Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hippie Christmas

On August 14 at noon, all student leases expire in Madison. They don't start again until August 15 at noon. This means lots and lots of students pack up their cars and moving trucks with whatever they can squeeze in, then go stay at a friend's house, or get a motel, or camp on the lawn of their new place.

You'd think, considering how many are affected by this, there would be a better system in place. Moving is stressful enough anyway - students don't need to add a night of homelessness to their sorrows. But in the meantime, while the homeless anxiously await 12 p.m. on 8/15... others come to prey on the abandoned corpses of their former lives.

We call this Hippie Christmas, or curb shopping. All the items students couldn't shove in their cars are left out on the curb for anyone who can squeeze them in their vehicle. You can find almost anything you're looking for at Hippie Christmas: laundry detergent, unopened food, wrapping paper, and (my favorite for this year) furniture. As a rule, we stayed away from anything soft, but our haul was still beautiful.

In conjunction with this lovely event, people often have thrift sales. Yes, everyone's cars may be full of stuff already, but they're usually willing to pay for an item they like if all their other stuff was free.

At a thrift sale down the street, I got this mug.

Beautiful, isn't it? I have so much of my mother in me.

We also got two Ikea chairs, for a total of $5. Here it is, next to the fireplace that isn't ours.

Our free stuff included a matching set of white shelves, one slightly narrower than the other. These match the shorter white shelf with little cubby holes at the bottom, retrieved from my sister before she curbed it.

They also match this tissue holder/mini closet, which is a bit unstable but really just needs super glue.

Joe and Kaelin, in their scavenging, found us this gorgeous entertainment center - which actually fits our monstrosity of a TV.

They also discovered this nightstand/end table, which is as wide as it is long. Big, but gorgeous.

Last but not least, I think this is my favorite piece: a little round table with gold filigree.

As you can see, there are little chips in the paint all the way around, but it's not enough to detract from how pretty it is. The top is very scuffed, but a coat of paint will make it like new.

Our other big find was an Epson photo-quality printer, which Spousal Unit said retails for $70 at Best Buy. There's no USB cord, but it was still in the styrofoam and came with software, so we're pretty hyped about that.

Quite the haul for us. These pieces all required a lot of cleaning, of course. One of the white shelves appeared to be stained very badly on top, but it turned out to just need a cleaning - good as new, save for some minor water damage. I'm very impressed that we found all the matching white furniture (which I get to paint!), and our host friends found the matching wood furniture. With the garage sale items, we paid $5.50 for all of this, plus a little in gas. A very good price.

Now, once we can afford a place, it won't be completely empty. The only furniture we'll have to spend money on will be a mattress and box frame. I am so okay with that.


  1. Ah, Hippie Christmas. I'm kind of sad that I didn't take better advantage of it when I lived in Madison. Great haul, guys!

  2. Wonderful pieces. Don't forget, I still have things for you.


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