Do I like thrift stores and yard sales and flea markets?


But scoring two new-to-us porch chairs and a loveseat from the sidewalk is even better: it’s FREE!

Of course, it’s only fair to pick things up from the curb if you can use them. If you don’t have an immediate use for a free thing, it’s not yours. Storing it for “someday” is like stealing from someone who could use the whatever-it-is right now.

That’s why we left the like-new glass-topped patio table on the curb beside the potted plastic palm tree. Someone will be delighted with that handsome table. The plastic palm? I don’t think I know anyone who would be delighted with that,* but it probably found a home. FREE! can add a touch of glamour to even a plastic palm tree.

Rattan furniture is not something I would buy. Large dogs and small children are murder on rattan. But since we didn’t pay anything for these pieces, we aren’t wasting any money on something that may only last one or two seasons more. And, besides, even if this furniture doesn’t last long under the abuse it’s likely to receive at our house, it’s already been thoroughly used by someone else. There are broken splints in the front of the chairs and the seat of the love-seat is split in the front. We removed the most uncomfortable chair on our screen porch, rearranged the furniture, and set the “new” love-seat and one of the chairs in there.The finish is still good enough for the porch, but the finish on the chair destined for the patio needed reinforcement.

[And here’s a reminder: Before you spay your curbside treasure with clear gloss polyurethane, brush off any spider webs. Rattan furniture – even FREE! rattan furniture – is less attractive laced with stiff cobwebs and clinging spider egg cases. You don’t have to ask how I know this.]

The chairs have a throne-like quality that lends a regal air to anyone who sits down in one.


And yes, both FREE! chairs came with FREE! seat cushions that don’t clash too badly with the mostly green cushions already on the porch.However,  the love-seat — with the broken seat? — it was bare.

To remedy this, I first tried folding up an old blanket. I could feel every rib of that woven seat through that blanket. So I made a trip to JoAnn Fabrics where I picked out slightly oversize exterior cushions and green cotton duck on the end of the bolt. But I’d misread the price on the weatherized foam and gasped when the clerk rang me up at more than $85! I took the cotton duck  for $12 and left the pricey cushions on the counter.

Maybe if I used TWO blankets? (This didn’t work: I learned the hard way.)

After a few days, I got my mind around the idea of spending money to make our FREE! love-seat comfortable. We were already using it. We liked using it. Two people could sit down together and look at the same book. I could lie down and read with my legs up in the air. If, as was likely, new cushions outlasted the love-seat, we were likely to get a new love-seat anyway.

So I gave in. I ordered two  4″ thick weatherized foam cushions on-line from JoAnn’s website, where I found exactly the right size (no trimming required). I went back to bricks-and-mortar JoAnn for a 22″ zipper to insert in the green cotton duck. And I got out the sewing machine.

The cushion for the FREE! love-seat? Sixty-five dollars!

In spite of my justifications, I’m not completely comfortable that I spent $65 on  a cushion for a FREE! love-seat.

But it sure is comfy.

Tell me, what would you have done?


  •  To be fair to the potted plastic palm tree, I will try to imagine how someone might be delighted to bring it home:
  •  You are fashioning a small island from a pile of sand in your back yard: a potted plastic palm tree  adds that essential tropical flavor.
  • Or perhaps your cock-a-too is happier and screeches less often with a potted plastic palm tree occupying the corner of your screen porch.
  •  You fill the empty spot in the vegetable beds where your eggplants died with — you guessed it! –a potted plastic palm tree
  • You have no furniture in your living room except a futon and a radio, so why not?


4 thoughts on “Curb Finds

  1. Or you could “trim” the tree with clear or multi colored Christmas lights and have a Hawaiian Christmas tree to light up your porch!


  2. Oh, I love street freebies. And I mourn the ones that got away.

    A neighbor cleaned out his house after his wife died. She was a collector of folk art, he was a tab or two shy of a six pack. So he reached a point where he could not cope and moved everything to the carport. He told us, and some other neighbors to take anything we wanted. I have a glass front cabinet, and large piece handmade paper (framed) that I always admired. The young neighbors took the iPad and Apple laptop. I knew even less about computers then, sigh. I still have unused stamps from this.

    There are more stories. Another neighbor put a lovely oriental rug out because her dogs had been sick on one edge. I brought it home and cleaned it, then realized it was too big for any of the rooms in the house, sigh. I gifted it to another neighbor.

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Those are fabulous finds, Mary. Maybe my neighbors have it more together than yours. Or maybe they don’t have as much to give away. Or maybe I’m just not in the right place at the right time!


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