Tag Archive | Community Forklift

My Trash Story

Since working at Community Forklift for three years now, I’ve taken to a different view of dumpster diving. It’s a sort of rescue mission, a diversionary tactic for landfill-headed junk. I am not a dumpster diver…. I AM SAVING THE EARTH! This is an empowering feeling, even if the skeptics call it spin. I never exactly felt bad about dumpster diving before, but now it holds an elevated sense of purpose bordering my morality.

You would not believe the stuff people throw away. It is true that trash tells a story. I often wonder why someone would get rid of this…. or that. Things that are fabulous among the rubble, no matter your sense of style. Trash is an exercise in diversity.

Working in a reuse store gives you a birds-eye view of the excess of American culture. Imagine creating 30-40 jobs just sorting out and selling old stuff: the cast-offs, dirty and dusty, waiting to be claimed and given a little TLC. That is what we do every day.

Just yesterday I dragged this chair home with me. While on our evening walk, the dog and I examined it with our cellphone flashlight and carried it at least half a mile. Juggling the poo bag, the found rocking chair, and the leash was a workout rivaling Crossfit. We did make it all the way home in tact.

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A rocking chair story.

Behold this beauty! I have only one question for you all: why are we wasting our time shopping for anything new? Let your trash tell its’ story.

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Found rocking chair.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2017 at Simply Turquoise.

Community Forklift!

My dear readers, I have been neglecting you. I am sorry. There is so much news to share, I am not sure where to start!

Recognize that huge Rothko poster?

Recognize that huge Rothko poster? Me and the baby (my sister is holding the camera) shopping in 2012.

I am working full-time. I know, right? Weird. I have never worked full-time in my life. Not counting the full-time mommy-ing, the orchestral musician and teacher thing, or even the part-time office manager-ing thing or blog thing I have been doing lately. Somehow, I have managed to combine an insane work-a-holic type ethic without ever actually holding a full-time job. I am expecting my therapist to call any minute now.

My new playground.

My new playground.

Yet, everything has fallen into place. I have found the quirkiest, funkiest place to work! I am working as the Office Manager for Community Forklift. This place promotes the careful deconstruction of building materials for reuse. Their motto is: “the greenest building material is the one that already exists.” If I could ever take a break long enough to walk around the 34,000 square foot warehouse, I would be in heaven, and probably broke too.

My dining room chandelier.

My dining room chandelier: a diamond in the rough.

We Americans waste so much. Community Forklift saves something like a ga-zillion tons of trash from going into the landfill by collecting donated building supplies. That little trinket you lost from your faucet? We’ve probably got one. A cracked tile? No worries… we may have a replacement.

An aisle of ceramics.

An aisle of ceramics.

No doubt Community Forklift rewards the creative mind that can piece things together. That is often how you wind up with something truly unique, like the old church cornice that now sits in my dining room as an architectural piece.

I have found art, antiquities, garden supplies, and light fixtures. With some elbow grease and creativity, you can bring a little old, quirky or upcycled element of design into your home. I encourage you to come on over to Community Forklift and think outside the box. I may even be able to come down and meet you.

© copyright 2014 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

An Old Church Cornice

No babies were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Healthy baby.

Healthy, happy baby.

My friend, who will remain nameless to protect her identity, and I had an adventure. On a recent excursion to Community Forklift, we spotted treasure: Antiquities!

Antiquities!

Antiquities!

Or something like it. It was definitely a cool piece of architectural…. something. Something that I knew I had to have. It turns out it was a cornice from an old church. A very dirty old piece of plaster, with foils and a cross in the middle.

The Art Piece.

The Art Piece.

Possibly, I was just delusional after loading 500 pounds of gravel into my friend’s car in 95 degree heat. But there was no price and I had to leave it behind. They let me put it on hold and wait it out until I was quoted a price.

They called me as I was almost home, to give me the price. I pulled over, sleeping baby in the car, and called my friend. I agonized for about 30 seconds about whether to go back and get it as it was slightly over the price I had decided was the limit. I had just helped her load 500 pounds of gravel, so she owed me a favor, and we both headed back to Community Forklift.

In the Dining Room.

In the Dining Room.

 Her simple statement, “it’s really beautiful” rang pure and true in my head.

Cleaned up.

Cleaned up.

When we got back to Community Forklift, I thought it would be easy. Baby was asleep. I ran in and paid for the antiquities in question. The air conditioning was still running in the car. Only I soon discovered it was too fragile and too big to fit in my enormous station wagon… together with the baby.

Ahhh the dilemmas we so often face in life. I considered whether or not to leave the baby behind. How do I manage to fit the art and the baby together in the car? The answer was clear: The art came home with me, and the baby went with my friend and the gravel.

A little worried.

A little worried.

The funny thing was, the baby was not the least bit alarmed by it all. Well, maybe just briefly, when she was sitting in her car seat in the parking lot; she did look a tiny bit worried. But I reassured her and said, “sometimes we have to go to extreme measures for art.” A valuable lesson indeed.

Old Church Cornice.

Old Church Cornice.

 And she was fine. Together we acquired a great piece of old art from an old church. And it was a perfect day, gravel and all.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

Re-think and Recycle

I’ve been thinking about recycling lately. I am trying to fit my stuff into a new house and make it look as if it was always intended for THIS space, even though it wasn’t. On a purely practical front, people cannot go out and buy new stuff every time they move. The idea of repurposing your old and tired things appeals to me; breathing new life into some old junk.

Of late, my fantasies have consisted of beautiful dining room chairs prancing through my head. Once in a store, I occasionally have to wipe the drool from my chin as I ogle the chairs, until I am confronted with a price tag. Shocked, I take the reality check and walk away with nothing every time. Inevitably, this has lead to my recycling philosophy.

Chair Envy.

It all started with these chairs in a hotel lobby.

My wicker dining room chairs have lasted for twelve years and through several children who used to pick at them when they were in time out. The chairs refuse to wear out. I wish they would so I could justify pitching them. Rather than throw out perfectly good chairs, I decided to just give the cloth chairs on the ends a face-lift with new slipcovers. This changed the look of the whole room!

Slipcovered chair in my new dining room.

Dining room with a view of the not-yet-even-unpacked adjacent sunroom.

Fresh new paint in Benjamin Moore’s  picnic basket gives my dining room an entirely new look.

The solution turned out to be so easy. With the slipcovers from World Market, my chairs were new again in less than 15 seconds. The cost was $50 instead of at least 10 times that for new chairs. I successfully recycled the old chairs and breathed new life into them.

Recycling your old things not only saves money, but can make your home unique and add personality. I am challenging myself to reuse whenever possible and if I can’t reuse what I have, buy it used from Community Forklift, Craig’s List or The Habitat ReStores. When I rescue trash, I am actually preventing it from filling up the landfill and not giving in to the constant pressures to buy more stuff. Paint your frames if the finish is wrong, paint an old light fixture to spruce it up, recover an old fabric, or just add new hardware to an old piece of furniture. If the piece is solid wood, it will last forever. These ideas are not new, but to me it is refreshing to let the house be decorated over time and not rush into the latest must-have. You will end up with an eclectic look that is interesting as well as beautiful. That is a worthy goal.

 © copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio