Warning: You May Be Disturbed After Reading This

 You know what “they” say- one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

This is so true, my friends. So true.

Several years ago in Denver, I was trying to drive down the alley behind HBL’s apartment but couldn’t because it was clogged with stuff. It literally looked like there was a yard sale on, or someone was living in the alley, because there was furniture, clothes, kitchen appliances- you name it- scattered all over the place. At first I thought someone was just REALLY bad at packing up and moving, but it became apparent after a while that this stuff was “trash” someone had discarded- and rather lazily, considering they couldn’t even get it to the trashcan. I therefore didn’t feel too bad picking up a few things that looked clean and functional, such as a fondue pot, broom and one of those ergonomically-correct balls (fully inflated!) that you can use instead of a chair in the office.

Found these little guys on the Waterloo Bridge!

Since that fateful day in Denver, I tend to keep an eye out for good things people wastefully throw away when they could easily be donated or even sold to a vintage shop. In doing so, I’ve come across other little gems including Easy Lover on vinyl, a cool antique liquor cabinet and one of those annoyingly mass-produced prints sold in Ikea (which still looks nice on the wall, even if it is a PrintRun production).

When I moved to London, I thought I’d be forced to hang up my “dumpster diving” boots. (Quotations necessary because it can’t be called dumpster diving, exactly, and that sounds socially deviant, but the term seems to be the closest to describing this environmentally-friendly and cheap activity.) After all, everything here is a lot dirtier and older than in Denver, and I figured all the alleys and streets would be infested with bubonic plague and half-full cans of Boddingtons.

Don’t worry, I’ll never use this to serve tea- going to plant something in it.

Not true!

I’ve found a nice metal medicine rack, a tea pot and a cute, decorated storage box on the side of the road. After taking them home and spiffing them up a bit, they are as good as new– and, let’s not forget, completely free.

As a related aside for those of you who are now seriously considering whether they can ever speak to me again, much less accept a dinner party invitation lest I feed you from a fondue pot I found in an alley: I really don’t see the difference between taking things off the street and going in to a vintage shop, antique store, yard sale or street market stall. You have no idea where the merchandise comes from in any of these places. In fact, I bet a lot of it is actually stuff the proprietors found on the street! So, really, I’m just cutting out the middle man and don’t pay obscene prices for things I can find and fix up for free. Take a chill pill.