Saturday, April 19, 2014

It's Furniture Season in PTown

Treasures are found on the streets of Provincetown as people move to new quarters for the season.
Useable desks, couches, TVs, rugs, lamps, chests of drawers, antiques and more are free for the taking. 
It happens every spring and fall, as people are moving in and out of Provincetown for the season, or have to find a new apartment as summer residents return. I call it furniture season, when you're likely to find any number of decorative lamps, baskets, area rugs or other home furnishings, or major appliances, or furniture for any room in the house, all sitting out on the curb waiting to be carted off to a new home.
Folks moving seasonally are often going into a smaller place, or perhaps to a furnished apartment with no room for their own furniture. Landlords and guesthouse owners are sprucing up for new tenants or visitors, and when they replace a kitchen sink, generally it's easier to give the old one away rather than try to recycle, or pay to scrap it. When a charming little B & B upgrades the tiny refrigerators in each guest room, the old ones can magically appear at the side of the road, sometimes for just an hour or two before being snapped up and put to good use in several different homes.
The chest of drawers above is a good quality piece of furniture that has been neglected over the years. Although the heavily lacquered finish is quite chipped, with the right Chinese silk runner (from the thrift store) thrown over the top, it would fit right into a "shabby chic" decor. Or a light sanding and a quick coat of paint could transform it in a single day. Some folks might take a week or two to thoroughly strip and sand it down to the original wood and give it a few coats of varnish. At any rate, someone got a nice piece of furniture for free, because this dresser was gone within a day or two. In PTown, it pays be friends with someone who owns a truck or a van.
People moving into a new place often buy a new TV or stereo, or other electronics, putting their old ones out for adoption. It pays to be a little cautious about picking up anything electrical, or else to be very quick to scoop it up. You probably don't want to take a chance on a lamp or appliance that has sat out in the rain for a week, but if you come across a TV that wasn't there yesterday, that's a pretty safe bet.
If you're buying a new sofa for your living room, try to time it with the weather forecast. You don't want  to have the new one delivered in a downpour, and you don't want to put the old one out on the curb when it's likely to be raining for a few days in a row.
Finding a new use for household furnishings rather than buying new ones is fun, and it has benefits for the planet. Reusing old items saves new trees from being cut down, saves water and air pollution caused by the manufacturing process, and saves fuel used (and its inherent air pollution) to transport goods across the country to sales floors. So do your best to let someone else get some use out of your old furnishings and appliances, and keep an eye out for useful items you can repurpose rather than buying something new. That way everybody wins, including Mother Earth.

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