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Thrift shops and Permaculture  RSS feed

 
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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Do any of you folks look for permie-useful stuff in thrift shops?  I do most of my shopping there  , so I always keep an eye out.

The local Goodwill here is getting higher in its prices all the time.  The only time you get a real deal is when the pricers don't know what something is.  So, I was shocked to see a whole bundle of Reemay-type floating row cover in it's original sealed bag. It might have been because it was mismarked as being 6"x100'.  Well, I know that stuff, and the package was too big for those dimensions.  Yep! It was 6 FEET by 100 feet.

If you do any seed starting indoors, thrift shops can have a lot of useful containers, although you'll have to drill or burn drainage holes in the bottom.

Bedsheets aren't too pricey, and they can make good emergency sun shades for lettuce, cover the couch from dog and cat hair, etc. 

Sometimes (esp winter) they will have a bundle of gallon pots for cheap.  I plant extras of anything in them, and either donate them to a local plant sale for Feline Friends Cat Rescue, or trade them for something else.  Plant people are really into trading, I've found.

I didn't get to them fast enough, but a woman in line ahead of me had about six large old-fashioned lampshades that were covered with white fabric.  Chatting, she told me that she was going to put them around her sweet peppers. The thin white fabric would let sunlight through, cut the wind, increase the ambient moisture around the plant (they're tropical, after all).  I thought that was a great idea, but haven't seen anything suitable since.

Sue
 
steward
Posts: 25175
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I keep a list of stuff to look for at thrift stores and yard sales. 

I'm currently wearing my thrift shop $1 t-shirt. 

I found one of my best cast iron skillets at a yard sale for a buck.  A wagner with a glassy cooking surface.  I'm not sure if you can count cast iron cookware as "permaculture", but it

Canning gear is always good to find.

 
Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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I discovered one of the best sources for free stuff when I was living in Las Vegas for a few years.  Vegas is a city surrounded by 200 miles of sand in every direction.  People and contractors use the desert like the ocean, and dump everything conceivable there.  The clients of the contractors have already paid for the materials, so the contractors aren't losing anything by dumping perfectly good, new stuff.

I've seen 1-gallon to 5-gallon black plastic pots, plant flats, 4" pots by the thousands, sheets of plywood, 2x4s, a whole box of new plastic pvc pipe fittings, fish nets (in the desert), tarps, boxes of screws and nails, flagstone, bricks of all kinds, mechanically sliced and polished rocks, rolls of vinyl flooring, tons of furniture, clothing, and lots of other stuff.

My brother (A+++ Champion Scrounger) found a bunch of fresh plants that some contractor had dumped, and was picking up plastic flats and loading them with 4" pots of flowering pansies when a cop car pulled up.  The cop got out and said it was against the law to dump trash out here.  My brother said he was collecting some of these plants that had been dumped.  The cop looked at what he had collected, and said his wife would go crazy if she saw this.  My brother waved toward his truck and said to take some of the flats, and helped him load the trunk of his patrol car!

I try not to overdo it, but if I know someone is looking for something, I'll buy it at a thrift shop or yard sale and can often trade it for something I can use.

Sue
 
paul wheaton
steward
Posts: 25175
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Five gallon plastic buckets and 55 gallon plastic barrels can be had from some food handling joints.  For free.  I seem to find uses all the time.  I wish I had more.

I've heard of getting fish nets for free.  I would think that this is something that if you had mountains of it around, uses would come up all the time.



 
Posts: 2603
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I shop for all my clothes at goodwill and secondhand shops and I always make it a point to wander down each section and just see what they have. I always have some project that i'm working out the kinks on (which usually means figuring out what I could possibly use as a part of it and get for cheap or free). My favorite garden tool, my dust buster, aka bug sucker,  was 5$ in the box at a good will store. I have seen everything from hoses to weed barrier to tarps. I also get freecycle notices. I have scored rolls of chain link and four 6' gates, lumber etc.... I also use the barter section of craigs list. recently traded a stock tank for a dog run to use as a chicken pen. still looking to trade an older model circular saw and jig saw for another dog run. I occasionally clean out forclosed homes and once packed a large roll off dumpster tight and filled my 16' trailer twice with stuff that was mostly usable and valuable out of a home and had to trash it only had two days to clean the house so I didn't have much choice. I managed to get some freecyclers to come out and take a few things but there just wasn't time, I took all the lumber, a few antiques, tools, things that were of immediate value to me and a freind that helped took whatever he wanted but the rest had to go asap.  ops:
 
Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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A person can never have too many 5-gallon buckets!  The uses for them just keeps multiplying!

Leah, how do you get a job cleaning out repo houses?

I've heard of people who somehow get notices (3 or 4 times a year) when those self-store units have sales of contents, when the people don't pay their storage bills.  One guy said they gather a group of interested people, take them on a 'tour' of the various units (you can't usually pick through, though), and then they bid right there on the spot. He said the average unit contents sent for around $100 (15 yrs ago), although some go for more, depending on visible contents, like power tools, Troy-bilt rototillers, etc.  He said one woman bid $75 on a 5x15' unit that was suspected to be mostly boxes and bags of fabric.  Hidden in the back (out of sight) were two commercial sewing machines, a commercial serger, two expensive racing bicycles, and some other stuff, all for $75.  I wonder how you get on the notification lists?

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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An old client of mine (I Taught her kids riding lessons for many years) is a real estate agent and she has hooked me up with some banks when she took on some foreclosed homes that needed cleaning. apparently they sometimes have a tough time finding anyone to do it. You never know what you'll get  though, think full refrigerators and freezers sitting for  months with no electricity and people who just left their dogs locked in a room not letting them out to do their business. I worked up a bid sheet with hazard pay and pain in the a** fees to bump up the bid for that sort of thing. The housing crunch is leaving us alone but maybe where you are at it would pay to get and llc and run an ad, give a card to realestate agents and to mortgage agents at banks you could probably drum up some business if you want. all  you need is a truck and trailer, a strong stomach and back and a few cleaning supplies.
 
Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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Thanks for the tips!

I lived next door to a meth lab for three years, so I know what people can do.  These idiots were too stupid to have the sense to stick a  bucket under a rain gutter downspout after the water was turned off, and after the toilet filled up, they just squatted in the corners... and they were sleeping there!

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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lovely. I was warned of the signs of a meth lab and told that if I encounter one to leave and contact the bank (or client).I know what its like to livenext to idiot. Some guy that used to live next door came home one night with a chopper and cops chasing him, crashed through his two fences and two of mine then crashed into a tree in my backyard. They had been chasing him for 30 miles and apparently this was their opportunity to nab a big meth "cook" in the area. The people who own the place next door have been a little more careful of who gets to live with them after that guy and a few others that proved serious trouble. Thank goodness. for a while a different guy had it out for my husband and wanted to fight him. thought he "had problem with mehicans" and then there is the guy that would get wasted and scream at people in front of my house. been pretty quiet this summer, its kinda nice!
 
                          
Posts: 37
Location: Western Washington
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I bought a ShopVac yesterday at a new thrift store for five bucks!

I try very, very hard to limit my use of chemicals but I hate flies!  And I don't have screens on my windows nor do I have screen doors.  So, I get flies and, I'm sorry to admit, I spray them.  It's either that or have them dive-bombing me at night or landing in my food as it cooks.

But, today, I'm going to whip out my "new" ShopVac and spend some time sucking up flies.  Yay!

I love thrift stores, garage sales, etc.  If I can buy it used (and in decent shape - not necessarily even perfect), I won't buy it new.  Clothes, books, cars, kitchen items, appliances, furniture.........Part of it is out of financial necessity but I have a feeling my buying habits wouldn't change much even if my financial situation did.

Unfortunately, the Freecycle group for my immediate area disbanded some time ago.  I do get notices for the counties immediately to the north and to the south of me but it's hard to justify a 100-mile-round-trip for an item worth a few bucks.

There is another group I belong to called 2Good2Toss:

http://www.2good2toss.com

This isn't for items limited to free, although you can request free items, as well as give away free items, but is for items up to $99.00.  I have made several connections for items on this site (straw, my food dehydrator, my wonderful dishwasher which was a life saver after I got hurt on the job and lost the use of a hand).

Unfortunately, this site may be limited to Washington State and may not be available in all counties.  I recommend looking to see if there is at least something similar in your area.


 
Leah Sattler
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Cinebar wrote:
I bought a ShopVac yesterday at a new thrift store for five bucks!

I try very, very hard to limit my use of chemicals but I hate flies!  And I don't have screens on my windows nor do I have screen doors.  So, I get flies and, I'm sorry to admit, I spray them.  It's either that or have them dive-bombing me at night or landing in my food as it cooks.





gosh darn flies! fly traps are an easy, passive way to kill 'em without spraying. they fly in and can't get out and die die die i love my little second hand dust buster!
 
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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Fry oil jugs are pretty useful, if a little flimsy.  Asian restaurants seem to be a particularly good source for them.

 
                              
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Wish I could hook up to those type of cleaning jobs. But I dont have a car, so unless I could find a partner with a car, I'm out of luck.  And haveing cleaning experience in everything from private homes, to motel/hotel rooms, to school rooms, to offices, I think I'm good to go on experience.

Leigh
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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son's x girlfriend about 10 years ago..her mom cleaned for dorms at a local college..kids will leave every single thing they have when they go home after college..esp the sr's...and buy new later..they don't want to haul it..esp if they "fly" home..so they leave it all..microwaves, chairs, computer tables and desks, bedding, clothing, bar friges..etc.

literally everything a student will use..they will leave.

i'm a big reuser of thrift stuff..but i'm also careful to not make a habit of collecting junki i can't use..i wish i could say the same for hubby
 
                                      
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        i typed in  ----home made fly paper --and  home made fly traps ----

        i thought you might like this site
                                                                       

   
 
gardener
Posts: 1352
Location: Cascades of Oregon
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One thing I always look for when I hit the thrift store are old tv trays. I throw away the tray part and use the legs for putting over plants when it gets cold. I have made row cover bags that I slip over the legs to keep peppers and lettuce shaded. Plastic bags to work as mini greenhouses. They fold up compactly and are easy to put out.
 
                                      
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        HELLO I AM STARTING TO SAVE ALL MY MOP HANDLES AND SOME SHEETS TO USE FOR A SUN SCREEN FOR MY PLANTS NEXT YEAR----AND NEWS PAPER TO PUT IN BETWEEN THE ROWS--TO HELP HOLD THE MOISTURE IN ---

I TRYED TWO TOMATO PLANTS --WHERE THERE WAS NOT TO MUCH SUN --AND I WILL GET NOTHING FROM THEM--[LESSON LEARNED]  --THE OTHER TOMATO PLANTS ARE HUGE --NOT MANY TOMATOES ---I DID FEED MY PLANTS TOMATO FOOD ---BUT DID NOT REALY SEE --BUT MABE TWO BEES  ALL SUMMER -[NO BEES --NO FOOD ]
   

SAME WITH MY TWO PEPPER PLANTS [NO BEES]  [[ AND I HAVE ALL OF THEM PLANTED IN A CONTAINER]] THEY ARE GROWING GOOD--- BUT NO PRODUCE ---MABIE NEXT YEAR I WILL HAVE BETTER LUCK.
 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
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did your tomato plants flower? they may have been a bit long on nitrogen and low on some other things. a fertilizer designed for grass for instance isn't suitable for your tomatoes. make sure and get something for tomatoes or at least for flowering plants.
 
                                      
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YES ---ALL KINDS OF FLOWERS---AND MY DAUGHTER BOUGHT-FOOD FOR VEGIES---A POWDER THAT YOU MIX WITH WATER -I CAN'T REMEMBER THE NAME OF IT RIGHT NOW-----I THINK MIRACAL GROW-I CAN'T SPELL IT --SORRY--

AND I EVEN BOUGHT NEW DIRT - FOR VEGGIES---I HOPE IT HAD EVERY THING IT NEEDED-  THANK YOU FOR  ANSERING  WITH YOUR INFORMTION
 
Posts: 2134
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  I wonder how many mops handles you can save, mine last for years. They aren't very expensive here, and are strong, maybe i could buy some for use in the garden. agri rose macaskie
 
The moth suit and wings road is much more exciting than taxes. Or this tiny ad:
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