Katy Likes “Free Stuff!”

by Katy on June 24, 2024 · 29 comments

My friend Summer and I hit up a nearby neighborhood garage sale, but you know . . . in the late afternoon when most people had given up selling their unwanted stuff and had put “FREE” signs on the front lawn. That, my friend, is when I do my shopping.

Some of the stuff was odd, like this book advising you to not flush.



But most of the stuff was pretty good. Like this Bose remote control. I’ve sold Bose remotes on eBay in the past and know you can get $30 – $75 depending on the model.



It might be late June, but it’s always good to have a couple of holiday tins stashed aside for Christmas/Chanukah cookies. I know I’ll use these and they can hang out in the basement for a few months.



My favorite find of the day was this discontinued IKEA Applaro fold-down patio table, which although it was dirty was otherwise in excellent condition. I’m tempted to keep it, but I’m also trying to hustle up some money, so I’ll likely put up on Facebook Marketplace.



Here is is after a good scrub down:

*Edit: Sold for $50!


We probably stopped at 35 garage sales, much of which was undocumented, as I don’t feel comfortable taking pictures of people’s stuff if the owners are still outside.

Summer brought home a trio of glazed flowerpots, a pair of beach towels and some really nice clothing.

I brought home an REI rolling suitcase, a coffee maker, an outdoor coffee table, a blender, multiple bags of books, baseball bats, a cute tote bag, a big woven hamper, a desk lamp, new-with-tags Gund stuffed animals, a fanny pack, DVDs, fancy sneakers, (sadly not my size) and a bunch of other stuff.

It’ll take me a few days to process, clean and list off everything, but it’s work I’m happy to do. It keeps all this stuff from the waste stream while earning me a few extra bucks.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Lesley June 24, 2024 at 5:10 am

You are living my dream, Katy! Thank you for continuing to document and share with the rest of us. My dopamine hit for the morning (along with coffee, of course).



texasilver June 24, 2024 at 10:01 am

Rock on fellow non-consumers!


K D June 24, 2024 at 5:17 am

Wow Katy, you really scored. I suspect you will earn a nice pile of money on your finds, some of which will be because of your elbow grease.

Yesterday we drove by a couple of free piles on a local street we don’t usually travel but we did not stop to see what they had. Last week I brought home a new in package Pop Sockets for my phone and DH grabbed a computer lap desk. They were yard sale leftovers we discovered on an early morning walk.

The Washington Post has an article on Gen Z being worse off financially than Millennials. They list Dining Out as a necessity, with Gas, Car Insurance, and Rent. Oh my. Here is a (hopefully unlocked) link:


Selena June 24, 2024 at 7:13 pm

But they save for retirement. I guess they’ve found their financial balance. While I from the buy-a-home generation, I (mostly) understand their renting philosophy.


Marybeth from NY June 24, 2024 at 5:52 am

1. Went to the office with Hubby Saturday morning to help him unload his truck. He got home around 10pm Friday night and was too tired to do it. There were 2 spotted bananas and 4 bagels on the counter so we took them home with us. I cleaned up a few plants in the kitchen area and watered them too. We both took a drink and snack from the free vending machines to have while we went to our next errand.
2. After errands were done, Hubby treated us to Chipotle with a gift card. We took it home to eat so we didn’t get drinks or chips there. We were lazy the rest of the day and had leftovers for dinner.
3. Sunday we had bagels from previous day with eggs for breakfast. We BBQ 4 huge potatoes and 4 normal size sweet potatoes, corn and a bag of steaks that he had brought home earlier in the week. Dinner was leftovers with a big salad(lettuce from the garden).I threw in red onion, carrots and olives because that is what I had. My son offered to run to the store for tomatoes and a cucumber but I told him not too. I try to eat what we have instead of always running to the store. Our daughter ate over for lunch and our son ate over for dinner. Our son took leftovers home for lunch for the next few days. We will be eating leftovers for a few days too.
3. We did lots of yard work and yard cleaning. We power washed the porch, patio and about 1/2 the fence. I weeded some, planted more lettuce and sunflower seeds. I picked 2 galloon bags of lettuce and some sugar snap peas. We took plenty of breaks because it was hot out. Hubby mowed and I used the grass clippings as mulch to put around my tomato plants.
4. My son did his laundry and hung it outside. It was dry very quickly.
5. Saw a pile of wood at someone’s curb with a free sign. Grabbed a bunch for later this year/next year. I never pay for wood for our firepit.


mary in maryland June 24, 2024 at 5:57 am

Last week I found a Wusthof 17 slot knife block, three related shadow boxes, and LOTS of 24 inch foam matting with edge pieces in trash/free piles. I took four pieces of the matting as I’ve wanted to upgrade the matting in my studio. Alas, I had the wrong edge pieces, so I sent my guy back for more. He brought extras which I let go on Buy Nothing that afternoon. I told the recipient there were more—and a rowing machine– if he wanted to walk another couple blocks. He called a friend with a truck and race-walked to the donor site.
Thursday is trash day in our neighborhood, and I set the alarm for 6:30 to make sure I get to look over the offerings before the trucks come by. So much of what we have was trash-picked. The futon cover. The planters and window boxes. The foil bags from food deliveries that have covered our windows during the heat dome. The work tables in my studio. My desk. The baker’s rack in the pantry. I mostly pass things on, but I give myself a lot of credit for reducing the waste stream.


Christine June 24, 2024 at 10:19 am

Good for you for reusing so much. It’s somehow very satisfying to read that you and others on this blog are doing their best to reduce, reuse, recycle. As Lesley said above: It’s a dopamine hit!


mary in maryland June 24, 2024 at 2:46 pm

And even before reduce–we have refuse. I urge my other half to refuse plastic bags, free totes, pens, slap bracelets, etc.


Liz B. June 24, 2024 at 5:25 pm

Yes! I refuse free things. We have enough pens to last us several lifetimes, as well as reusable tote bags, small note pads, and can koozies.


Sandra June 24, 2024 at 6:35 am

I like to watch the listings on Facebook Market Place. I don’t have a lot of needs, but once in a while I find just the right thing. On Saturday I spotted two free chairs. I knew exactly where they would go. One is in the living room and the other is in a guest bedroom. I am so pleased with my “freebies”.


Blue Gate Farmgirl June 24, 2024 at 6:56 am

Nice haul, Katy! I want to thank you for expanding my free box forays. I have never thought of selling remotes…duh! My Ptown Timbers personal fm radio w/earbuds sold the first day I listed, a good free box find.
When I was going thru the free box at that same house, they have season tickets to many sports teams and he gave me another shoe box full of stuff that was still in the house.
I think I would’ve had a hard time getting rid of the Ikea table, that is cool!
I picked my tart cherry tree and will dehydrate those tomorrow when it is warmer day and finish them off in the solar oven.


Jill A June 24, 2024 at 8:07 am

Nice finds. My daughter and I were just talking about how much we love a good free pile.


texasilver June 24, 2024 at 9:58 am

You must be psychic Katy. I also found a free pile on a curb on the weekend.
1. There was a new pair of Under Armour athletic shoes in my size. They were in the box & never worn.
2. A gift basket w/ delectables. A bottle of maple syrup from Maine. 3 jars of jam (strawberry, blueberry, maple pumpkin butter) 2 pancake mixes & 3 boxes of muffin mixes and a bottle of honey. Some are out of date but still sealed. My biologist sister says jelly, jam slow to spoil as the high sugar content makes it hard for bacteria to grow. Does honey expire? Don’t tell the bees that made it.
3. 2 spools of Scotch tape. 1 large bag of rubber bands.
4. 1 toddler pillow. I sleep on my stomach & I need a small flat pillow. I washed the “found pillow” in hot water & will make a pillowcase for it.
Small pillows are also useful for “off-loading” pressure on my arthritic left shoulder when sleeping.
5. Not free curb related but still free. There was a new car wash opening & they offered a free car wash. I just happened to see the sign while driving to the gym. My car was filthy & needed a wash & vac.


Heidi Louise June 24, 2024 at 10:13 am

Honey was found in the tombs of the pharaohs in Egypt, 3000 years old, and still edible.


Liz B. June 24, 2024 at 12:22 pm

texasilver, amazing free pile finds! I can’t even believe that gift basket full of yummies was being tossed. Score!


Bee June 24, 2024 at 9:37 am

Great finds!!! This was a treasure hunt. I’m still working on my decluttering. It is both tedious and fulfilling. I see the finish line ahead.


Ecoteri June 24, 2024 at 10:58 am

@Bee, please keep posting your small decluttering wins, I am inspired to consider STARTING here, and your celebrations help me see it as a positive rather than annoying process.


A. Marie June 24, 2024 at 9:38 am

Awesome haul, Katy and Summer! Thanks for the vicarious thrills.


Kathy June 24, 2024 at 9:49 am

1. Used a $5 cvs reward to get $4.99 box of kind bars
2. Used a $4 cvs reward for a bottle of all detergent. I did have to pay .33 in tax
3. Got a free salona pain patch
4. Free sample of Cerve cream
5. Got a $1 coupon for a car wash


Lindsey June 24, 2024 at 10:04 am

I never would have thought of selling remotes! Great finds. When we lived in a small village, you never, ever threw away anything that might be remotely useful in the future. No road connections so everything had to be flown in, at great expense. One time I bought something at a garage sale, and about two years later was done needing it so I put it out in our garage sale. The original owner saw it and needed it again, so bought it back for the same price I bought it off him. Turned out this was not an unusual occurrence. It was sort of garage sale renting. Happened to me later with a parka that I shrank out of—the original owner had regained the weight and bought it back.


Selena June 24, 2024 at 7:16 pm

If nothing else, remotes can be recycled (at least at Best Buy last time I checked).


Christine June 24, 2024 at 10:13 am

That fold-down table is very cute. I love pieces of furniture that “shrink” until their next use or to fit a room. I would’ve been tempted to keep it too.
1. DH found a dime in a parking lot.
2. I purchased two birthday cards and a terra cotta chicken planter all for $4.99 at the Salvation Army Store. I am tempted to keep the cute planter but will give it to a friend for her birthday with a baby Spider plant in it. My plant finally gave birth.
3. The Woodchucks somehow made it up the stairs on my deck and have nearly decimated the two pots of Marigolds I started from seed. Today we moved the pots to the front of the house, away from the bushes they like to hide in and where their hole is. Who knew Woodchucks would like the taste of Marigolds that smell so unpleasant the insects keep away from them?
4. We’ve been under the heat dome with today being the first day of relief in almost a week. I’ve had to use the A/C until today so I know my electric bill will have climbed. I’m hoping hanging all the laundry outside, avoiding using the oven to cook and turning lights and tv off after leaving a room will help compensate.
5. I finished my library book “Brooklyn” by Colm Toibin. I have on hold at the library two of his others: “Nora Webster” and “Long Island”, his newest one and a sequel to Brooklyn. There are over 300 people in front of me for “Long Island” but as someone on this blog and Katy mentioned, patience is part of being frugal. Looking forward to a book is part of the happiness of reading anyway.


Heidi Louise June 24, 2024 at 10:41 am

1. Returned from meeting up with family in Seattle. They kindly used hotel points for all of us; one person was there for work and should have some expenses reimbursed.
2. Hotel rooms had mini-fridges, though not microwaves. We bought breakfast and snack items at one of our tourist stops– Fred Meyer! Really liked the store, got an excellent pre-made sandwich, and also visited a Safeway for the first time.
3. Didn’t go anywhere that had an entrance fee, unless one counts restaurants, as food was expensive. Still, in my small town in the Midwest, I do not get clam chowder, Albanian, Japanese, or Tibetan-Nepalese-Indian food. Visited beaches, arboretum, book stores, market. Got lucky with on-street parking and even got free parking in a lot for Juneteenth!
4. As I do not wash my linens in hot water and bleach every day, nor spray chemicals around the bathroom daily, it was no hardship to choose the “no housekeeping” option for our continued stay. A token bonus will be credited to hotel rewards points. However, I was irritated that this as presented as for “environmental” reasons. It certainly is a huge savings there, but I suspect it is as much for staffing cost savings for the hotel as well.
Hotels seem to be going to full-sized toiletries, rather than the little bottles.
5. Found two “Mr. Monk” paperbacks by Lee Goldberg at the used book store, which were appropriate not heavy reading for the plane ride back.
I bought one leaf-shaped dish to use as a kitchen spoon rest, to replace the blue and yellow china ones, probably intended for ashtrays, that we’ve used for years. I got them at the Thousand Lira Store, which maybe changed to a Euro Store when Italy changed currency? Like a dollar store, in Rome. We sure got a good use out of them.


Sarah June 24, 2024 at 11:14 am

I got a Bose off of my buy nothing group and thought of that when I saw your remote. Then I saw the same IKEA table that’s sitting next to me too! 🙂


Alison June 24, 2024 at 2:10 pm

1. Sold my first eBay item. Unfortunately shipping to the U.S. from Canada is pretty pricey, although because I have a small business discount card with Canada Post, I got a discount. Charged the customer $18 for shipping, but in the end it cost me only $11. The rest I guess I’ll keep for my time, shipping supplies etc.
2. Gave my two older outdoor chairs to my previous tenant. She was thrilled with them and spray painted them to spruce them up. I bought replacements at an online auction (not frugal) but the new ones are faux rattan so should last a long time.
3. Sautéed beet greens and stems from the garden, for the first time ever. They were good!
4. I have a wonderful couple in my short term rental here for a week. Normally my guests are only here for 2-3 nights, so a longer stay means less work for me. (Although these people are so nice, I have given them extra snacks and drinks, and refreshed their towels even though they said not to).
5. Instead of buying new shoes for a wedding this weekend, (which I was shopping for), I found some that will do, in my closet.


Julia June 24, 2024 at 6:01 pm

I love free piles! I hit 4 today. One was picked over and only trash remained, the second I got a fish tank I’ll resell, the third I got a new in packaging IKEA hanging planter which I’ll sell, also a red ceramic pot for the amaryllis bulb I got from a free pile 6 months ago. (It just finished blooming so the pot will be for next spring) and the fourth pile I got a big work light, (might list it) and two nice botanical prints that I’ll list. I only sell on marketplace but I do pretty well.
I often also pick up items I know my friends will use.


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