A while back I was trying to sell a desk that wouldn't fit in a new place I was moving, This desk was heavy and about 5ft long with a 'topper' that was screwed into the desk back. The topper was heavy as well. I had a few people who stopped by to see it, but no one bought it. Finally a guy bought it but didn't want the top part.

I didn't really care, I just wanted to get rid of it and have it used by someone else. However I was stuck with the top part and didn't know what do to with it... I eventually did find something useful for it.

It is my catch all for when I walk through the door, kind of an entry way do-hicky-thingamajig(official name), that I pile books on, kick my shoes off under and in the upper right side, is a kleenex box full of doggy bags to use as I take the dog out for a walk

In another way I was able to scavenge a couple items from the trash to fix a mistake I made. We had bought a tall table with bar height chairs and after having the table for a few months, came to the conclusion that we didn't care much for it, but it was beyond the time-frame to replace it. We knew we would have to live with it and cutting down the legs of the table and the chairs was out of the question.

A couple days ago someone tossed out the exact same table that we had, but the shorter version! We grabbed the legs, used our own table top and used the chairs they had tossed out. We left our long legs and chairs with the other table top. It is beautiful and we like sitting at it again. Plus, we didn't have to pay a dime to fix our mistake.
We noticed the other table was gone by morning, which means what one couple gave up to the trash, made two homes happy!

Update: Reader Jeremy sent the following pictures and had this to say, "My wife and I bought this sidetable/hutch thing at the Salvation Army for $50 for both.
I took off the sliding glass from the top piece, painted it white and made into a bookcase.
For the bottom half, took off the legs to get it lower to be used as a TV stand. And then sanded and stained it.
$50 plus about $40 in supplies and we have 2 pieces of furniture."
Well done! Glad to share it with the readers!

Have you ever reused something in a different way than it's original intention? 
How about finding items that "fixed" a mistake?
Leave your comments or email me your story and picture and I'll put it up


  1. Innahouse // Friday, November 12, 2010 9:57:00 PM  

    Who woulda guessed that someone in the same complex would be discarding the exact same table & chairs in the shorter version....and in decent condition to use!

    Entryway do-hicky-thingamajig is cool, too! Great job at repurposing!

  2. Jerry // Saturday, November 13, 2010 3:41:00 AM  

    I love this post! And, we've been doing this for years and I'm glad to see others do it, too. It definitely leads to less consumerism and is insurance for your budget when you get re-purpose things for different uses. Good for you!

  3. Debt Free Daniel // Sunday, November 14, 2010 1:09:00 PM  

    Yes, we do, though it needs a little repair but still the furniture is in good condition and still fit to use.

  4. Free Stuff // Sunday, November 14, 2010 3:25:00 PM  

    Great Article!

  5. Jill // Wednesday, November 17, 2010 10:25:00 AM  

    Great article! I do this sort of thing all the time...because I'm a cheap skate. I got great DVD shelves off the street infront of a photography shop. They smelled of chemicals but a good scrub with borax and some airing time on the porch fixed that. I use an old ammo box (WW1 I think) as my TV stand and it also stores extra blankets.

    When I no longer want something or don't use it I often leave it at the local dumpsters. This part of Idaho has public dumpsters. Any decent furniture or clothing is generally left beside the dumpsters for easier scavenging. I've gotten TVs, a dresser, chairs, lawn furniture, and more there as well as all the plant pots, building materials and gardening tools I need.