt road the other day we came across a really nice mallet someone had left when they cut and split some wood on public land.  Normally my husband grabs that stuff, but he said he already had two nice mallets (found of course) and didn't need another.  So we chased down the only vehicle we saw in the area and asked if the mallet was theirs, they said no, but they were interested in going to get it.  We also have lots of coolers that are road finds and of course the ever present plastic five gallon buckets which my husband using when making beer and washing wine and beer bottles. 

We also have gotten free flyfishing rods, outdoor furniture, ladders, nice pots and pans, etc from neighbors who are getting rid of them and decide we might want them, or we find them on the side of the curb because someone is throwing them out.  For years my desk was an old door that we placed across two file cabinets (all found).  The hole for the door knob is great for running the computer cords up through.  Now I have a really nice desk that is an antique my dad no longer wanted.  It's a definite upgrade but still was free.  In fact our TVs are all free hand outs because others upgraded to flat panels.

My husband also stops to pick up hats, tshirts, jackets, gloves along the road and many of those become his favorites and are good looking and functional. 

We also have found several large plastic trash barrels and use them as rainwater collection tanks. 

Funny, I started this post just to mention the tools we find on the side of the road, but got carried away when I realized how much other stuff in our house was free.   

HAPPYINAZ

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Re: Can you find the free stuff hidden in this picture?
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2016, 09:38:10 AM »
My neighbor tore down his fence.  I took the boards and made three rustic "farmhouse" coffee tables/trunks out of them. 

My wife liked them better than the NapaStyle trunk we had--so I sold the NapaStyle trunk on Craigslist for $500...and then sold the two extra farmhouse trunks for $300 each!

The boards were going to the dump...and then it turned into $1100 in my pocket!


awesome!