This time last week, I was sitting in my oldest daughter’s new flat. I was helping her get settled in a bit. When she moved in, the room had an old double bed frame. She had borrowed a couple of twins mattresses from us, but what she really, REALLY wanted was a nice futon. Since she has just a studio on the ground floor, she wanted somewhere that her friends could sit when they came over. But also a nice place to sleep. We looked at all the discount websites. But the one she wanted most was almost £300…much more than her budget. What she could get for the hundred pounds or so that she could afford was not a good selection.
So I asked her to give me a few days to check out charity shops, Freecycle and just look around. A pleasant surprise was the following advert that I found on our Islington council’s swap exchange:
Free to anyone who wants to collect it, we have a futon in a pine finish. The frame is in very good condition. The cushion/mattress is white and the padding is still pretty good although the cover could do with a clean. It’s only ever been used as an incidental sofa/bed but over the years various spillages have marked it. A zip runs all the way down the back so I guess the cover could be removed and washed, although I’ve never tried myself. We don’t have room for it anymore but it seems a shame to throw it out, so if you want it, it’s yours.
I emailed and it was still available. We arranged to pick it up this evening, but when we arrived my jaws almost dropped open: it was the EXACT one she wanted. The mattress cover needs a wash or she may use the hundred pounds in her budget to purchase a really nice one. My vote went for using that money to purchase material and the two of us making a couple of them. No matter which option she chooses, I cannot tell you how excited I was to be able to help her out like this…at a time when we are watching every pence. And a special thanks to our angel, Graham, who choose to take the time to re-use this wonderful futon.
Some of you may think…that was lucky. So let me tell you about my other find last week. As I was taking my younger daughter to nursery, I noticed a large clear plastic bag of toys near our bin. I especially noticed the large foam number puzzle on top. Of course, I knew better than to stop and draw her attention to it. But after I dropped her at school, I stopped to explore…and discovered not just the wonderful puzzle but HUNDREDS of pounds worth of Barbie’s and accessories. The biggest find was the extremely rare pregnant Midge doll. My older daughter obviously is too old for Barbie and my younger one is really too young just yet. I did something a tad bold: I shared my fetish/find with my neighbour. I was a tad reluctant, but I knocked and explained about the stuff. I was reluctant because how do you say…I was going through the trash and guess what I found. Turns out, she thought it was great and now her grand-daughters are absolutely delighted with their ‘new’ Barbie’s, especially the pregnant one that none of their friends have. In the past, I ‘saved’ a Little Tikes kitchen set that would have cost close to a hundred pounds.
My point is that…one person’s trash is the top of another person’s wish list. So before you toss something, check to see if your council has a Swap Exchange or register with Freecycle. Other options include donating it to charity shops, having a yard/car boot sale and like me offering it to friends (I will do another post sometime about how much of my daughter’s clothes and toys come this way). Just think you could be the answer to someone’s prayer…just like Graham was tonight.