Gallery: 6 Places You Can Find Trash to Transform into Treasure

Are you keen to turn trash into treasure but don't know where to find cool hidden gems? If so, you might want to check out our list of six places where it's easy to find abandoned antique furniture, vintage accessories, old cups and saucers and even lockers that can be upcycled into fun storage space, forks that can be made into jewelry, clothing that can be reused in interesting ways, and other neglected items that might suddenly appear to you in a whole new light. From yard sales to the side of the road, you wouldn't believe the places people throw out perfectly good stuff. So hit the jump and get inspired for some springtime DIY.

Photo via Shutterstock

1. Thrift Stores

Go to any town or city and you are bound to find a thrift store. Whether its run by Salvation Army, Goodwill, SPCA or owned by a private person, thrift stores are often a wellspring of junk you don’t want. But every so often you’ll find a gem. Mondays are the best days to go because most people drop off their unwanted belongings on the weekends, which is also when junk dealers go hunting for trashy treasures. Most importantly, don’t rush through: comb through the offerings slowly and open your mind. You’re bound to find something worth giving new life.

Photo via Shutterstock

2. Yard Sales

Again, yard sales are something of a crapshoot since people sometimes want to pawn off their ugliest belongings. But sometimes it happens that people have to move far away very suddenly and have to get rid of all their belongings as quickly as possible. And those are the gold mines. Everything is sold for cheap and you’re bound to find something that with a little sandpaper and paint and added paraphernalia may become the new talking piece of your home.

Photo via Shutterstock

3. The Side of the Road

No, seriously. People leave stuff on the side of the road for the same reason as they stage yard sales. Except sometimes this stuff is so cruddy it can’t even sell for a penny. But we have heard stories of DIY experts who have literally found old pieces of furniture languishing on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, given them some love, and turned around and sold them for a nice price.

4. Craigslist

This is so obvious it is almost cheating, but Craigslist is a fantastic place to find used furniture, shipping pallets, and vintage goods that would be great for a weekend upcyling project. Word of advice: it’s always best to go with the folks who include a picture of what they’re selling, otherwise you don’t know what you’re getting, and don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions, like “dude, what’s wrong with this 1950s TV and why are you selling it?” At the same time, don’t let something broken intimidate you either. Realize that there are a million ways to transform a broken old TV into something new – like a hollowed bookshelf, for example.

Photo via Shutterstock

5. Auctions

Auctions are especially good for experienced DIY enthusiasts who want to make money from their upcycled design projects, since the items sold there are often on the pricier side. But even if you can’t afford to buy something from an auction, it’s great for getting a sense of what’s available. Old barn tables, hutches, pickling jars that might as well come from another world, antique brands, and so on. There’s literally no end to the amount of stuff that we as a society has accumulated that is now out of fashion, just waiting for someone to spruce it up.

Photo via Shutterstock

6. Estate Sales

Likewise, estate sales can be pricey, particularly if you happen upon a really wealthy family who has a stash of heirlooms worth millions. But this is also potentially a gold mine venue for cool stuff – depending on how eager people are to be done with the whole sad affair of selling off a person’s lifelong collection of belongings. So what are you waiting for? The cold weather is finally starting to dissipate in the northern hemisphere and blossoms are sprouting tentatively, which means it’s a great time to give your little nest an exciting, but affordable facelift.

Lead image © Tafline Laylin for Inhabitat


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