Someone’s Trash Is My Treasure

I live in Saint Louis, Missouri, where we have alleys and streets.  Alleys are where the dumpsters are for our trash.  People put all kinds of things in the trash.  I am as careful as I can be to only put real trash in the dumpsters.  If I can recycle it, I do.  I don’t put anything in the trash that still has functionality.  If I don’t want it, I usually donate it to a charitable thrift store, or give it to a friend, or simply hold on to it until I find something to do with it.

I have rescued many things from the trash.  Garden stepping stones, a purple sweater, a super soaker water gun, a swingset, electric scissors, a bright red nylon messenger bag, and a guitar case that fits my guitar perfectly are among the many things I have kept out of a landfill. Some of the objects I find are brand new, like the messenger bag or the electric shears.  Some, like my guitar case, are a little worn, but still totally functional.

The first quilt I found is this big blue thing.  It has 2 holes in it and is faded a bit.

My most recent found quilt is a brightly colored twin size.  It has a small ink stain on it, but otherwise is hardly used.

I found my favorite quilt several years ago in a dumpster in a swanky neighborhood.  Like the 2 above, it was made in China.

It is a 90 inch square, machine pieced, hand quilted beauty.  I love the colors, the pineapple pattern, and the flying geese border.

I found it before I had actually quilted anything.  I had made 2 quilts, which I tied, because I did not yet have a sewing machine that could  quilt.  I have never had an interest in hand quilting.  It would take me forever and I know I would find the work tedious.  But I do really appreciate the work and skill that goes into hand quilting.

None of these quilts are particularly well made.  More than likely, they were made in a crowded factory setting, by young girls being paid far too little.

I don’t love them for their quality.  My first tied quilt was made better than any of these.  I love them all because a quilt, in some measure, represents love itself.  These quilts were abandoned because the people who had them before me were too lazy to do right by them.  None of them are even now ready for the landfill.  They may be old, faded, ripped, and ugly, but they are still functioning as proper quilts.

The pineapple one has inspired and comforted me.  When I study it, I wonder if the person who quilted it thought about where it would end up.  I think she invested it with her dreams as she quilted.

It is sad that so many in America think so little of their possessions that they toss out what still has use.

2 Responses

  1. It’s amazing that you found those quilts in the trash!! They’re great. If you didn’t want them for blankets, you could always sew or craft with them! Make them into pillows, stuffed animals, cover chairs with them?

    I used to walk around my neighborhood on trash day and photograph what people threw away, and then post it on my blog (just because it was so interesting). My readers always begged for more!

    • Thank you! I am always impressed with what people trash. Many charities even pick up, so I find people throwing out what is still good just plain lazy. I have a place near our front door for stuff we intend to donate to a local charity thrift store. When we are gonna be in that area, we take a bag to drop off. I wish more people did the same. Probably, my found quilts will be used till they are unusable by me as I tend to give away the quilts I make. Happy Crafting!

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