The Tale of Two Washers

Washing Machine

We’re big on buying ahead in my house, and over the years it’s saved us quite a bit of money. I shop a couple sizes ahead for the kids. So, when they shoot up several inches over night, I’m able to replace their outgrown shoes and clothes without a trip to the store.

But our buying ahead goes much further than that. If we come across a duplicate of an item that we love when we’re out yard saling or thrift storing, we’ll often buy it, and stash it in the basement for the day when the original dies. And this has proven to be a great strategy for us. When one of our drinking glasses breaks, we just run down to the basement for a replacement. It keeps us from getting upset about an accident, and ensures that our set remains complete.

I also have replacements on stand by for my food processor and a few other expensive kitchen items. I don’t want to get stuck paying retail for these items when they finally reach the end of their lives. So, I’m happy to store that $200 food processor that someone is selling at their yard sale for $10 until I need it.

And in the meantime, when I get into a big kitchen project, and find a second food processor would be handy, I can always haul it upstairs for the day.

Now obviously, this savings strategy requires a fair amount of storage space. And some things just take up too much space to buy ahead.

That’s definitely what we were thinking last Friday when we came across the twin to our much-loved washing machine at an estate sale. We’ve had our washer for 13 years, and we haven’t had a bit of trouble out of it. Still, it’s getting old, and it’s hard to say how much longer it will last. Dryers are easy to repair (we’ve already repaired ours once), but washers are a whole other story.

And I have to say, I’m really not eager to buy a new washer. Aside from the expense, they just don’t last as long as they used to, and I have no desire to own a front loader. They’re pretty, but they’re prone to mildew, and I’m not sure how you’d dye fabric in a front loader. I realize that’s not a normal person consideration, but it is a consideration in our house. We’re crafty, maker types.

So, we found ourselves contemplating the purchase of this washer. It was unbelievably clean, and had only been used to wash one elderly woman’s clothes. No doubt it had a lot of years left in it.

And did I mention they were only asking $40 for it? Yep, that pretty much cinched the deal for us.

We grumbled at the thought of making space for it in the basement, but ultimately, it was too good of a deal to pass up. So, we hauled it home, and you know what happened next? Our washer died on Sunday.

Not. even. kidding.

My husband hooked up the new washer, and we continued on with our laundry marathon.

He’s going to see if our old washer is repairable. If it isn’t, we’ll scrap it, and get some of our $40 back.

Either way, I’d say we got a heck of a deal. $40 wouldn’t even cover the tax on a new washer.

Do You Buy Ahead?

I’d love to hear what items you buy before you need them.

First Finds of February

When I got up yesterday morning, I spotted a new curb pile a street down from us. A BIG curb pile. That’s exciting any time of year, but it’s especially exciting this time of year, when the piles are few and far between. We raced down to take a look, and I’m so glad we did. Here’s what we rescued.

Kitchen Cabinets

Four upper kitchen cabinets. We have enough kitchen base cabinets for the cabin, but we didn’t have enough uppers yet. Looks like we do now. These will look great after a good scrub and a couple fresh coats of paint. [Read more…]

New Year’s Curb Finds

Normally the winter months are not good for curb shopping, but January is kind of the exception. People get busy on their New Year’s resolutions to clean out their homes and get organized, and suddenly good stuff starts to pile up at the curb. Really good stuff.

Like the stuff that my husband snagged on Friday while taking the kids to school. Here’s what I found waiting for me downstairs when I crawled out of bed.

Electric Stove

An electric stove We looked it up on Amazon, and this little stove is capable of heating up to a 400 square foot space. It currently sells for $148. The plug was broken (one of the prongs had come out), so we’ll put a new plug on it, test it to make sure everything is operating properly, and then take it up to our cabin. We don’t have electricity up there yet, but once we do, I’m thinking this will be just the thing to keep us warm overnight, once the fire in our wood stove starts to die down. Sure beats getting up a bunch of times to add wood to the fire.

Green Bookshelf

A solid-wood bookshelf It’s really close to the color that I painted the floors in the cabin, and should work beautifully as a pantry. I’m imagining it tucked between the two windows on the back wall of the kitchen.

Green Shelf Closeup

It has a small footprint, so it’ll add a lot of storage space, without tying up a bunch of floor space.

I can’t wait to haul it up to the cabin.

Have you found anything good in curb piles this month? I’d love to hear about it.

Curb Find Farm Table: Before and After

Curb Find: Farm Table

Remember this farm table that my husband and I rescued from a neighbor’s curb pile a couple years ago? It had definitely seen better days. The table top was covered in tar paper; the legs on one end of the table were shorter than the ones on the other end; and a wood block had been added to one corner, presumably so a meat grinder, vice grip or something similar could be attached to the table.

Well, we finally gave it a makeover this week. We’ve been using it in our cabin for the past year, wonky legs and all, so it was well past time. [Read more…]