WHEN I MOVED to Buckingham Road two years ago, I didn’t expect to end up furnishing my new flat with junk from the street. What I discovered was a whole new world of street treasures, from abandoned tables and chairs to plant pots and bookcases. Almost every day that summer I experienced a feeling of complete joy as I came across yet another dumpster flanked by items just waiting for someone to welcome them into their home.
My successful finds include: a record player stand, a cat picture, an office chair, mugs, plates, wine glasses, a noodles bowl, a plant that looks like a sea monster, a shoe rack, numerous books, DVDs, a Klimt print, a Rubik’s cube, Moroccan-style tea-light holders, drumsticks, neon paint, scissors, a bedside table, and many other useful and useless items.
Once, when coming back from a night out with a previous housemate, we were delighted to find a huge oak table near The Edinburgh pub. It took us three tries to navigate through the corridor and lug it safely into the living room. The streets have also gifted us countless wine glasses, which have proved incredibly useful as my birthday parties inevitably end up with multiple glassware casualties.
I feel I’ve been granted a glimpse into the lives of current and previous neighbours through items like the surreal architectural plans I found; a student’s doodles and sketches; and a copy of ‘A Girl is a Half-formed Thing’ with a poignant post-it note still in the front cover: “The last few months have been amazing. . .”
Now, when walking with my housemate Manda, I am physically unable to pass a dumpster without having a quick check to see if any treasures are lying around. “We don’t need those bits of cardboard, Annie!” she tries to tell me. I used to find my dad’s habit of looking in skips for “useful bits of wood” embarrassing, but turns out it has definitely rubbed off on me. Like father like daughter.
So, at the risk of becoming a hoarder, I won’t be giving up my collecting habit any time soon, but maybe now I’ll start giving back to the streets that have been so generous to me.