Photos by Paul Flessland and Kelly Binfet
Kelly Binfet is the queen of cleanup week and this year, she took us along for the ride. We followed Binfet as she searched the streets for hidden treasures that she could transform into repurposed pieces.
She also shared her do’s and don’ts for cleanup week, which would come in handy for any amateur picker.
WHAT SHE LOOKS FOR
One thing that Binfet is always on the lookout for is reclaimed wood. She especially likes painted wood that she can use to make patio chairs for their famous deck. Binfet also has to make sure that her reclaimed wood is not wet or rotten because she has to be able to reuse it.
Recently, Binfet and her husband made this window box out of reclaimed wood.
Even her headboard is made out of reclaimed wood that Binfet picked off of the curb.
Binfet finds broken adirondack chairs that she can add reclaimed wood to and make sturdy again.
THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF PICKING:
1. Drive carefully.
Binfet recommends using your hazards when driving around during cleanup week because your vehicle will likely be making frequent stops.
2. Start early.
Binfet has found that the best time to go picking during cleanup week is early in the morning on the weekend because that’s when people start putting their “junk” out on the curb. When your job is junk there is always going to be a mess somewhere.
3. “If you see something, stop, because it’ll be gone if you circle the block,” said Binfet.
4. Don’t get confrontational.
Binfet is no stranger to the dangers of picking. For example, Binfet almost had her favorite find, a vintage dresser, taken right out from under her nose.
“I was out of my car and I had my hands on top of it, and the person said, ‘I was going to grab that,’ and I said, ‘I’m sorry. I already found it.’ I think would have challenged me a little, but I had taken one of the drawers out and I had already put it in my car. I’ve learned don’t leave it if it’s a good one, and that one is by far my favorite thing that I’ve ever grabbed.”
However, Binfet often takes her young family members picking with her, and she always tells them that one piece isn’t worth dealing with a confrontational picker.
5. “You can’t take everything,” Binfet said. Because she has limited storage space, Binfet has occasionally had to hold back when picking. However, this has also helped her figure out which pieces she really wants.