Sunday, January 30, 2011

Need a Workout? Forget the Gym!

I found a great way to get a workout on Saturday, and there are no gym fees to pay. All you have to do is go out garaging, find an estate sale, look around, then poke your head into the backyard…just at the moment one of the sellers announces, “All of the tile out back is free.”

Oh. My. God.

The tile at this place. The elderly gentleman who had passed on collected it for years. YEARS. From the evidence of the patio, he made good use of some of his stash.

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But not all by a long shot.

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From what I gathered by eavesdropping, a lot of it was leftover from big jobs, and he would bring it home and add to his supply.wall o' tilesCan we just say I was thrilled to happen upon this. We need to re-tile the top of our outdoor cooking area.IMG_0049If I were buying tile in a store for this project I would probably have gone for a darker color. But I scrounged up enough of the free stuff to do the job, including a large patterned tile we might use as a centerpiece.IMG_0050But where’s the workout, you say? Oh my dears, I said I had to scrounge. While the dear old gent had organized pretty much by color, his color categories were simple—like, light and dark. I spent probably 40 minutes lifting large heavy tiles around to find enough of the same kind. Then I got to carry 50+ large heavy tiles to my car and fit them in. (Each tile weighs 4 pounds. Yeah, I just weighed one!) By the time I got them all loaded…let’s just say you would not have wanted to be too close to me!

After I loaded the car IMG_0039I wandered about just looking. It was so tempting to keep adding more to my stash. I could have made sets of coasters for everyone I know—or have ever known—for next Christmas. But I decided to restrain myself. Might as well leave them for someone else with a real project to do.

Later in the morning I was at another sale, and a lady and I were looking at some handy person books and magazines. I said something about the free tile I had found, and she immediately wanted to know where the sale was. Another guy who was looking at stuff looked up and said he had  been there too. Sheesh, how likely is that? Between us we kind of were able to remember where the sale was. Hope she found it. The other guy told me he used to work in a tile store. He said if someone was remodeling a fifties house, he bet they’d find the exact thing they needed in that back yard!

The free tile was the highlight of the morning, but really the whole outing was fun. First stop I met a sweet elderly Lab. This is Jake, who is 11.IMG_0021This little cutie really wanted to get loose and help everyone shop. Her tail is a blur because she was a champion wagger.IMG_0023

Met two nice young couples having sales. The first is expecting their first baby in March. Being a children’s librarian, I made sure they are planning to read, read, read to the child. They assured me they already are. The dad-to-be told me he’s going to speak English and she’ll be speaking Chinese to the baby so she’ll be bilingual. I told him they’ll have a very smart child, and he looked awfully pleased.

The other couple were young and hip. Don’t remember how we got to it, but I was telling them a theory someone shared with me last week: You know how you’re always missing a sock or two? And at the same time you always seems to have more wire hangers in your closet? Well, this guy’s theory is that socks are the larval form of wire hangers. We were all cracking up over this. They told me they do musical theatre, in fact that’s how they met. We decided a musical number about socks and wire hangers would definitely be a hit.

I spent $6.75 during the morning, plus the sweat equity of the tiles! Brought home a couple of librarian door-prizes: IMG_0046 IMG_0048a bag o’ ribbons for craft projects, and a Spin & Draw thingie, complete with two pads of the paper.

I recently lost my cute little metal tin that I kept in my purse for various pills. Picked this up as a replacement.IMG_0047Merely practical. Easy to replace when I find something spiffier.

A few of the handy person magazines.IMG_0045 And sweaters for me and the hubs. His looks new, of very soft merino wool.IMG_0042Mine is also new, one of those items bought and never worn. Jones New York.IMG_0041The polka dots are embroidery. I think it will work with black pants. Love the colors.

Happiest story I heard all morning: a woman who has been out of a job for over two years starts her new position on Monday. She was beaming.


  1. Lucky you to even find a garage sale! They haven't really started here and I am getting antsy wanting to find one! Great deal on the tile!

  2. What a haul! Makes it worth all the effort since it was free! Love the tile jobs he did, I hope whoever buys his house will appreciate all the work that went into it.

    I mentioned you and linked back to you in my post. I found a yard sale where everything was a dollar or less and most items were .25 cents. It was your kind of sale!

  3. felt like everybody and their neighbor was having a sale in north county yesterday! I tried your method, and plotted my trail from the listings on Craig's List.
    -Wonderful green woven check tablecloth from Belgium for $1
    -25 cents for a neat pueblo Indians pattered canvas tote (thought of you while negotiating) this was from a home way up on the top of the Yorba Linda Ridge where the fire came up right across the street from this home. Tried to buy the purple sneakers off the feet of the granddaughter, but she just giggled and hid behind her gf. went up to $100, still not interested!
    -6 board books, a new photo album (pocket kind), embroidered skirt and top set, and a new fireman raincoat for John Curtis for $1!
    timing is very important, I am finding out. I might come in late, but they are ready to negotiate!
    but the showpiece of the day was a new Single Action Shooting wardrobe for my husband. These are the guys from SASS who dress up like cowboys and do target shooting. Big kids, all of them, but a lot of fun.
    I got a pair of old fashioned pants with button front, adjustable strap across the butt (authentic) with metal grommets for the suspenders; a leather vest with metal buttons (sons say it was SO 1970s gay, would not touch); a heavy plaid wool jacket, again period correct; two brand new collarless shirts, one calico, one stripes; and a fancy new black "Gene Autry" style shirt with the contrasting piping around the arrow pockets, cuffs, etc.
    --the whole wardrobe for $10!! so excited!!
    and john liked it all!
    But I really enjoyed getting up into a part of the town that I haven't seen before. Beautiful day, beautiful views, had a lot of fun!

  4. Great tile find! Love the patio tiles. I even had luck this weekend - a light box for $10! They are worth over $100 new. I will use it for my quilting.

  5. holy crap, now that's a tile stash. gawd, I would have taken a car load full for "one of those days."

  6. We are redoing our bathroom floor and just bought very plain tile to the tune of $200....great find on free tile but of course you worked for it!

  7. My mouth dropped open looking at all that tile. That is amazing!!

  8.! I am seething in jealousy at all that beautiful tile nowhere near me! WAH! That's it, I want to come saling and thrifting with you!

  9. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! What a nice find.

  10. I could use some of those tiles!! Two bathrooms & kitchen/dining room need to be done! Ah, well, have to continue looking through ReStore stock!! you r a lucky duck!

  11. The tile haul to end all tile hauls! You made out- especially when each one can be so expensive!


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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