Monday, June 29, 2009

Thrifty Treasures: Criminal Edition?

Rhoda at Southern Hospitality is hosting a blog party today. Go visit her for more of the weekend's thrifty finds! She's always so much fun.

I was a little bummed about not having anything to share with you all today... Until I peeked over our back fence yesterday afternoon. Long story short, our neighbors were forced to move, and they left a lot (understatement of the century) of JUNK behind.
Most of what didn't sell at their yard sale a month ago was left sitting to rot on the front lawn....ewww! It has been such an embarrassing eyesore for our street. People slow down when they drive by, and it's not because of the paint job on the old siding!

When I peeked over the fence yesterday, I wasn't sure what I'd find, but I did see one item that I thought might be worth salvaging. A neighbor informed me that the "demo" crew will arrive this morning to begin trashing the entire house so it can be revamped and sold.

"Take whatever you want because it will all be gone on Monday morning." she said.

So I turned into a looter today. At first I felt like a criminal, but I reminded myself that everything is headed to the dump anyways, so I better find something salvageable. Disclaimer: These photos are not for the faint of heart. This house was pretty beat up...code blue!

This is a shot of their front yard. Not pictured: the pile of old clothes to the far left...has been sitting there for a month now. I couldn't move it because D didn't move out until a few days ago!


This is the heinous site that greeted me when I rounded the corner to check out the backyard. I have never seen something so awful. Ever! Now I believe T when he claimed the locksmith said it was "top 5, one of the worst he's ever seen." Apparently, even the Realtor was appalled.


There were so many soggy boxes, wet and rotting books, magazines, shoes, etc. It was all there was to walk on. Sadly, the wicker chair and the matching love seat were covered in mold. I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole, and I was glad I chose to wear tennis shoes and jeans.

This is the far side of the back yard, closest to our back yard. I have never been so glad that they had a privacy fence! I would have liked to take a look at the plastic lawn chairs, but I was seriously afraid that I'd get bitten by a snake!




I spent the better part of 45 minutes prying these large slates out of the ground and loading them into a wheelbarrow I stole from T. Can you imagine how I even got the wheelbarrow into the back yard? It wasn't easy! I didn't think about how heavy it would be after I loaded it, and the trip back to my house was long and frustrating. I had to clear a path through the muck, and the wheelbarrow tipped when I got to my back yard. BUT, it will make a nice floor for the girl's play house. (Not all the slates are pictured...moving that wheelbarrow back was the hardest job!)


This is the big item I was after. I've been looking at picnic tables on Craig's List and at yard sales, and they run between $200 to $300 around here. It caught my eye because the benches are attached, meaning active children will be unable to tip them over. Free is better than $300, in my opinion, even if I had to wade through hell to get to it. (P.S. Yes, that is a fridge to the right.)




T was unwilling to help me carry it over to our house when I called him at work. Then I threatened to TiVo a Lifetime Movie instead of his soccer game, and he came around.


PLEASE, I'D LOVE SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT COLOR TO PAINT IT!!! At one time, in a past life, I believe it was painted black because I could see traces of the color on the table top.


They had boarded up their windows with Styrofoam!!! In the left corner, you can see part of the two tomato cages I picked up, along with some waist-high scrolly metal fencing that can be used as a trellis.
When I peeked in another window, I could see the kitchen had doors missing from cabinets, no appliances, flooring ripped up, flies buzzing, etc. T went in the other day when the locksmith was there, and he told me that there were only two rooms with flooring (it was exposed sub floors), NO drywall, and the stench (from 10 ferrets, 4 dogs, and a cat) was overwhelming. I don't know how they lived that way!!! It was her father's house, and I can't imagine treating my parents' property that way.

This is their front yard flower bed turned vegetable garden. I loaded up the white "picket fence" pieces that weren't broken to use as a border for my back yard vegetable garden. The leftovers will be used to make a cute "faux" fence in front of the girls' play house.


Natalie and Michaela Byrd's little red wagon multi-tasks nicely!



It just needs a "power washing," but I liked this outdoor mat because of the fleur de lis pattern.



Here's the table in our backyard. T put it on a spot that needs to be reworked with grass seeds for now. This will be a good spot to work on beautifying it! I think it can seat 6! I do believe it looks better already. A change of scenery will do her good!





I thought it might help if you could see what we have going on in the back yard for suggestions for the picnic table. Our siding (the addition is all siding and the rest of the house is brick on the bottom and siding on the top) is a khaki color. I am praying that T will start our deck to the right of the addition this summer. I'm dying for a place to entertain outdoors. I think we'll keep the picnic table under the trees though.


This is the girls' play house, which needs to be cleaned up again. We've been reseeding some grass, so there are some displaced birdfeeders, and stuff is moved around.
I think I'd like to do the table in a color that will go with lots of things....
So I'd say I had a pretty thrifty day! I am praying that the company that bought the house will do a great job fixing it up and we'll get some fabulous new neighbors! My hope is that they'll get some nice vinyl siding in an updated color that will compliment the home, which is spacious and open when not gutted and forlorn.
Cross your fingers for us!
I felt like a criminal going through all their old stuff, but I think it was criminal to leave their home that way!

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39 comments:

Kimba said...

Oh my gosh! What a horrible mess! I wonder what happened?

But yay for your good finds! The picnic table is a great one! I've always wanted to get a picnic table like that and paint it a light yellow.

Kimba

Cutie Patootie said...

Wow - I've never seen a mess like that in my life! Glad you were able to scavenge some keepers. :)

Thena said...

At least there is a fence around it so you didn't have to look at it everyday. There's a house next to us that almost looks just that bad. The grass and weeds covers half of the front of the house. There's junk everywhere not to mention cars that don't run anymore just sitting there. They have a dog chained up and rumor is the house is full of cats. Maybe if I took pics of it and blogged about it somebody around here would know how to get them to clean it up. lol

Rhonda in OK said...

Good for you! I am impressed that you dug around without being afraid. Free is always best.

I love the picnic table. I've seen cute ones painted red, white and blue with a simple American flag design painted on the top. That would match the play house too.

about the wicker, I wonder if you sprayed it with KILZ if that would not seal in the mildew and make it all useable?

Andrea (ace1028) said...

GREAT finds! I'm jealous. I want a picnic table like that, too! I think you could sand it down a bit and paint it neutral, or a light brown, or the yellow someone mentioned to brighten up the backyard!

~~Carol~~ said...

Ok, I thought the foreclosed house next door to me was awful, but you win the prize for ickiest abandoned house next door! Don't you wonder about people, how they can leave their home looking like that? I'm so glad you went over there and got some things that you could use, like the picnic table. That's going to be wonderful for your family! Hopefully a nice family will move in next door. Keep an eye on it, because they attract trouble when they sit empty. Believe me.

Lisa ~ A Cottage to Me said...

OMGosh! How long has that all been there? Wow!

Susie Q said...

That's awful. But ya know, I still think I'd have waded in for the wicker stuff...power washing, sun and bleach can go a long ways in wicker. I'm going to pick up a piece at my old office to bring home and clean up and get painted. Unfortunately, I don't have the room that I had in the shop space to do things!

Susie Q said...

What a great picnic table. (Forgot to throw in my two cents).

I've seen them with the top painted red and white checks like gingham and the benches solid colors. I have also seen them like the flag, but that bothers me. Apologies to all those that have picnic tables painted like flags.

Cathy said...

We've been searching for a picnic table too! I found a 6 foot one at lowes for $89.00 but I want an 8 footer. I plan to paint mine red whenever I find one. I can't believe that mess. That is insane. But hey good score for you!

Menden said...

Oh.my.goodness! It makes me sad to see houses like that..."my T" and I were nosy one weekend and went to an open house down the street from us (the house had been repo'd by the bank), and apparently the owners had 16 CATS. And it smelled like it. There was so much pee on the walls that they had covered the walls in plexiglass to "make it easier to clean." Ugggggh.
Anyway - you win the award for tackiest neighbors! Glad you were able to make the best out of a messy situation :)

Merrie said...

IMO, you did a good deed. How sad that all those things were left to rot. It broke my heart to see that wicker chair and hear it was covered with mold. What a waste. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and good luck with getting new neighbors.

The Blonde Duck said...

Popped in from SITS to say hi! Waste not, want not!

Carmen said...

Oh my! What a horrible way to treat a house!!! I hope it is all cleaned up soon so you don't have to deal with it anymore! Great picnic table though!

Charlene said...

Yuck! Save that wicker, girl, if it isn't too late--spray it down with bleach water, then rinse. Let it dry well, and repeat if necessary. Once you know it's completely dry, you can spray paint it. Might do that with the picnic table, too!

Good finds, in spite of the yuck.

Vanessa said...

Okay, I thought our neighbors' yard looked bad!! They're gone for 2 weeks and we have our house up for sale, so my hubby went over and cleaned up a little! :) You did find some great things! I love it when things are free! And hey...you were recycling!! Enjoyed checking out your thrifty finds!

Kim said...

Great finds! Too bad about the house though. Here in California a lot of people trash their house when it is foreclosed. It's gotten to the point where the bank pays the homeowner a few thousand dollars not to leave it trashed.

Paula said...

What a mess! You were brave to look through all of that junk, but it was certainly worth it because you found some great stuff. I still like a brick red color for a picnic table. We always had that color when I was a kid. A color that matches your siding and trim would also be nice.

Joan@anythinggoeshere said...

I think you have done a very good thing for your finds. And I bet you are really happy that you are going to have something done to the house next door. WOW!!

abeachcottage said...

goodness I can't believe how some people behave

good for you for saving it from the dump

Sarah

Debbie said...

Good heavens! I can't imagine living beside that. Thank goodness it will get cleaned up.
I'd paint it blue. A slate blue.

K said...

That just makes me sad! Personally, I would paint it a chocolate brown, but that is the color I am in love with right now.

Alison said...

Your little scavenging trip reminded me the time you climbed the fence when you were like 9 months pregnant, got stuck and ripped your nightgown trying to steal a kitten from the neighbor's yard. P.S. I think you should powerwash the playhouse AND the table and then just stain the table a wood color.

Debbie in Nashville said...

Wow, what a mess! That is unreal that it was left that way, but worst that you were living next to it! Looks like some good finds that will be great with a good cleaning or a fresh coat of paint.

Christina said...

Wow, those pictures are certainly not for the faint of heart, but I really hope some wonderful new neighbors come your way.

Great picnic table though. Wonderful find and free is a great deal. I would have waded over too.

Courtney said...

Unbelievable! I would love to find a free picnic table-definately worth the hassle.
Blessings!

bluecottonmemory said...

How disappointing! However, great way to make lemonade out of lemons!

Xazmin said...

I'm friends with a looter! That's SO. COOL!

I think you made out with some fabulous finds...sad that it was left that way. I'm hoping for some fab neighbors for you!

What about good old barn red for the table? It's very classic, country, outdoorsy, and looks like it would probably match the red on the play house.

Astrid said...

Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! I can't believe people can live like that! Oh wait...before we (dh and I) moved back into my old family home we had to haul out something like two tons of trash- I'm talking stinky kitchen trash- that my siblings graciously left behind for us. In addition there were three unidentifiable cars...UGH! (but the floors, walls, etc were intact).

The picnic table is a great find! I'd either stain it or paint it some bright fun color.

Brenda said...

I picked a barstool from a neighbor's trash last week and my 9year old was completely morified!

I can't believe anyone would leave a home in that condition, but you scored some great finds!

Emily said...

wow, amanda! i had no idea that their house looked THAT bad!! i can't believe you even went over there! you are much braver than i am! great finds though...i wouldn't paint your picnic table and dark colors b/c of the sun and all. you don't want it to be too hot to sit on. something fresh and sunny...maybe yellow or blue:o)

Manuela said...

Hi. I found your link thru Southern Hospitality. I was shocked in what condition that how is/was. I'm happy that you have that picnic table another chance and a new life. I would probably paint it a fun and bright color. Poor thing!

Nicole @ BugaBoos said...

Wow! What a MESS! I hope they didn't have children living there! I just love reading your posts, you write so well and they always are so funny!

delightfuldwelling said...

Yikes, what a mess! Great finds though. I would looove to have some slate pieces! We need some for our yard, but will probably go with limestone because those slate ones are up to $10 a piece.

Beth said...

Wow! What a fun adventure for you. You picked up some very nice things from that hideous mess. Nicely done :).

Beth said...

Wow! What a fun adventure for you. You picked up some very nice things from that hideous mess. Nicely done :).

Beth said...

Wow! What a fun adventure for you. You picked up some very nice things from that hideous mess. Nicely done :).

Amanda said...

I will never understand why people let their yards get that way. Even if you're poor, it doesn't cost much to clean up after yourself. ewww

What a steal on the table though! Go you

table top fridge said...

Wow - I've never seen a mess like that in my life! Glad you were able to scavenge some keepers. :)

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