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Topic: Where is your everyday-place to find free stuff?  (Read 14207 times)
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« on: November 25, 2007 05:50:36 AM »

Most home improvement stores have really neat books that are free that I tend to take.  Some of them are tile books and they actually have small tiles in them (it's hit or miss with those).

The library (of course) to get free magazines.  My library has a list of people to take magazines and stuff that they get rid of.  Once a year, they have a "free book" day when they clean out their books.  Usually you are required to make a small donation (minimum is usually $5, I usually give $15) and you can take as many books as you want.

I'm in need of more ideas to find free stuff.  This is going to be a very stingy Christmas.

Where are the everyday places you can find free stuff? 

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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2007 10:43:00 PM »

Not that this will help for Christmas gifts, but Krispy Kream donuts throws away what's left at the end of the day so if you catch the employees at the right moment you can load up on way more donuts than you would probably care to eat  Smiley

« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2007 05:27:10 PM »

our local dump has a recycling area that is like a giant free yardsale---bring in your cast-offs, take what you can use.(The volunteers do an AWESOME job keeping things organized.) But it is only open 9-12 on Saturday mornings.

a local Christian college operates a Blessing Shop a couple of day s aweek.  Same thing, bring in your unloved items, take what you can use.  They do not take larger items like appliances, but still you can find a wide array of goodies!

Friends. Found-alongside-the-road.  Dumpsters. Freecycle.

After that, I'm down to places that want money: Salvation Army, Goodwill, thrift stores.


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the way one has air to breathe.   -N. Hilyard

I cannot live without books.  -Thomas Jefferson
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2007 08:18:18 PM »

Maybe paint/wallpaper stores for old wallpaper sample books.Sometimes there's fabric in them,too.Paint sample cards-someone here folded them over,matchbook style,and made mini sewing kits.Wallpaper or paint chips-as a cover for blank books.Buy a plain one cheap,or cut up blank paper and glue/sew it together.Would a fabric/drapery store let you have scraps? Any place that sells used records-ask for broken or scratched ones,then melt them into record bowls,or make jewelry,or notebook covers.
Freecycle rocks-check it out.
Ask the used book store if they have any books or magazines too damaged to sell-then make book/magazine purses-lots of good tutes here on craftster.Old magazine pages make great paper beads for jewelry,too-also on craftster.Small or local stores will be more likely to help you out.For example-The big chain I work for-magazines have the covers stripped,to go back for credit.The 'zines themselves go in the locked dumpster-even employees aren't allowed to take them.The independant store I used to work for didn't care.Of course,that may be why they're no longer in business!
Look at the free section of weekly local papers,advertising,flyers,ect that a lot of places have-that's collage and bead material.
Do computer stores have free cd roms,like for aol?

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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2007 01:13:12 PM »

craigslist - there is a whole "free" category where people give away allll kinds of stuff.  you can also post "wanted" for free.  i check that regularly, and found someone who desperately wanted my mismatched baby socks.  great, because i was going to throw them in the trash.  she makes kitty toys with them or something.

there are usually also classified ads in the newspaper, where people want to get rid of things for free as long as you pick it up.  (and remember that the newspaper is online, you don't have to buy it to read it!)
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2008 03:59:22 PM »

I admit it, I'm a garbage picker! I am a knight of the dumpster. A roadside treasure liberator. I love finding and collecting pieaces of what other people threw away and giving it new life as part of something else. I personally am tired of this "throw-away" society.
Here is what I did with a mannequin I found years ago that a renaissance festival booth threw out because it had a crack running down the seam of the should (easily fixed with an appoxy filler glue).
I gave her skin a fresh coat of green metallic spray paint. Appoxy glued a crazy Lion's Head door knocker I had been hoarding into her navel. Used some fabric paints to draw some texture, leaves and flowers on her (and write "tattoo" LIFEFORCE across the back of her shoulders). Used a knit doily thing for a headpiece/hat. Then we did a short photo shoot for Mother Nature!!!

Later she became my on the road mascot!
sorry everyone - I'm new so I haven't posted enough times yet to be able to insert the picture, I promise I'm not a spam bot!
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2008 01:16:18 PM »

Scribeorice,I love what you did with your mannequin!

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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2008 12:31:29 AM »

I live in NYC where life is tough but the garbage-pickin is easy!  Just yesterday I was coming from from Trader Joe's with two bags of heavy groceries, and in front of a large apartment building were about 10 HUGE clear bags of household stuff. 

Apparently,  a resident had died and the building had just put her stuff on the sidewalk.  Well, it didn't take long for the vultures to circle but I was one of the first and managed to pick up some nice items including:  a signed hand blown glass paper weight, a lovely large cake plate and a new stove top teapot plus several other items which I'll use for craft projects -- a small hinged wooden box,  a small photo frame with a nice, wide flat frame perfect for embellishing, a cheap clear glass vase (inside painting?  applying broken pottery?),  a nifty little triangular knife for cutting/slicing cheese -- the handle is boring but a little Fimo will fix THAT right up!.    There were also coffee makers,  full knife set in a block,  lots of OK dishes,  even a vintage Pyrex mixing bowl...but hey, a girl can only shlep so much! As it was,  I had to stop every 5 feet to rest my arms. Halfway home my bag broke and I had to pop into a store and beg another one. 

I felt bad that this poor woman's personal effects were out on the street like that but hey, I suppose someday mine will be too...
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2008 12:11:12 PM »

I pick trash too. The curb provides me with practically everything I need. I can hardly remember the last time I've been in a normal shop.
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2008 05:23:29 AM »

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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2008 06:24:25 AM »

www.freecycle.com  and craigslist are 2  of my favs.  you can check teh offered up stuff or  post a wanted   either way you can get tons of stuff.

looking for instant coffee from australia or russia made with mustard and champagne.  VIOLET CRUMBLES and VEGEMITE would be welcome swap items!!
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2008 12:33:25 PM »

i usually use the paint sample papers for scrapbooking and other paper crafts.
also most construction places will let you have pieces of wood, tile, sheetrock, or whatever else.
dumpsters in the alley are also great
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2008 03:01:02 PM »

Free stores are where it's at. the link I posted is one for Baltimore, but I'm sure there are similar ones in other cities as well.
I also get tons of awesome stuff from the salvation army dumpster.

It's not so bad bein' trendy...
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2008 04:41:53 PM »

I live in a high-rise building, and people just put stuff down in the garbage room or outside by the dumpsters that they don't want anymore. I've gotten some great stuff... I refinish furniture, and people put old solid wood furniture down there that's scratched up or stained (all stuff I can fix with a bit of work) so it's a goldmine.
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2008 04:48:40 PM »

Oh - and I used to work in a mall. The back hallways where people put out their garbage is an even bigger goldmine than the garbage room in my building. Some stuff I've found there:

-Old displays including gift boxes and pictures
-fake flowers from window displays
-Swarovski gift boxes (there were two giant packs of perfectly good gift boxes that they threw out... must have just been getting rid of old stock)
-mannequin torsos
-lots of cardboard boxes (handy if you're moving)

Working in a mall is a great place to find free stuff in general. I used to take home lots of half-empty testers from the store I worked at (bath and body store), gift boxes (after Christmas we were welcome to take home what was left because they'd change the style next year anyway), empty jars, you name it. Also, we made friends with the girls at Godiva, and they'd bring us free chocolate strawberries every night because they wouldn't keep until the next day.

So if you work in a mall or know someone who does (generally you shouldn't lurk in the back hallways of a mall if you have no right to be there, you're often caught on camera or by security), get looking! Major retailers throw SO much away, and most of it's perfectly good.
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2008 05:11:16 AM »

-School. My classroom is in the DT block so we can pick up all the leftover scraps of material, wire and stuff like that from the GCSE/A-level projects, and we get free food from the Food Tech students...
-Hotels. My dad goes on a lot of business trips and always brings back the free toiletries and sewing kits
-The train station - sometimes I get the old billboard posters when they're putting new ones up. (not the huge billboard posters, the smaller ones which are about the size of two sheets of A3 paper)
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« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2008 04:20:58 AM »

Along the lines of home improvement stores, I used to pick up all different colors of paint chips.  Depending on the company, you can cut them apart if you just need small bits of paper.

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« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2008 07:41:00 PM »

I work in a small department within a large research (university) library. We get tons of donations-- we collect rare books, manuscripts, artifacts, photographs, etc... And regardless of what condition they're in, the materials in which the documents are housed get thrown away, because we have to move them into our own storage that is better for their preservation.

I take brand-new binders out of the trash pile all the time-- I'm more than stocked up for classes, and I give some to friends (especially one in graphic design who needs binders for her projects). I've also gotten cases-- including one for slides that holds my thread spools fantastically-- and good/great quality wooden crates, metal cases, picture frames, index card cases, plastic storage bins... One time I even got a yard of vintage circus-print fabric! It's amazing. I have no idea why it was stuffed in with the donations, but fellow employees know me well enough to set this kind of stuff aside for me. It's fantastic.

Also, more obviously, dumpsters outside dormitories on move-out days. It's amazing what people will throw out just to shorten their moving process.
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2008 09:05:34 AM »

-Grandma's house. She's a junk collector.
-Its not FREE..but i have a local thriftstore that has a TON of crafting supplies. They have so many that they are super cheap. Most of them are vintage too.
-Free boxes at thrift stores and garage sales.
-Garbage day. (Although..I live in a small town..so theres not a lot of good stuff..)

Now Im off to see about this Freecycle deal.

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« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2008 06:08:28 PM »

Not sure if this would work for everyone, but it would be worth trying.

I work at a college and the library offered to help me out with an upcoming event. They gave me 3 large boxes of dust covers from books.  Turns out they stock pile them for a while, then just throw them out.

The covers with all the text and images are great, but the other side of the covers are a nice white heavy paper.

Good luck!

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« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2008 10:08:22 PM »

ok so this may sound a bit stupid but the craftster admin leah posted a major topic on the ethics of ordering free samples and it started with people taking advantage of free samples on crafting websites that other people listed on the thread here. she said it got out of hand and in looking for this thread i found the one titled "where to find free stuff" etc but it doesnt seem that its out of hand because i dont see many posts on there with advice... so anyone know if I am lookin in the same spot?!

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« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2008 03:32:51 PM »

I get all the old swatch and sample books from a local curtain shop, they carry some really gorgeous fabrics, and some of the samples are quite big, like the size of a small curtain...  They're only too happy to give them to me - they'd be going in the rubbish otherwise.

Freecycle is a great source.

I've also got people hoarding recyclables like magazines, aluminium cans and glass jars and bottles for me Smiley

I'm into recycle crafts mostly, so actually clearing out my own house yielded tons of stuff  like old clothes, cardboard, junk mail flyers etc.

« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2008 08:49:10 PM »

Not quite free, but I have found that when looking for vinyl records to use for crafting that can be a bit scratched, I go into thrift shops/antique shops and ask if they have any sub-par quality records that they would be willing to sell at a discount. I had one store that sold them to me at a huge discount and was even willing to work in bulk if I ever had the need. For them it was freeing up storage space that was housing products that they wouldn't normally put out for sale.

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« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2008 08:54:20 AM »

im always checking our dumpster..i found a sewing table when u open it, u have a large table to have the material lay on then u pull up ur sewing machine & i have lots of storage!..i couldn't believe some1 actually threw it out!..my hubby fixed the broken latch that supports the sewing machine. then i decoupaged it & painted it white!..i've also found a couch & a pc desk that each just needed some minor repairs..
When i found that sewing table i was actually on the market for a sewing table..i just got lucky!..

Wife to Cary & mom to 5 awesome kids!
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2008 07:39:55 AM »

When i found that sewing table i was actually on the market for a sewing table..i just got lucky!..

The law of attraction in action Tongue

« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2008 10:15:25 AM »

About a month ago the man in my life brought me a dress dummy from the trash. Oh, I loved him that day. I have been looking to get one for free for years. The foot is broken, but it's not a problem. I'm still thrilled when I look at it. There are some pics in my most recent blog posts.

Read about my t-2-t adventures and my own ecclectic way of recycling:

Buy eco-friendly in my Etsy Shop:
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2008 07:07:56 PM »

Not that this will help for Christmas gifts, but Krispy Kream donuts throws away what's left at the end of the day so if you catch the employees at the right moment you can load up on way more donuts than you would probably care to eat  Smiley

OK, that's my kind of suggestion!!!!

« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2009 10:00:24 PM »

craigslist.com. there is a free stuff section. you can post an ad if you are looking for something specific.
you could also try talking to thrift stores. im sure they get tons of stuff they cant use and you can turn it into something really neat! [color]
« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2013 11:27:58 PM »

I think there is no place to get free stuffs, except from municiple grabage bin. Don't mind!
Other options to get it from relatives, friends, etc.

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« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2013 03:12:27 PM »

Any place college kids live!!! I used to live in a aparment building that was mostly college kids and wow the goodies they threw out! this week I got around $300 of bar signs from the dumpster outside my house, got two laptops the week before, a plant stand, a BRAND NEW cat tree with one peice broke, and of course, my favorite find, a bunch of booze bottles! I can usally find somthing every weekend

Monkey girl
« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2014 07:05:36 PM »

I'm lucky by San Francisco. We have SCRAP (Scroungers Center for Reusable Art Parts) where you can literally find anything, but you have to be patient if you are specific in what you want. They ask for a modest donation. If you look them up online you can find links to places across the US like this (hopefully you are by one) --
Glass, lace, zippers, tiles, old board games, buttons, leather, yarn, fabrics, old cards and calendars -- it's a candy land. My husband has even found exotic wood for his guitar making, so he doesn't mind taking me.

We also have FabMo a wonderful nonprofit that gets discarded designer samples of anything you can think of to remodel your home, and makes them available, again, for a modest donation. I get my wallpaper from here for gift tags and paint samples for die cut flowers. They have been trying to get FabMo distributions sites set up in other areas. So much of 'last years stuff' just gets tossed by the design centers, so just ask.
At the hardware, store it is easier to clear out all the paint samples and set up a new display with the new colors and everything in order.

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