Saturday, January 9, 2010

About Faith & Finding Great Free Stuff on the Curb & Craigslist

New Years has me reflecting on our finances. Thanks to the many thrifty blogs I read daily, I have learned a great deal about saving money, finding bargains, making do and sometimes doing without. You all have been such great roll models and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Having a place to show and tell has provided great motivation for my thrifty makeovers. Blogging has made this time of necessary resourcefulness- fun. I say necessary, but really it's been a conscious choice. I choose to live cheap now so that we can reap later.

The other day I was thinking about the incredible luck I have had in the past few years finding free stuff on the curb. I have also had good luck finding free/cheap stuff on craigslist.
Curbside Cabinet
Sometimes I accidentally find great stuff on the curb. However, this past year I became really intentional about finding free stuff to upcycle.

First off, living in a big city where people move all the time really helps to devalue personal property. Moving is expensive and every craigslist ad has tons of competition. Getting rid of stuff for free/cheap is often the best value for people on the move. I really want to acknowledge that because I am well aware that not everyone has access to such an extensive craigslist. It's not nearly as effective in small cities or rural areas.
Play Kitchen
After I made the black kitchen and sold it for $200 to benefit the homeless, I became pretty driven to continue. I started checking the free section of craigslist and happened to see a "curb alert" advertising that garage sale leftovers would be on the curb starting at 7pm. In the picture there was a great cabinet for another kitchen. I googled the address and hopped in my car.

On the way I said a small prayer something like this:
"Lord, I really enjoyed making the black kitchen and I would really love to do it again. Please help me to find what I need to make another kitchen."

Small chest
Curb Alert Coffee Table Before
When I got there, the cabinet I wanted was gone, but I got a coffee table, a bunch of old baking sheets, and the nightstand that would become the blue kitchen.

Key learning- What I wanted was gone. Something different filled the "need." And, the other stuff exceeded my expectations. Doesn't that sound just like the hand of God?
Simple Blue Kitchen
I kept this lesson in mind when recently I decided I wanted my own coffee table.

Pink Drawer-Just Because

First I randomly scanned Craig's List for about a month. Finally, a week before my family was coming, I started getting serious about my search. I found lots of tables that I really liked in the $50 range, but nothing really spoke to me in the $35 range I was thinking about.

 I just kept reminding myself that a coffee table is a "want" not a "need." I reminded myself that if I missed out on something great, some other opportunity would come along. I trusted that I would find what I needed and in the eleventh hour, I heard from a woman giving away a coffee table for free. It wasn't at all what I was looking for, but I didn't pass it up because it wasn't what I wanted.
Table Top Before

It doesn't have built in storage like I wanted, but it did fill my needs for holiday entertaining. I enjoyed fixing it up and I like how it looks now.  I even learned a few new saw tricks along the way. ( I promise a tutorial for my saw trick is on it's way.)
Christmas Table

This very same practice lead me to another curbside find that filled a need. I'll be blogging about that project soon, but it might be my most creative yet.

Some people call this "manifesting" or maybe "the secret." To me it's about faith. Now, if only I could be so trusting and relaxed in all areas of my life. Very often I learn something in one area of my life and struggle to transfer the skill to another area. I hope that learning to follow God and trust Him to provide these little desires will transfer over to some of the bigger desires.

This year I want to clarify my needs and quiet my wants.
This year my word is going to be trust.

Psalms 37:5
5 Commit everything you do to the Lord.
      Trust him, and he will help you.


Fun Mama - Deanna said...

My word this year is Courage. I didn't know there was more than one "one word" project going on. I got the idea through Ali Edwards ( Wishing you success with your word! I really enjoy your thrifting projects.

Sheila Atchley said...

Love-love this post! Your blog is a delight, dear one!

laterg8r said...

it's hard to remember that thinks are sometimes just wants!

you are a woman after my dh's heart - he looooves to bring home free stuff he found on the curb LOL :D

Shanna said...

I struggle, too, with transferring my Lord-lessons from one area of my life to another. But, mostly, I just struggle to learn. Good thing He is extremely patient with me...