How to Find the Courage to Turn Trash into Treasure


I believe there are two types of people in this world – those who are willing to cause a traffic jam to pull over and snag a dilapidated piece of furniture left on the curb and those who wouldn’t be caught dead with a spider-web covered curb side find anywhere near them. Clearly, as you know, I fall into the latter group.

I’ve spent a significant portion of my time as a homeowner upcycling, recycling, reusing, repurposing old items. So when The Clean Foundation approached me about speaking at their annual Fix-It Fair event, it was a total no-brainer! It’s a room full of people who speak my language!!

{Here are the details of the day! I will be at The Fix-It Fair on Saturday, October 21st. It’s at The Halifax Forum and I’ll be speaking at 11am. COME SAY HI!!!}

Included in the day will be awesome giveaways from local companies including tool kits, Dremel saws, parent and kid bicycles, and backyard composters (and more!) You’ll also have the chance to meet with and talk to lots of people and businesses that operate in the ‘Clean’ space – there’s a full list of attendees here. You can find all the details on The Clean Foundation website and RSVP to the event on their Facebook Page (so you get the reminder in your notifications).

The aim of The Fix-It Fair is to bring the community together to talk about creative and innovative ways to work eco-friendly products and routines into our lives – from recycling to reusing, repairing to repurposing, there will be something for everyone. There’s even going to be a workshop for the kids to teach them how to turn plastic water bottles into these adorable little garden watering kits! I cannot wait.

Agreeing to speak at the Fair made me dig deep into my own motives. I mean, WHY do I feel compelled to rescue furniture? I think the answer is multi-faceted.

  • Fixing curbside finds saves money! (Can’t get cheaper than free!)
  • Repurposing old items is good for the environment and keeps junk out of landfills
  • It’s SUPER fun
  • If I didn’t rescue furniture, what would I blog about?!?! LOL
  • It means every piece has a wonderful (often hilarious) story

Over the past while, I’ve come to look at DIY as almost synonymous with the concepts of ‘nurturing’, ‘confidence’ and ‘courage’. Why? Because it takes courage to pick that table up off the road and claim someone’s trash as treasure! It takes confidence to envision a new life for that piece and take steps to make it happen (even if it doesn’t work out) and because, as with any skill, practice brings us closer to our goals. Our passions need to be nurtured or they will become frustrations.  I think that’s been the main motivation behind my blog – helping people to see that these types of projects aren’t scary and that anyone can do them.

So, on Saturday at the Fix-It Fair, I’m going to be talking about finding the Courage to DIY and giving some of my best tips and tricks and mentioning some of my secrets for finding diamonds in the rough!

Meantime, I figured I’d post some of my favorite curb side upcycles and makeovers that I’ve done over the years. I swear, nothing a little sandpaper and paint can’t fix 🙂

Hope to see you Saturday!

Ugly Cubby Desks turned to Cute Mint Side Tables!
I found these tables on Shore Road in Eastern Passage – and yes, I held up traffic to put them in the trunk…. but the view along Shore is pretty….so I didn’t feel that badly about making people wait while I rescued these. I still love them and can’t quit them and they are currently in our (total disaster of a) playroom.

Gross Veneer Mid-Century Dresser turned Whitewashed Coastal Showpiece!

So the story with this dresser is kinda hilarious. I was taking Buddy for a walk and spotted this piece on the curb. It was garbage day. Not only was it garbage day, but I could literally hear the garbage truck lumbering down the side street we were on. I did a quick mental and physical calculation and Buddy and I broke into a full sprint back to the house, I unleashed him into the yard, grabbed the car keys and zoomed back to load the dresser into the trunk. I did it just as the garbage truck was pulling up – and they TOTALLY laughed at me. But WHATEVER. I love this dresser. 

An old tree stump from Herring Cove turned Scandinavian Style Side Table

A friend of ours lost a few trees in a big storm a few years ago. He was sad to lose them and was forced to chop most into firewood. But before he did – I asked if I could have his stumps!! HAHA Yes – we drove more than an hour to pick up an old tree stump. But I wanted one of those chic tables without the designer price tag. This project took a LONG time, but we still have my log table! And we love it. Side of the Road Leggy Table turned Matchy Matchy Bedside Beauty

I found this table while out on assignment as a reporter one day in the West End of Halifax. (sssssh! Don’t tell anyone I tossed it into the back of my news cruiser that day!!) lol This piece is a classic gem that just needed to be polished. It’s solid wood! And it still sits in our playroom. I’ve since parted ways with the other table (that was also a curbside find). For a while, they were both end tables in our guest room.

Pea green dated lamps turned metallic chic set!

I know spray paint isn’t the most eco-friendly option – but painting these freebies took about half a can of paint and it definitely kept them from the landfill! I really liked the size and unique shape of the ceramic bases. I replaced the oblong shades with round white shades I picked up at Walmart. 

Here are some other posts you’ll love

This post is part of my event sponsorship for the Clean Foundation. As always, I only partner with brands and causes I believe represent me and who align well with the stories I like to tell through DIY Passion. Plus – I am grateful that our generous sponsors allow me to keep my slice of the Internet running 🙂








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