Scavengers’ Secret Business

Danny Sunbury Tip Shop Paint

“There is wealth in waste and riches in rubbish”  Karen Ellis / Scavenger Artisan

RUDE is asked all the time about TIP SHOPS.  There are various TIP SHOP models in Australia.  We are not going to discuss the various types here.  However, we do want to write a little bit about our experiences, having frequented a few TIP SHOPS.

A TIP SHOP is located at, or close by a landfill [rubbish dump].  It is usually a big shed that has been paid for by the local municipality [council] funded by ratepayers and/or State government sustainability grants.

The idea is that recyclable stuff, that was destined for landfill, is salvaged and sorted at these sheds.  The sheds have a sale area, so when stuff has been priced it is placed into these TIP SHOPS for sale.

RUDE started shopping at TIP SHOPS over 7 years ago.  Why?  OP SHOPS [charity and thrift stores] were becoming more retail and business focused.  RUDE does not really shop retail and prefers to rummage and scavenge around for unsorted junky stuff.  We found we could do this at TIP SHOPS.  For years, we have had loads of scavenging fun but alas, and not surprisingly, TIP SHOPS are now going the way of OP SHOPS.

We used to frequent our local TIP SHOP most days, a few years back, but these days we may go once a fortnight, if that.  Why?  We have enough and are over scavenging around at the moment.

From our anecdotal experience, there are lots of people who buy new things like clothes, appliances, furniture etc for themselves but supplement their pensions, incomes, retirement etc, by selling scavenged stuff on EBay and/or at trash and treasure type markets.  Two TIP SHOP scavengers have told RUDE they fund their yearly holiday this way. 

Scavenging has become more known about, by people who may never have scavenged before.  These days we find there’s not as much good junk to rummage through, as it has all been picked over.  And prices have increased which makes it less attractive to take any old junk home.  A good thing really.

RUDE has shopped at TIP SHOPS pretty much exclusively for 7 years.  What started as a cheeky Beat The Man project has resulted in a reuse and repair lifestyle.  We share our lifestyle because in the process, we discovered we could get off the treadmill [retire] by not consuming new.  We gathered others, just may be interested in some tips on how to do similar.   

Scavenger shopping gets a lot of interesting facial and verbal reactions.  And there will be scavengers who would not dare tell some friends and relatives that they rummage around TIP SHOPS.  RUDE is not so discreet and broadcasts it worldwide.  We do it in the hope that the stigma of secondhand is lessened.  And people following our antics, can see the financial and other benefits.

Believe us when we tell you, that when we drive up to TIP SHOPS, our 1996 Commodore is usually the oldest in the parking area.  Most vehicles we come across are newish, some are Mercs and BMs [Mercedes and BMWs] and many are huge four wheel drive vehicles.  Some towing trailers of the tandem variety!

RUDE dresses in old gardening clothes to go to a TIP SHOP but you can tell the secondhand dealers by the vehicles they drive, what they wear, what they carry, how long they stay, who they talk to, and what and whom about, and the junk pieces they select [usually retro stuff].  Even if you are not into scavenging, it’s just fun to visit a TIP SHOP to observe the anthropological antics going on.

What’s the weirdest encounter we have experienced in relation to TIP SHOPS? When we were told by bureaucrats to call our local TIP SHOP a Resale Centre. 

Snapshot 1 (15-07-2016 1-39 PM) Paint

RUDE Boy proudly promotes his local TIP SHOP

As if that was EVER going to happen.  The Aussie TIP SHOP is an icon that’s historical name is sacred to true blue scavengers.  RUDE Girl was inspired to rap [yes, rap sort off] about this weird encounter, in a video here.

You can Beat The Man by uncovering the secret business of TIP SHOP scavengers.

Should followers wish to know about TIP SHOPS run a cooperatives this is a good podcast out of Tasmania, Australia to listen to.  Here is the link below:

https://rtrfm.com.au/story/understorey-tips-for-tip-shops/

Below images from Aussie Tip Shops, Junkyards and Restorers Barns

 

Advertisements

Repair on the Run

Toss it, no way! ~ Repair Cafe International

600_445697824

Melbourne (Inner West) Repair Cafe is part of Repair Cafe International

RUDE had a fun and very busy few hours at the first Melbourne (inner west) Repair Cafe.  It was held in Seddon, Melbourne on 6 March, 2016. 

We had a drive down the highway, as the repair cafe we are participating in,  is not held in our town.  We were keen to make this event memorable. We arrived early at the cafe where the event was to be held.  Our mantra which is Beat The Man was foremost in our renegade repairer minds. 

The previous day, we had spent time trying to think what might be necessary to use.  It was a big unknown really but we gathered together enough but not too much, in order to mend and make do.  We were hoping that some fixees might also bring some of their own repair resources, like fabric for patching and appropriate coloured thread.

When the time came to start repairing, it was full on, with the cafe rocking repair.  RUDE Boy was thrilled to repair two vintage Planet lamps.  And I had a couple of garment repairs to keep me busy on the sewing machine.  There were two other fixers besides RUDE, also kept busy with repairs.  And our Repair Cafe organisers, triaged the repair jobs and gathered statistics. 

It demonstrated to me how resourceful I can be when the need arises, and is immediate.  Repair Cafe is not only a test of how quickly you can think on your feet but also your physical resilience to multitask.  I was literally juggling a couple of repairs at once, chatting with people, showing them how to repair and operating a sewing machine, filling out forms and having photos taken.

I guess debriefing in this blog post, has bought to mind speed dating.  Repair Cafe is akin to speed dating and could be titled speed mending!

Seriously, it was the most incredible reuse and repair experience for RUDE.  The best parts were meeting the fixees, discussing with them their precious and/or useful possessions before their items were repaired, and then showing them how to repair,
and interacting with them during the repair process.

The icing on the repair cafe cake was the photos taken of the fixers with their respective fixees.  The thing that stood out the most for RUDE Girl was there was not too much time to ponder and procrastinate over the repair. I just had to get to it, and mend and make do with what I had bought along.

 

Karen and Harley 6 mar 2016

RUDE Girl with Harley, who was shown how to sewing machine mend a very large hole, in a difficult spot,  on his favourite jeans.  Photo credit Doug Palmer

 

 

Karen and Hardie 6 mar 2016

RUDE Girl with Hardie who had a large rip in the knee of her favourite jeans.  She was shown by Barbara another textiles’ fixer at Repair Cafe [background on sewing machine] how to open up the seam of the leg.  Then RUDE Girl showed her how to patch by sewing machine and hand.  The patch is from a shirt rescued from landfill.  Photo credit Doug Palmer

 

SAMSUNG

The same recycled fabric from a recycled shirt, rescued from landfill that patched the jeans above, made this pocket pouch for the storage of our flash drives.

 

 

Karen and hardie B 6 mar 2016

A very easy fix of the shoulder pad on a bag strap that required some sewing machine stitching. Photo credit Doug Palmer

 

 

10171806_10153954808074808_5988970392443937818_n

RUDE Boy fixing two vintage Planet lamps that belonged to Lauren’s father.  Apparently she brought in the two lamps,  hoping for one to be fixed with the parts of the other.  But RUDE Boy was able to fix the both of them!  Photo credit Doug Palmer

 

 

Danny behind counter Rhubarb 6 Mar 2016

RUDE Boy’s talents did not go unnoticed by the venue’s staff.  As a thank you gesture for letting our Repair Cafe use her venue, he ended up helping behind the counter.  Photo credit Doug Palmer

Beat the Man by cutting out the middle man, and try speed mending.  It’s free and a blast!

Relish for Repair

ifixit_manifesto_592_0.png

via ifixit

There is one advantage to having nothing, it never needs repair.

RUDE have been continuing on with our de-cluttering.  We have undertaken the bulk of it.  RUDE Boy reckons we have easily taken a tonne of stuff to the local charity shops.  As time and energy permits we are now in the process of fine tuning storage of that stuff which remains.  And we still have to go through the photos and personal papers.  And the small storage shed in the backyard.

We feel lighter and more in control.  And are able to think about new projects for 2016. I made a decision to say cheerio to some unfinished projects from 2015.

Photos below: RUDE Girl’s first ever attempt at weaving.  I made up a cardboard loom and weaved this piece.  I decided that the loom was taking up too much room in my studio.  I took the fabric off the loom.  And I am going to make a small lined purse with a zipper.

Years ago RUDE attempted to get a Repair Cafe off and running in our town in the outer west of Melbourne.  The interest was just not there.   Then we lost interest due to the apathy.  We are not procrastinating types.  And we believe there was no point flogging a dead horse = life’s too short.

In 2016, and all going well we hope to volunteer some of our time and skills to the very first Repair Cafe in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  If we cannot have a Repair Cafe in our own suburb we will go to where one is happening.  Stick it to The Man, yey! 

Here is an article about the initiative and launch as follows:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-03/inner-west-repair-cafe-to-launch-at-sustainable-living-festival/7136218

The launch of Melbourne (Inner West) Repair Cafe will be on Sunday, 21st of February, 2016 from 11am to 3pm, in the Yarraville Gardens, Yarraville as part of its Living Future Festival during Sustainability Week.

RUDE Boy will be demonstrating as follows:

1.  how to fix a leaking garden hose

2. how to change a three point electrical plug on an electrical cord

and if any person brings along an electrical appliance that’s not working, he can test it with a multi meter.

RUDE Girl will be demonstrating as follows:

1.  what is sashiko mending?

2.  examples of basic sewing/mending

We will be in attendance for all of the event and will be chatting generally to the public about the first Repair Cafe on the 6th March at Rhubarb Wholefoods from 10am to 12md.

We hope to meet some of our blog followers in Yarraville on the 21st of this month or at future Repair Cafes.  Please come and say hi to us if you are in the area.

Check out the repair of RUDE Boy’s around the house shorts in this video

https://youtu.be/6rGrftNQagc

RUDE Boy’s now famous Fabiani shorts will be on display at the Repair Cafe launch event.  Kylie’s op shop hot pants [photo below] do not even compare.

images

You can Beat The Man by saying no to buying new, until you are sure an item cannot be repaired, by the friendly tinkers and tailors at your local Repair Cafe.

Trashed Textiles

I remember at the age of five travelling on a trolley car with my mother past a group of women on a picket line at a textile plant, seeing them being viciously beaten by security people. So that kind of thing stayed with me.

Noam Chomsky

images


RUDE Girl could not agree more with Dorothy Cosonas .  When I go down to the point of landfill to rescue textiles, destined for the garment graveyard, my eyes are seriously focused on the pile of clothes and fabrics in front of me.

SAMSUNG

Textiles in a TIP SHOP at point of landfill

I have like a sixth sense for what it is I am seeking, among the mostly fast fashion synthetics.  I scourer for natural fibre fabric, unusual print, different texture, interesting colours, country of origin, brand, quality stitching and unique design.  I will not overlook tired synthetics totally, and have picked up clothes for around the house and garden. 

I am really pleased that most of the textiles I rescue, are not of interest to other pickers.  If they were, then I would definitely not find them to rescue.  These would have been snatched up by other pickers, right?


Photos above:  Place mouse over each photo and click to get details.

I usually do not know at the time what I will be reusing the rescued garments for.  The inspiration comes during the sorting and washing process at home.  Or at a later time when I am in my studio creating.  It’s reassuring to know I have a stash of rescued garments that I can immediately revisit for reuse.

The challenge I find, is keeping this stash of garments under manageable control.  Because I make just for myself,  I find I can only wear so much that I re-create.  Once or twice a year I have an audit and decide what is to be given to to friends or donated to charity.

Beat The ‘fast fashion’ Man by wearing trashed textiles that have been rescued and revamped.

Rags to Britches and Riches

128801637b4ef72ca299c76d2703baf5
RUDE Boy loves these very old Wavezone shorts.  I do imagine any other guy wearing them for two summers, and then using the fabric as rags.  Or more than likely, discarding the shorts into the recycling bin because they were no longer ‘on trend’.

RUDE Girl even made a movie of these shorts this year.  It was sent it to Mr Wu CEO Wavezone in China.  The movie did not attract a response.  Never mind, it was not expected that I would get a reply.  I only hope it received a reaction of incredulous disbelief.

You can watch the first video here which was created for Fashion Revolution Day 2015.

RUDE Boy wears these shorts A LOT!!  Since the first video was made, he has worn more holes through the thinning fabric and previous patches.  For RUDE Girl, it has become like a quest to keep these shorts wearable, and out of the rag-bag.  I work at creating layers for durability and strength.  My inspiration comes from sashiko method of patching and stitching.

Here is the second video in the life of RUDE Boys Wavezone raggedy britches.  It explains how I have mended and patched them for the third time.

RUDE Boy, go Beat The Man [Mr Wu from Wavezone] and keep rockin saggy britches a la scavenger style! 

SAMSUNG

RUDE Boy loves his raggedy and rude britches

RUDE Repairs

index
RUDE has been travelling around this last week and we are still on the road.  This week’s blog post will be short and sweet.

Before we left home, we tried some Selley’s Shoe Glue which came highly recommended from a Byron Bay Shoemaker.  We have glued the bits needing to be repaired.  As yet RUDE Girl has not had a chance to test the repair on these boots which were scored from a neighbour’s GARAGE SALE for $4 total.  Check out the video below.

https://youtu.be/-BElu16Odkw

RUDE girl will mend anything, even old undies, with a bit of life left in them.  The $22 for these Bonds trunks is a bit over the top, so we try to buy up big when they are on special for half price.  These are worth framing at $22 but for $10 they are definitely worth mending.  Check out the video below.

https://youtu.be/SwboZcw0VYg

On our travels this week, RUDE girl scored a little round vintage sewing basket.

SAMSUNG

Vintage Sewing Basket circa 1970s

I have seen these in Vinnies and The Salvos charity stores for $6 to $8, and not in as good as condition.  This little cutie cost $1 but it required a quick fix repair job, as explained in the video below:

https://youtu.be/cNIVPT4z96w
RUDE boy has worn a large hole through another pair of his vintage red tab Levi’s.  You may have read that US Levi stores and outlets are giving 20 per cent off vouchers for old jeans.  You can read more here.  If this incentive was in Australia, there is no way the Levi company would be getting RUDE Boy’s vintage jeans.  They are priceless and cannot be bought back.

SAMSUNG

RUDE Boy’s priceless vintage red tab Levi denim jeans ready for sashiko mending.

I have unpicked the seams, so that when I return home next week, I can start to sashiko mend a third pair of RUDE boy’s jeans.  Check out the video below.

https://youtu.be/wk8OzEhG3aU

Beat The Man and repair!  It’s fun and very rewarding.

A Few Favourite Things

The best things in life are unexpected – because there were no expectations.

Eli Khamarov

SAMSUNG

A favourite children’s book rescued from landfill. Was originally a library book.

This Friday’s blog post is going to arrive late, and a bit wanting.  It is 7.30 pm in Melbourne, Australia and RUDE has been unexpectedly distracted.  And like the quote above when there are no expectations wonderful things do happen.

Firstly before we share what we have been doing, I want to let you know that in last week’s blog post I was not really crying at the funeral of our old oven.  It was staged for the first owners of the house.  They had built the house, and were very kind to us when we bought it off them.  We send them details of what is happening to their old home once or twice a year.

Anyway back to what unexpectedly distracted us this afternoon.  RUDE went down to our recycling facility’s Tip Shop.  We go about once a week these days.  The place is overrun with market traders and on-line sellers who are ruthless.  We are only interested in things for our personal use.  We prefer to scavenge around when it is quiet, and today it was because it has been very cold in Melbourne.

We had a great score today with six contemporary style dining room chairs in very good condition.  I also managed to pick up a big bag of garments for refashion.  We scored a working toaster, a brand new kettle, a 1976 sewing book by Woman’s Day, a small bedside chest of drawers and some other bits and bobs.

Of course when we got all these things home there was work involved.  Clothes have to be soaked overnight.  The chairs had to be vacuumed and wiped down.  And the bedside table had to be cleaned and positioned for immediate service.

It was then dinner time and my blog post had not been given any thought, other than I must write it.  This week we will share just a few things that we have scored for next to nothing but have used over and over again.  It’s a good example of what people throw away.  And what other people, like us, make very good use of. 

20150716_143827

A compressor rescued from landfill. It was working but had a broken air gauge. RUDE boy repaired it and the gauge is working now.

20150716_144228

Water pressure unit for all sorts of cleaning jobs around the house. Rescued from landfill. It did not work. RUDE Boy replaced the power lead and it works now, yey!

SAMSUNG

RUDE’S three favourite knives.

The knives come from various places.  The top knife is amazingly sharp and was made in Portugal.  it’s great for cutting and slicing meat.  It cost $1.00 at a little charity shop in rural Victoria.

The middle knife is serrated and is great for slicing tomatoes.  It cost $0.00 and was found in the rubbish bin at the Tip Shop.

The bottom knife is a gem, and we have never been able to find this brand of knife in the shops or online from memory.  It is made in Italy, and is an all-purpose knife that cuts a treat.  It probably cost 50 cents in a charity shop many years ago.  It has never needed to be sharpened.

There was absolutely every expectation these knives were blunt when they were taken home by us.  All three have exceeded expectation, and have bought such joy to the task of food preparation. 

I will be showing in a future blog post our new chairs but I will share the very dirty toaster we bought it for $1.00.  We only ever pay that much for this type of electrical item as again we expect it not to be working.

SAMSUNG

Very dirty Ronson brand crumpets and bread toaster. RUDE Boy has it on the sink for testing and cleaning.

SAMSUNG

Orange handbag bag with chocolate-brown handles. Brand unknown. Not leather but loved the colour and shape.

Beat The Man by not expecting too much.  Anything over and above can turn out to be the best thing!