One Person’s Trash

After a very long winter, spring has finally arrived! In many places and for many people, spring means Spring Cleaning. In Cape Breton, it also means Heavy Garbage.

For the unfamiliar, Heavy Garbage is people put their big, heavy, non-everyday-normal-household garbage outside on the curb. These are things that are difficult to haul away if you don’t have a truck and lots of muscles, or things that don’t fit in a regular trash bag. So, that old refrigerator that died during the year, that goes out there. All the old mattresses, the broken wood from the porch that broke over the winter, the fans and heaters that stopped working, that couch that’s lost all cushioning…all those things go out on the curb. And eventually, the trash collectors come around and take it all away.

Some people want this tradition to end, citing that the piles of garbage on the side of the road are unsightly, and that people cause accidents by inspecting the piles as they drive by. Fair arguments, really, but aside from the obvious things that no one wants, like old refrigerators, Heavy Garbage can contain some real gems. Some items are salvageable, but instead of fixing them up and donating or selling the items, people just put them in Heavy Garbage.

Like a table I found while driving around with a friend.

It was cute and tiny and in decent shape, with a cute little flower carving on the top. It had a sticky residue on it. So, I break out my tools and cleansers and get to work. But once the sticky residue was gone, there was a clean area amidst a darker, “dirtier” area. Well, I couldn’t just leave it that way! So, the entire table must get a scrub-down.

Relevant scene:

Incoming pictures:


Tiny Table in my working area (it’s actually my living room, but don’t tell anyone), waiting for its bath. You kids, always getting yourselves dirty. Don’t you know this is where my gray hairs come from? Sigh.

So, I get to work.


Admittedly, I don’t know much about wood stains, so I wasn’t sure if I was scrubbing away dirt, or if I was taking off the table’s finish. But, since I’d started, I had to finish the job.

Scrub scrub scrub.


Oh but wait, look at the difference! At this point I’m sure I’m scrubbing away actual dirt and not the table’s finish.


Look at all that dirt! That can’t be healthy.


Icky cloth!


The water is black!


My hard-working hands. Now I’ll have to scrub my fingernails, too. I really oughta remember to use gloves.


But really, it was worth it. Look at this little thing!


So adorbs. I now use Tiny Table to hold my tea in the living room, with a basket for TV remotes on the bottom shelf.

I love my Tiny Table! And except for a little elbow grease and some time, I got it for free! Sometimes Heavy-Garbage-diving pays off. {:

2 Replies to “One Person’s Trash”

  1. in my area it’s called “Bulk Pickup.” It’s amazing what some people throw away. By my best find was something I had wanted for many years but we’re always way too expensive at antique stores….a barristers book case. I was so excited I refinished it the same day I found it. It now holds all sorts of de orative breakables that I couldn’t have out before because of my cats. Now they are safely tucked behind glass.

    1. That’s great, Diane! It really is amazing what people can throw away, but it’s a lot of fun finding the diamonds in the rough. It’s like a treasure hunt. And just finding them and then fixing them up yourself gives you such a feeling of pride that you cherish them. Thanks for your reply and your story!

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