There are so many projects I have in mind that I want to share with you, gentle readers.
I plan to build my own sofa, redecorate our living room and dining room spaces, fashion a mirror for our master bedroom, build a new coffee table, replace the glass table top to our outdoor dining set that broke recently and create a "driveway" for the kids Cozy Coupe car beside their playhouse in the backyard.
But here's the thing. Even though doing all these projects myself will save me tons of money over buying them pre-made (and give me a strong sense of pride in the completed project that I wouldn't get from buying an item) they all call for materials that I don't readily have on hand. Like plywood, 2x4's, bricks ect. And those supplies are expensive. So expensive that I have not yet been able to start any of the above projects. Even though a lot of these projects would only cost about $20-$50 to complete (minus the sofa, that's a $400-$500 project since I plan to build a six seat sectional) our budget is too tight right now as we look ahead at some upcoming expenses during the summer.
Then I thought about the materials I was needing, and I realized that I did not need a lot of anything. In fact I needed about the same amount of bricks and wood that someone else might have left over from a project. Left over pieces they might see as garbage since they cannot use them.
I could probably get a lot of what I needed for free if I put a little energy into finding it.
So far I am still on the hunt for many things. But gentle readers, I just want you to know that there are some great resources out there!
**Very important**: When dealing with free items it is crucial that you are courteous and polite!
I have offered free items many many times and am often frustrated that some people did not show for arranged pick ups, do not notify me that they are not coming, or are rude because they feel entitled to my free item simply because it is free. A few years ago this behavior was so frustrating that I started asking token sums of money for things I had planned to give away ($2-$5) to encourage people to see value in what I was offering.
If we want people to continue to offer free items we must approach the offer with a grateful heart, not an entitled one.
I use kijiji.com and there is craigslist.com as well. Just type "free" into the search bar and you may be shocked at what you can find. Of course you will need to act quickly as you're not the only one hunting out free items :) If the item you are seeking out is not listed as free, try posting a wanted ad. Someone may have 200 bricks in their shed they had long forgotten about until they saw your wanted post.
Freecycle.com is a great site too- with only Free offers. Fewer people know about freecycle (compared to kijiji) so fewer people use it. As a result it may take you a bit longer to find what you need, but since it is a site committed to helping our neighbors its a really awesome resource!
I use frugalmommy.org a ton to get items I need (both for DIY projects and items for the kids) and to give items that we don't use and need clearing out. This is one of my favourite sites and I highly recommend it.
But mostly I just get the word out. I talk to people I know and tell them I am looking for plywood (which I then got delivered to my front door the next day because someone had some that was to dirty to use for new construction clients, but only had boot marks on it so I was happy happy happy to have it!), or glass jars or any other project material I need. I post on social networking sites and tell friends in person. Often times I get hints about where something was last seen, rather than free door front delivery. But that information is just as useful to me. I cannot be everywhere and when people know I am looking for something most of the time they are willing to be my eyes around the region.
Fingers crossed, gentle readers, that I can get my hands on a few free supplies this weekend and will be sharing with you an new DIY project come Monday!