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My personal playground.

Take a look at the photo above. Ignore the fact that it is an obvious attempt to give my kids all the stuff I never had as a child. Also, that it looks like a daycare or a school. Then take another look. Know how much I paid for everything? About $300 total including the swingset. Amazing, right?

The swingset came from a garage sale. The woman just wanted it out of her backyard. I paid about $250 including the cost of having her “man” disassemble it there, drive it to my house and re-assemble it. I had Wood Kingdom, the place she bought it from, come and give it a good tune up, which included tightening all the screws, staining it and checking it all to make sure it was in good working condition. While I was there paying for the appointment I found the nice rock climbing wall. It was on clearance. My mom (and maybe my in-laws) picked it up for Big Girl’s birthday a few years ago.

The Little Tikes 8-in-one tube and slide combo was free. A neighbor was throwing it away. I got the first half of the pieces on Monday night. I brought it home and my husband was mad since there were so many pieces missing. He wanted to know why I brought home a bunch of junk. Don’t worry, I told him, I’ll be stalking the house on Thursday night. That’s when they will put the rest of the pieces out, and I’ll be there to grab them. They did, and we got a cool, much-sought-after item. That big playhouse in the back? $40 at a garage sale. The guy even dropped it off in my driveway. The triangle climber was $8. Another garage sale. I picked up the merry-go-round off Freecycle for free, of course. The sit and spin thingy was a Craigslist find. $20. I got the castle on Craigslist, too. I can’t remember what I paid, but it wasn’t too much. The two rollercoasters? I got one in the garbage and paid $5 for the other. Everything else was free from the trash.

The see-saw from last night's trash collection.

Last night I added another piece to my playground. I was driving home when I spotted a Kettler see-saw out with someone’s trash. It was beautiful except for a bent center piece. Knowing how wonderful that company is I grabbed it. This morning we called Kettler. Once I pay for a replacement piece I will have a beautiful quality piece of equipment that Little Girl has already pronounced, “Mine!”

Okay, so who cares that I am feeding my childhood issues with garbage? Everyone should. More than half of the items in my backyard were earmarked for the trash, including the steel seesaw. It makes me sick at heart to see how much stuff is just tossed out without a thought as to where it’s going to end up. You know where it goes, right? It all ends up in a landfill somewhere in Pennsylvania or Ohio. Lots of plastic that will never degrade. Metal, too. The sad part is that most of the items could have been put out on recycling day where they would have found new life as decking or building supports or whatever they would have been made into.

Anyway, I write this post to remind people to think before tossing. Can that item be put out to recycle? If it’s metal, does your town have a scrap recycling program? Mine does, and I’m calling it to pick up my old metal glider that rusted and broke in the big hurricane-that-wasn’t. Again, I’m not trying to make anyone crazy. I’d just love to see more of us think about our waste stream with a little more care. Recycle, reduce, reuse, right?

How’s your week going? Do you ever garbage pick? If so, what was your best find?

6 Responses to “Don’t Be Part of the Throw-Away Society”

  1. You are right. We need to be more conscious of waste and be glad for what we have.

  2. Gina says:

    I am with you, I am a craigslist buyer and seller. By the way, I was the one who took the play suff you had out at the curb the other day. Mia loves them and so will her new friend next door the next time she comes over :) Thanks

  3. kb says:

    Gina,

    I know! That’s why I put it out on Saturday. I knew someone was going to take it and I didn’t have time to deal with Freecycle. I’m so glad you were the one who got them! Maybe Keira can come play, too? She’s only 10 months younger than your new neighbor’s little girl. She would love to play with Mia, too. And you guys can stop by whenever!

    –KB

  4. maureen v says:

    I buy alot of connor toys used. craigs list ebay and the other store once upon a chiild. so much cheaper. thanks for another great article..and the yard looks great.

  5. Sara says:

    New York City is the absolute best for curbside shopping. Hard to believe the things people throw away! However, I won’t touch beds, couches, or chairs – basically, I don’t want anything that critters might possibly be living in:)

    By the way, nice to meet you through the Blogathon.

  6. Alexandra says:

    My son is the opposite. He and his wife shower their daughter with new toys, clothes, gifts. Such waste! I cringe when I think of the lesson that goes with all their largesse. I love to go to estate sales, where fabulous stuff is available, and it won’t outgas the way new furniture does. There also is a swap shop at our local dump where people can exchange unwanted items. You leave something, you take something. It is a great way to combat consumerism and our throw-away society.

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