Curbside Junking Adventures and Tips

curbside junking pile

Curbside Clean-up junking season has begun in my town and I was on a mission last week to find some tables and chairs for our upcoming grad party. Junking is such a great way to find free vintage and perfectly fine stuff for your yard, house, or to re-sell. Besides being a cheap risk, you’re saving something from the landfill-win/win!

Besides sharing what I found last Friday in my 3 van loads (because everyone who follows my IG feed, @lorabcreateandponder has been wondering), I thought I’d share some of my tips for having a successful, junking day:

cute vintage stool

#1 Bring tools, straps, and baby wipes.

Having a cordless drill, a scissors, a wire cutter, a screwdriver and a hammer come in handy when you really only want part of something…like the hardware. Straps are needed if you have a trailer or are planning on putting it on top of your vehicle. Baby wipes are for your hands…because you will get dirty. I usually wear jeans and boots and bring some gloves for digging, and wear a little makeup, so if I need to be a damsel in distress, I can get some guy to help me lift;)

I just love driving the streets of this older, established neighborhood, on a beautiful sunny day with my sunroof open, listening to 80’s rock music! I was junking solo this day, but I knew some junker friends were in the area if I really needed some help.





I’ve gotten to know these neighborhood streets pretty well over the years and am always entertained by some of the “creative” choices some make for their homes and gardens:




#2 Pack your treasures tightly as you find them.

You never know when you’re going to come across something really cool, and really big. It’s so much easier to pick something up if you’ve been packing tightly all along. Taking all your items out and re-adjusting is really not fun, so make sure you’re keeping nice big open spots for that amazing find!


#3 Bring Cash.

You will see treasures in other people’s vehicles that you wish you’d found first. If they happen to be a scrapper or someone not too attached to the item, they may let you buy it from them! I was drooling as I spied these two vintage lawn chairs sticking out of a pickup and I actually prayed…yes, asked Jesus…to see the guy again (And yes, this praying about something completely not holy is genetic-ask my mom). I turned a corner and there he was pulling into his driveway! I rolled down the window and offered him my $25 cash and he decided the money was better than having a couple more chairs around his fire pit. Whoo-hoo!


#4 Be friendly. Be careful

This whole environment is kind of fun. The homeowners are happy to be getting rid of stuff and are honestly entertained by what people are picking up. I’ve had people ask what I’m looking for and have even offered things they hadn’t brought out yet. But beware…if you’re a single lady and some guy says to come take a look at something in his garage out back…the red flags should be going off in your head! Also realize you are in the street. Don’t let that rusty item grab your attention so much that you forget your preschool training! Stop, look, and listen when you cross the street…even if it’s for good junk! And maybe pull over to a side street instead of stopping on a busy street.


#5 Know where the bathrooms are.

That coffee that has you revved is going to come through eventually and you’re going to be having so much fun that you are not going to want to waste time. Most of the playgrounds and ballfields have their porta-potties up by springtime. Take note of where they are and remember.

#6 Tie your load down securely before you head home.

Actually, tieing down a load of junk could be a whole nother blog post. But when your load looks like the grapes of wrath, you want people behind you gawking, not having junk fly through their windshields. Take the time to criss-cross your straps over the load and do the grab and pull test on everything. It shouldn’t be moving to be safe.

My final advice…Don’t think too hard about it. Pretty much everything can be burned, scrapped, or put on your own curb if you decide you don’t want it once you get home. Because it’s all free!

Here are my “treasures” piles from one day of junking…and I even forgot to take a pic of the 4 metal/glass top patio tables I picked up for the party:


These old metal cabinets are such great storage for basements, garages, cabins…and I’m a sucker for anything with vintage decals.





A basically new party table-they just didn’t want to store it. Chairs and a stool to refresh for more party seating. And an old painter’s scaffolding that once Mr. Fix-it adds some legs to, will seat a lot of teenagers!


The vintage lawn chairs, plus a couple more striped ones and a hanging bench for our deck. A matching cooler to another we picked up last year and some badminton racquets for yard fun.


Never underestimate the small, neat piles. Some of my greatest finds were in piles of only a couple items by the curb. I just love these old lumber and hardware store aprons.


A little bit of mod is kinda fun. This chair is in beautiful shape and may need to get sold after I use it for it’s functionality.


Oh, these fruit decals…they called to me from across a busy street. It was the upper part of a childs cupboard that was missing a drawer. I’m going to paint the body and look at this above my washing machine. Shutters and a dolly crib?…who knows…


Almost all of the garden containers, yard art and garden tools we own are from the side of the road. Cuz’ “Why buy new, when slightly used will do”, right? (Does that T.V. ad stick in anyone else’s head?)



My goal for the summer is to learn how to re-upholster and these chairs are going to be my students. And sometimes a girl’s gotta save a piece of cute furniture from a really bad re-do. This desk needs my help. And will be a great storage/ side table that doesn’t take up much square feet in my house.




You’ll see all these items used for the grad party in over a month! And I’ll remind you then where I got them all for free!

Hope you had fun seeing my curbside junking finds and learning some tips for when you’re ready for the adventure! If you liked this post, you can see more of my junking adventures in my posts, “Junking: Strange and Unusual”{Here} and “A Vintage Junker’s Guide: Where to Find the Good Stuff” {Here}.


I’m hoping one of these years I can be found junking in one of these beauties I saw that day: (and I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to vintage pickup trucks; check it out and follow me, Lora B.)



Tell Santa a pickup from the 60’s or 70’s would be fine in any combination of green, aqua, yellow or orange. No red or blue please. Anyone else dream of owning a vintage pickup?

Pin and Share button

Curbside Junking Tips

Want to see what I did with these finds? Check out these posts:

“Little Stools: Function, Love and Sellability”

“How To Refresh and Enjoy Vintage Metal Lawn Chairs”

“From Painter’s Scaffolding To Rustic Bench”

“Outdoor Party Tips: The Entrance and Furniture”

“Use Vintage Finds and Refreshed Junk as Unique Serving Pieces and Centerpieces”


Sharing at these lovely parties:

Saavy Southern Style

vintage-charm-button-2  FFF-FINAL-SQUARE  Talk-of-the-Town-party-button1-funky_junks_party_junk_link_party-29-amTheFarmhouseFridayLinkParty

21 thoughts on “Curbside Junking Adventures and Tips

  1. Wow, did you score some treasures! I can’t wait to see a lot of these items put to use in your grad party post. Loved the extra photos you included – the climbing spider man was too funny. As for owning a vintage truck, I have my hopes on finding the perfect flower power VW Bus to claim as the Frugalistamobile. Thanks for the awesome junking adventure tips, Lora!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh,there’s plenty of yucky stuff I drive by, but I like to hang around the older neighborhoods where the older people think their stuff from the 40’s and 50’s is “old junk” like my grandma used to call it! and yes, I’ll be doing some grad party prep posts here soon!


    1. Yes, homeonthecorner, it’s pretty awesome that several Mpls suburbs do this every spring or fall. I also know of some smaller, outlying towns that also do it. It’s great to easily get rid of unwanted items & great to find items you “need”!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great junking tips! Thanks for sharing these with us! 🙂

    I’d like to invite you to share this at the Farmhouse Friday link party, which is live right now! 🙂 When you link up, I will share it with a direct link back to your post on all my social media, including on the DIY Farmhouse Style Facebook group, which at this writing has 154k+ members. I hope to see you there! 🙂

    Michelle @ The Painted Hinge


  3. goodness, you and I couldn’t go junking together, our tastes are TOO similar. First time here. The reminder to be wary is so tough because we all want to think the best of people. I think of some of the foolish situations I’ve been in and THANK my guardian angel. Sad, but true.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You forgot the number one rule! When in doubt, take it! You can always put it on your curb when you come to your senses!


    1. You’re totally right, Lisa! Grab first, think later! I did mention in the end that you can always burn it, scrap it or like you said…put it on your own curb! Thanks for the comment!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s