How I collect (hoard?) JUNK – a show and tell tour

There are three things for certain in life. Death, taxes and me finding more new junk that my house cannot hold. 🙂 

… continued…

(photo heavy post on what kind of junk I pick up)

I’m always stuffing my poor truck to the brim.  It’s abit of an addiction in a way. My eyes scan the sides of the road like I’m some super hero that will xray it in the back of the truck upon will. (I wish!) Whether it be from the curb, dump or a thrift store, my eyes are always watchful for something that feels like it has potential.

Not everything I pick up is a keeper. Sometimes I add it to my next dump run, and many times the item may land on my own curb. (sorry neighbours!)  But if something is free and spoke to me, it comes home. Even if temporary.

“Oohhh.. you must be one of THOSE HOARDERS.” many suggest when they see me cramming some big ‘ol bent up pipe in the back of my truck that sticks out 10 feet too long. (12 maybe) But I merely rise above the nay sayers, shake my head in that knowing matter a fact way and comment, “It isn’t called hoarding if you use it you know.”

Yes, that was sort of defensive for all the right reasons. Because I do indeed hoard junk I think I’ll use. And then every now and then, it’s time for my grand year end clearance, getting tired of the clutter only to ditch it again if I don’t use it. But I usually do. Honest! Mostly.

Here’s a tour of some of my more recent hoards runs. And what goes through my mind.

I fell in love with that headboard! For what, I don’t yet know. It would make a sweet chalkboard for certain. Amazing lines. Or I might make something to sell because after I got it home, while I loved it, it wasn’t my own personal style.

May I please have a barn to store #1 my style and #2 other’s styles that I could sell or decorate other homes with? That is a very nice future dream.

This subliminal message FREAKED. ME. OUT.  More like ‘ews’ to that! Wait.. this is my brother in law’s name… right. I think it needs to go to WES.

Like Wes wants this… what would Wes need to label with big fat black letters?! Nevermind, I’ll think of something. But I’m not sewing! SWE it is.

Letters are cool. Even by themselves somewhere.

This wooden case is pretty cool. Anyone know what it is/was?

It has a drawer and the lid was built to hold something. I’d bet it was something AH MAZING!

And then maybe it was just a plain ‘ol toolbox.

No matter. Boxes intact generally make it back to my place. They’re great for storing things in.

You never know where you can add some predrilled pieces of rusty metal to bling something up.  (yes, rust is bling) Did I mention predrilled? And rusty?

Speaking of rust, I love rusty old tools. For what I don’t know yet. Maybe a wind chime?

Inside the pickle jar resides 4 rubber castors. They’re perfect for maybe the bottom of a trunk or drawer. They’re really tiny which is unusual. And house numbers are just mandatory.

I really want a wall of clip boards in my downstairs office and some of these are weathered to perfection.

Yes, clipboards can be weathered. I have proof!

Nice, huh? I don’t even mind the water stains. That’s some great old world patina, right?

Wouldn’t these partial pillars make great pedestals for something?

And a Souvenir of Holland vintage cup and saucer. It’s not my normal grab and run item but this one was rather special. I just haven’t figured out for what yet. But I will!

A brand new Gap jacket I adore (it’s so warm!) and a rusty old shovel I’ll use in the garden to hold some plants up.

The sock forms looked really old but who knows. And speaking of wind chimes, would you believe I found a ready made spoon one?! It sounds glorious! I just need to make it cooler.

The wheel came home for the patina. And I lied about the one pipe. It was three. Close enough.

Ok ok… I may have to prove that I CAN make some of this look like it wasn’t dug out of a ditch. (I didn’t anyway)

 I think I just heard a collective sigh…

The window frame needed a colour coordinated BFF.

And now I have to find space for it all in my staging storage area.

Or better yet, just get BUSY and make stuff.

Before it looks like this again. 🙂

Tell me about your collecting habits. 
Do you carefully screen must haves or bring it home and deal with it later?

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63 thoughts on “How I collect (hoard?) JUNK – a show and tell tour

  1. I started out just being attracted to a piece and dealing with it later, until I ran out of room in our small rental storage, now I carefully screen and must know what it will be used for….always to sell! I must admit though a few things change destiny once home, as a better brainstorm sets in.

  2. I too have difficulty differentiating between “collecting” and “hoarding”. Fortunately or unfortunately our old farm has OUTBUILDINGS! Each stocked with “maybe someday-s”. Hubby has put the kabosh on impulse purchases. If he sees me eyeing something lovingly he asks “what are you going to do with it?” If I can’t answer in 15 seconds, I can’t get it. 🙁 Party pooper. A necessary evil however.

    • Oh, I have one of those guys too.
      Lately he has also started asking, and where are you going to put it.

      I swear when we met up he had a lot more imagination.

  3. I am a haorder too! I can’t stop looking at something and seeing it transformed into something else!I bring it home and store it until the creativity flows to use best piece. I have now been given a certain area in the man cave but hear moaning everytime I bring, slavage something and enter the…BUT when I make something using a great piece he tells me it looks great. My home and yard is filled with made things from found, salvaged, given, pieces…Long Live Hoarding!

  4. If you saw my home, you would definitely know I grab it and deal with it later…or not at all! I have so much stuff and lots of collections of things. I do make things and sell them, though these days Im time deprived, so it is getting a bit overwhelming.
    When I go out, I have to wear my blinkers, so as not to want to jump out of the car as fast as possible, and load what I can into my car! Thats not a sign of hoarding is it,lol?

    • Susan, my Dad made one of those in the 50’s (in Wood Shop in school, I think) and it holds treasured hand tools in his basement office. As a kid I always thought of it as sort of a magic place where he’d find all kinds of things for fixing things around the house. Love yours painted white!

      Donna, that flat panel in the front is perfectly made to hold hand saws.


  5. I saw some wooden pallets yesterday when we were out doing errands and told DH that you would love those. We didn’t take them, as we’ve already got too much ‘stuff/junk’ stashed around here that we are dealing with. We have LOTS of rusty items, some for future use, and some are heading out to the junk yard to get cash for.

    You don’t always know ‘how’ something will be used, but there is so much potential in any given piece of junk.

    Happy Junkin’ and Creatin’ ~ FlowerLady

  6. I fully support all of that stuff coming home! I answered a Freecycle ad for free rusty junk and my husband thought I was nuts! But I scored a rusty tractor seat and top part of a rake! Junk hoarders really must support each other!

  7. I just deal with it later because I never know what I will do next. Inspiration will strike, just never know when! For every piece of junk, there is a purpose just waiting to be found.

  8. In my formal living room (which is only used about three times a year) are six crib head and foot boards with the original fifties decals to make chalkboards, nine assorted tables waiting to be painted and distressed, several crates, and innumerable baskets that need to be given some treatment to make them interesting, various smalls, two cats, and two dogs. (The “regular” furniture is somewhere in there, too!) I do have a resell booth so I am able to use things for awhile then sell. I know I am not a hoarder because I can let things go. My neighbors know I can upcycle just about anything and often just add rusty stuff to my side yard where I hide outside things. I have a similar toolbox, and the man who had used it said it was his fence mending box.
    Check out my blog if you need reassurance that you are actually very neat!

    Excuse me now – it is Tuesday and Habitat is fixing to put out the new junk!

  9. Your box looks similar to a tool chest my hubby has. The lid is a space for a large hand saw. The blade would fit in the slot in the middle, and the handle would fit around that angled wood block. Regardless, it is a cool box! I love finding stuff on the side of the road, and then doing somethin with it and making money on it. 🙂 Have fun hoarding!

  10. I could do this so easily… but I have NO room… I am drawn to anything free… whether I need it or not and there are no limits to my taste. I believe anything can be turned into something I love!! I envy your finds…up here in Maine the good stuff is few and far between..>I think it has to do with Mainer’s way of never getting rid of anything… Just in Case I might need it someday…So finding the good stuff can be difficult.

  11. Love all your finds, and I’m laughing because my studio looks very much like yours right now…but worse. What can I say, Friday and Saturday were amazing junking days! But I’m not a hoarder…I’ve allready got the dated wood stuff painted in candy colors and ready to sell, and will do something with the 30 some bottles today. Gotta make room for this week’s haul, afterall!

  12. I go through periods of collecting then having panic attacks over the clutter. Then back to collecting- am I nuts? Love your no-sew musings- maybe you can find an “n” and make a compass.

  13. I am the same way.I see things and thing oohh that would make a great(fill in the blank).I just have a closet right now with my things.But I am working on a place for my stuff.Just like you I need to keep my inspirational finds organized.

  14. Well, Funky Junk Lady. You’ve gone and done it again! Totally inspired me! I feel so much better about myself when I read your posts because then I know there’s strength in the numbers of CRAZY! But it’s a wonderful crazy, isn’t it? I too cannot pass up a good curbside castoff. My 14 year old son pretends on the outside (I think just for effect) that he hates my junk hauling addiction, but secretly, I think he loves the chance to participate in the all too frequent impromptu junk raiding heists with his mom!I’ve already dubbed this upcoming summer of 2012 the “summer of doors” because that’s been my most recent collecting rage-doors of all sorts! The hubs however will not lend a hand to the hauling I do since he dreads the garage space filling up with all of my junk pieces that shout potential! I too wish we lived closer so I could have a buddy in junk to join forces with. It’d be a heck of a lot more fun with company! Thanks for the continued inspiration! Keep it coming!

  15. Great post! I love getting a look into your “collecting” mindset! For me, in order to keep from collecting too much, I try to go to the flea market or thrift store with a specific item(s) in mind. However, you never know when you are going to find something lovely, so I try to extend grace to myself and go ahead and grab a “must have”–even if it wasn’t on my list! And I am a total sucker for old, wood chairs. Seriously. My family is about to stage an intervention…;)

  16. I can relate to the addiction idea. I find a i get a real rush when I drive around our neighborhood on bulk pickup day. It is such a treasure hunt… my husband thinks i’m nuts, but half our furniture was found this way. Love, love your inspiration!

  17. It’s a good thing you live on the opposite side of the north country! I would be your enabler and if I couldn’t talk you into getting something, then I’d be taking it. Of course, my hubby is bad enough. He’s a plumber and junker too -even though his finished-project tastes are different than mine. He just brought me home over a dozen galvanized panels from a job they did. There was more, but I’m sure I had more than I’ll use.

    Our property has housed some amazing rusty finds too. Rusty gears & blades and interesting things from an old saw mill that used to be here. Yes, the saw too. I had a hard time parting with it, but it had to go. I need more motivation than anything else. The internet has provided me with puh-lenty of inspiration, so I can’t use that as an excuse.

  18. I love hearing what you think of each piece as you find it.

    I am pretty picky about bringing things home. I only make for myself & occasionally as gifts so I’m hard on myself so I won’t drown in stuff. Usually, I have something in mind I want to do then I go look for something that will work to make it.

    I like silverware wind chimes. I saw one this weekend that was adorable. It was an old rusted enamelware plate with flattened forks & spoons hanging from the bottle vertically. Then halfway down the forks/spoons a butter knife was hung horizontally so the knife clacked against all of the spoons & forks when the wind blew. The plate was hung upright, as if it were hanging on a wall with a hole drilled in the top to hang & holes drilled along the bottom for the silverware. They also had glass beads on the wires holding the silverware to add sparkle. I’ll be looking for stuff to make this one!

  19. There are times that I pine for my single days when my house looked exactly the way I wanted it to (more girly) and I could bring home whatever I wanted. I have a husband that has one of those garages that you could eat off the floor in. I’ve got a few things squirrelled away in my garden shed, but sheesh, he’s hard on a girl’s junkin’ spirit!

  20. I too have more stuff than time or inspiration! I was lucky enough to marry into a sawmill and a huge old barn stuffed to the rafters, plus there’s all my “finds”… I spend way too much time on Pinterest trying to figure out what to do with it all 😛

  21. OMG! this was a fun post. i think you speak to all of us with the same affliction.

    i do exactly the same thing, i only wish we had heavy pick up days in our neighborhood.
    our local dump has actually built a small area at the dump, where they sell usable ‘stuff’ like doors, sinks, tile, tubs, windows, bbqs, lumber etc.
    they also have a section that looks like a huge thrift store where you can buy books, dishes, chairs etc. of course everything is really cheap. i am really grateful that they do this, instead of just burying it. everybody wins.

    just wanted to ask you . . . do you find all this kool stuff on the side of the road? or is this stuff a mixture of thrift, garage sales, and side of the road stuff?
    either way, very excellent.

  22. Can we have an AMEN here?!? Nothing better than a pile of “junk-with-possibilities”! Heck I even salvaged a dead tree that a nursery worker was putting into their dumpster because the top looked like an umbrella spine. Cut half the branches off one side, planted that dead tree against my house in a planting bed, and tied colorful little pieces of cloth on all the other branches to make a wish tree. Neighbors probably through I was crazy but the birds loved it!

  23. toooooo funny girlie – I was just drafting a posting THIS morning that is eerily similar. Rather than hoarding (I call it ‘collecting’ or ‘curating’ (doesn’t that sound better?) I’ll be adding some pics and putting my post out in the next few days……and in the meantime….continuing to EDIT my collections! a junking girl has to do what a junking girl has to do! xo

  24. The cup & saucer could be drilled, screwed onto a stick and put in the garden to hold birdseed! Here’s what I’m doing with my #1’s (my styles) – building a guest cottage out back for overnight guests, decorated with great stuff that doesn’t suit my formal house’s style (cottage & farm stuff!). My #2’s (others’ styles) are going to the garage to be worked on for selling at our future Farm Store! Love your “picked” JUNK!

  25. I’m just like you and believe that just about everything “junk” has the potential to become somthing great. I never pass up a great deal, something I just love or something that has potentail. Love all your recent finds.

  26. I have WAY TOO MUCH – very cool kitsch religious art. Old chipped statues, icons, etc. My kids almost threw me out when I brought home an anointing kit. Used.

  27. Oh oh oh, pick me, pick me!!!
    I only know what the big wooden. Oc thingy is. Auss I bought one at an Estate sale this weekend for $2! The guy who grew up in the house was there (weird. Arrington off his stuff!) anyway it is a carpenters tool box! Hand made. Mine is white (ok, REALLY dirty white). It has the coolest leather handle. I will send you a pic, too funny! I am trying to figure out if I can refit it into something else,

  28. Prob. one of the weirdest things I brought home was a broom that I found in someone’s garbage can in front of their house (on collection day) while I was out doing my walking. Hey, that broom was better than the one I had to sweep out our garage so why not. Funny thing is, I wasn’t too close to my house, so had to walk with that broom (and not ride it!) all the way back home. Yes, there were a couple of times I had to explain.

  29. I need that big blue box for my back porch, put it on the side of the road & I will drive by…. ok?

    My junk storage facility is limited ( my husband calls it HIS barn) because cattle cubes & farm tools have to be stored & then there is that “REAL” work going on in there. I may have to build my own barn.

  30. Love your finds, yes that is a toolbox with place(s) in the lid for the saw blade(s) to fit into. My immediate thought with your letters was the same idea as SheilaG suggested. I pictured a painted or cut out large N with an arrow and the EWS around it to make a compass… on barn board or pallet wood and distressed up of course.
    I am going to keep this post in mind when my husband rolls his eyes at my few finds, just to show him that some women are “worse” than me, LOL!

  31. oh, Donna. This is so weird. My post for today is so similar to yours. . . (on a much smaller scale of course). I SWEAR I wrote mine 6 hours ago and I just read yours now! Also, I COVET that blue “tool box” you got. Most of my pictures from today are boxes. . . I even watermarked one “breida with a box” instead of “breida with a b.” ALSO, I recently pinned a clipboard display idea. . . you know what they say about great minds. . .

  32. I’m a picky hoarder. It’s gotta have character to come home with me, but there are times I pick up stuff and I know it doesn’t fit my style, but it’s just too nice to go to the dump. These things I give to my junkin’ friends who are usually pretty happy to get the stuff. Sometimes it may take me years to put a junk find to use, but when I finally use it, I’m always pleased that I kept the stuff. Laura

  33. Shopping at “Curbie’s” is fun isn’t it? The things people throw away is unbelieveable.
    Take those sock stretchers, they would make
    great note holders. Love that wooden blue
    box. Great finds I’d say!!!

  34. Awesome post! I tend to bring home what I like, but when my little room gets too full I have to start processing it somehow – making things, organizing etc – and not bring much new stuff for awhile. That is the rhythm my partner can handle, and it works for me as well. It keeps things from getting WAY out of control…


  35. I love,the post. Yes some of my fellow vendors of the 90 located at Moore and Garrett in lil ol Belton Tx. Sometime think the same,border line hoarders or the original green life style…reducing the size of landfills,one repurposed item at a time

    I like so many of the things you make,need to find some old pallets my self

  36. Collecting or Hoarding? I watch Hoarders every other week or so. My husband usually asks if I am trying to make myself feel better. In other words, I’m not as bad as THOSE people! I consider it treasuring hunting, curating and sending forward to live into the next generation. And yes, I have shelves in my basement that look just like those. Soul Sisters.

  37. I have the same problem but am on a “clean out” phase right now. I think all the junk collecting just reveals incredible optimism as opposed to giving up and throwing it out… at least that is what I tell my husband. I like your blog format change where you can read the posts in full as opposed to the other way… thanks!

  38. Absolutely LOVE your blog! Found on pinterest & I’m loving reading thru… I’m wondering tho, what you mean by a wall of clipboards? Literally? w/ the clip on the board? That could be cool! heheheee
    I have several rusted wrenches that my dad gave me, which I’ll now make a wind chime out of, but I also have several other rusted tools I’m trying to find uses for… I’m sure I’ll think of something…
    Thanks for all the hard work you put into this blog & for sharing all the incredibly extraordinary ideas!!! LOVE your blog!!! =)

  39. I find it quite soothing to know there will never be a shortage of junk to collect, rusty objects to display or salvage heaps to sort through. It’s wonderful to find something that someone else found no value in, bring it home and make it yours…especially the “pre-drilled and rusty” junk! pure added value there for sure 🙂
    I’m a “bring it home and deal with it later gal”…and I have the overstuffed garage to prove it. Hubby uttered a wretched sentence the other day, he said that I may have too much stuff, this he shared as I was trying to find the “sweet spot” for a piece of junk. I politely asked him to leave the room until he could change his attitude, after all he is usually the one right there along side me, pulling junk out of dumpsters or neighborhood curbsides and loading all of the finds into the back of his truck or my SUV.

  40. I love collecting, my friends say I can find something any where! As for the esw letters, I would love to see something South, East, West and of course something funky for North

  41. Oh I am all gut reaction. I see something and know I will regret not picking it up.
    Since finding all these wonderful creative re-use blogs I think I have gotten worse.

    This time of year each city and village around me does a community yard sale day.
    I love driving around at the end of day checking out the curb and scrounging through free boxes. I do miss my old pick up truck, but being without does limit my “hoarding” somewhat.

  42. Loved this post and loved reading all the comments too…wish I could get hubs to read it. We aren’t hoarders we’re just building our ‘creativity stash’.

    As for me, usually I’m looking for a piece to do something specific in a current project but end up coming home with other things that sparked a creative idea or two. Mine have to live in a shopping cart on the patio, though. (Which was duly purchased at a thrift store and is awaiting it’s pink makeover sometime in the future.) Your beautifully staged wall is awesome and so inspiring! Thanks for sharing it.

  43. I prefer the collector/upcycler terms myself. I admit it could develop into a hoarding problem for me, if I’m not careful. I just love finding things and figuring out how to make them into something useful, fun, and pretty!

  44. We collect lots of junk! Our little house is busting at the seems with furniture and stuff that we couldn’t pass up. We have lots of other junk stashed in the shed and “out back”! You can’t pass up something with potential!

  45. I really need a new car and I think it would be great to put it in the garage so I’ve been pretty picky about my junk lately. But I just posted a “cool” vintage flatware windchime. So now I’m on constant lookout for old silver plated flatware. I have a few more gifts to make…
    Your junk is always cool!

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