I am a married mother of 2 girls and I live in Perth. We emmigrated from the UK in 2011. I am a freelance writer and a Pet Carer and feel very lucky to do something I really love www.petfriends.net.au
Published July 24th 2016
A new hobby to try
Being from England, roadside/verge/bulk collection isn't something that we are familiar with. If we have any household or garden rubbish that will not fit in our normal weekly bins, we have council rubbish tips that we can take it to, and use as many times as you need to. So when we moved to Perth, this was something we didn't understand. We couldn't work out why there was garden rubbish, furniture, beds etc on the verge at different times of the year.
When we understood what it was all about, we then had to get our heads around the people that would go round with trailers and vans collecting the stuff people had put out! We really struggled with this concept for a few years. When it was our roadside collection, we would play a game to see how long things would sit outside our house or our neighbour's houses in our street. It would be a huge source of entertainment and it was great fun.
So this year, much to my family's horror, I jumped on the bandwagon! I saw a fabulous coffee table at the side of the road on the way home from work one day. I stopped, saw the potential it had, and squeezed it into my small car. I managed to get it in the garage and put things on it so it blended with everything else in there and it was quite a few days before my husband noticed it. When he asked where I got it from, he rolled his eyes! The idea of re-using furniture that someone else has thrown away is appealing to me in our throw away society. We should all look to recycle more.
So I set about sanding the coffee table top. I blended the sharp corners into more rounded corners, waxed and buffed the top and it was finished! I didn't touch the rest of the table as it looked good as it was, it was what everyone talks about as 'shabby chic'.
I was really pleased with the result and this has started a new hobby for me. I collect other people's 'rubbish' and re-purpose or up-cycle it. I have a 'new dining table and 8 chairs, 2 'new' bedside tables, an old coffee table re-purposed into an ottoman, 2 'new' coffee tables, a buffet, the list is getting rather long! Here are some of those projects I have done this year, all free and all still used in my house.
Before as a dining table picked up from the roadside
If you want to be a serious 'Roadsider', you can find out on each shire's website when their bulk collections are and casually drive that way and see what treasures you can find. Gumtree is another source to find these projects, as are the Buy, Sell Swap Facebook pages. It is enormously rewarding when you finish a project, particularly when the whole thing cost you $0.00! You have to have some form of vision and be able to see the potential in items, but then you can let your imagination run wild. If you need some inspiration, look on Pinterest and search for up-cycled furniture or re-purposed furniture.
At the end of the project, you will have a fabulous usable item, had an enjoyable time, have enormous satisfaction and have a new hobby!
Just to be a total wet blanket and in the interests of accuracy, this is technically stealing and illegal.
Once an item is on the verge it belongs to the council or shire. The owner has deemed to have ceeded all rights to it, so they can't give permission, and the councils never give permission for reasons of public policy.
Scavenging on rubbish dumps is also illegal in Australia, while common and legal in Europe.
Everyone does it, but it is still an actual crime.
Ages ago, I acquired a chair, but after it had been indoors for a while, the smell made me think perhaps someone had died in it. The smell has worn off.
Recently I put out somethings myself, but it must have looked a bit impoverished, because the pile seemed to grow as other people added to it. Perhaps I'll try to find more stuff for the next time.