7 Tips For Finding Curb Side Treasures

Finding, as well as identifying, great curb finds is both an art and science. Each furniture painting artist has their own methodology of curb scouting that involves equal parts strategy, good luck and a discriminating eye.

Being a stay at home mom and running a chalky finish paint brand doesn't leave much time to randomly scour the neighborhoods. Don't get me wrong... there are days when the up-cycle planets do align and a piece crosses my path while shuttling the kids between team practices... but, sadly, those days are rare. If you're like me, maximizing your time to achieve the highest results is essential. Over the last few years I've created a few personal guidelines for finding curbside treasures. Check them out and give it a try... I guarantee you'll feel like an up-cycle guru in no time!

Porch Nook | Before & After

1) Wave Your Upcycle-Nerd-Flag High

The very nature of taking someone else's junk requires you to not care what other people think. In the beginning I felt a little uncomfortable, I admit it. Standing in front of a stranger's home, rummaging through their unwanted belongings, avoiding eye contact by those passing by... for some it's a lot to deal with. 

Like everything else in life, it just takes a little practice to break through this insecurity. Just remember what you're doing is better for the environment, financially savvy... and if you don't pick it up someone else will!

"Charcoal", 15.5 fl. oz. - Chalky Finish Paint by Porch Nook

2) Set Yourself Up For Success

There is nothing worse than coming across an amazing piece and then having to abandon it because you 1) can't fit it in your car, 2) are not strong enough to move it, or 3) are afraid it will scratch your car during the moving process. These obstacles can be easily remedied with just a few supplies stored in your car.

(Disclosure: I receive commission for purchases made using Amazon links in my article. I appreciate your support!)

TruePower 18" X 12" Mover's Dolly, 1000lbs Furniture Appliance, 4 x 3" Rubber Swiveable CastersMover's Dolly #CommissionEarned - A parking spot conveniently located next to your curb find is not always available. Instead of carrying the piece around the block, you can simply place it on a moving trolley and push it along.  So civil. 

Moving Blanket for Protecting Furniture- Heavy Duty Recycled Cotton Padded Tarp, Multi Purpose- Pets, Camping, Hunting, Picnics and More by StalwartMoving Blankets #CommissionEarned - These will save you from scatching up your car and new found treasure. To load, I like to drape a blanket along the edge of my open trunk and back bumper so I can simply lean a big piece into the back of the car and then just slide it in. I also like to cacoon the piece entirely with blankets and then wrap it up with a roll of seran wrap.

Bungie cords #CommissionEarned - These come in handy if the piece is too big to close your trunk door. They can also help keep cabinet doors shut. 

Lifting Straps #CommissionEarned - Being a woman, these have saved me many times. Better for the back as well. 

Baby Wipes #CommissionEarned - Questionable, decades old schmutz is never fun. That's all I'm say'n.

Moving Gloves #CommissionEarned - When lifting a piece from the bottom or interior cabinet you may come across some sharp edges or nails. Durable gloves with some padding will save you a lot of pain... and possibly a tetanus shot.

(Disclosure: I receive commission for purchases made using Amazon links in my article. I appreciate your support!)

3) Memorize Move-Out Dates

Make moving days your business. Investigate the common lease start dates for rentals in your area and the turnover dates for any local universities. Anything that equals lots of people moving will equal massive amounts of giveaways.

4) The Seasons of Junk

Depending on the climate of your region, it’s possible your junk hunts will experience seasonal shifts. Summer and fall are general high seasons for the midwest and northeast.  One of the many reasons I was excited to move to Folsom, California... curb find season is EVERY season!

5) Don’t Hunt On Actual Trash Nights

Saturdays and Sundays are prime curb find days because that is when people take the time to purge their households. More specifically, basements and attics. The weekdays, when people set out their stinky trash barrels, aren’t usually optimal for the type of hunting we’re interested in. 

6) Leave No Treaseure Unattended

If you encounter a sweet curb find, beware of leaving it alone to retrieve your car. I highly recommend using the buddy system and deputize one person to squat on the prize. Just remember, if you’re hunting that means others are hunting, too.

7) Seek Quality

Be discerning in the pieces you collect. Furniture made of solid wood I grab without hesitation, even if it's an ugly color or slightly damaged. The refurbishing possibilities will be endless! However, I think twice before grabbing a piece made of partical board or poorly constructed (ie: Ikea). The moment you begin to question the integrity of a piece, walk away.

To find great junk is a virtuous cycle. By taking an item destined for a landfill, you’re helping yourself by saving money and you’re helping the environment by reusing a discarded thing. You’re now armed with the knowledge to pursue the curb finds of your dreams. Go forth and may you turn to treasure what others have so carelessly tossed away! 


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