Free Aloe Plant Finds a New Home

by Katy on December 3, 2014 · 13 comments

Remember my free aloe plant that I rescued from one of Portland’s infamous free piles?

Free aloe plant

It was planted in a not so attractive glass bowl with regular dirt instead of potting soil. However, it was alive, and I figured I could give it a new home without any possibility of buyer’s remorse.

I grabbed a vintage bean pot that I picked up from a everything-was-free garage sale. I then scooped some potting soil from my fuchsia plants which are done for the season. (Also free, as Fred Meyer gives free potting soil when you buy their on-sale fuchsias once a year.)

I dumped the dirt into my garden and washed out the glass bowl, which I will bring to a nearly consignment shop.

And the aloe plant? It now sits on the mantel, hopefully not catching the attention of my two cats who do not have a positive history with house plants.

Potted aloe plant

But that’s okay, as it was entirely free and brings a lovely bit of nature into my home.

Having a zero budget for decor is not a deterrent for having a lovely home, and my entire house is a testament to this theory. I like to call it “The House That Goodwill Built,” but maybe I should rename it “The House That Free Piles Built!”

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa December 3, 2014 at 10:35 am

It looks so pretty now!


Katy December 3, 2014 at 10:44 am

Thanks, I totally agree! 🙂 And thanks for that as my husband’s eyes glazed over when I tried to include him in the excitement about the plant.


Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom December 3, 2014 at 10:55 am

Looks great. I also wanted to point out that bowl of marbles. Awesome.


Katy December 3, 2014 at 11:02 am

It’s my childhood collection.


Shona December 3, 2014 at 10:57 am

In a web search for Sarah Lazarovic’s book “A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy” your blog came up (that was not a plug for her book). I am enjoying reading old posts. I have lived a very frugal lifestyle for many years (my current boyfriend says my frugality in sexy. I do love him) and am about to take a personal *use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without* vow in earnest, which includes staying away from .99 Wednesday & Sundays at Goodwill, EVEN IF IT’S ONLY .99! Luckily my neighborhood is really great with curbside giveaway piles.


A. Marie December 3, 2014 at 11:26 am

Kudos on your aloe and your various other scores. As we move into winter in Upstate NY, and finding stuff on the curb becomes difficult to impossible under snowdrifts, I will trashpick vicariously through you.

The only warning I’d offer about free houseplants is that they should be checked carefully for insects or signs of insects before they are brought indoors. Aloes, for example, are horribly prone to scale insects, which secrete a fairly disgusting sticky residue. But I’m assuming that you vetted your aloe thoroughly before introducing it to your mantel.


Katy December 3, 2014 at 11:31 am

Umm . . . sure I did. 😉


tonya December 3, 2014 at 11:50 am

Make sure the cats don’t bother them. I didn’t know this until last year, but Aloe is poison to cats. I have seven cats. And now, no aloe plants. 🙁


Rowen G. December 3, 2014 at 11:51 am

Aloe is on the ASPCA’s list of plants which are toxic for cats:
That said, my cats have never shown the slightest interest in my large old aloe.


marie December 3, 2014 at 3:45 pm

kinda depends on the cat too. I have many houseplants, and I won’t say how many, but my kitty never bothers them


Linda December 3, 2014 at 6:59 pm

The aloe looks lovely on the fireplace. When it fills out it will be really nice.
My FM fuchsias are now in the garage, where they will spend the winter. Next spring I’ll do even better than free potting soil. I won’t have to purchase fuchsias at all.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary December 4, 2014 at 7:15 am

Love it! I am trying to add more plants to my house. I think bringing a bit of the outside in, especially in the cold, snowy, dark winter, makes a really big difference. Of course, I’m working on doing it on the cheap! Plus, I don’t have much of a green thumb, so there’s no use in spending much on a plant that I will very likely kill.


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