I really do try to keep my time spent on craigslist to a minimum. I also harness my impulse to pick up things that I don't have an immediate use in mind for. At garage sales Christy and I will usually debate very seriously about the merits of anything one of us deems useful. That being said, we have scored some great stuff out there! The jackpot seems to be construction site leftovers. We went to a construction site two years ago and loaded up at least $2000 worth of unused lumber for $200! Some of it pressure treated, most of it 2X6s, with some headers and a few really gorgeous 2X12s. We also took some of their extra nails, brackets, tarps, rebar, PVC and perf pipe. I'm still super happy we took it all, but there's a lot that we haven't gotten around to using. Before the wedding we piled it all behind the shop, covered it with a tarp and there it stayed, an unorganized mess.
While working through our February to-do list, we decided that the pile had to find a better, more organized home. Initially, we thought about building a rack out of some 1'' tube steel we recently acquired (for free!), but the weight of all that lumber posed some difficult structural engineering problems for such a light material.
While considering these problems, Christy happened to be serving a metal worker at the restaurant where we work. He casually mentioned to her that we could peruse his scrap pile anytime. She got his number and within the week we showed up in my trusty rusty pickup! What did he have sitting in there but cut-up pieces of an industrial rack system! We loaded up enough for our lumber rack, and another rack we'll use when house framing starts, as well as several boxes of nails and brackets for a grand total of $90! The nails alone would have cost that new, and we'll use them all on the house!
Yesterday we assembled the largest segments of the rack and began the tedious process of sorting through our pile of goodies. Where once we had a tarp-covered beaver's nest, we now have a lovely assortment of usable lumber arranged by size, with pressure treated separated, other assorted building materials on top and tarps folded up underneath. I don't have a 'before' picture of the pile because, frankly, it was embarrassing. It's still not the prettiest thing around, but take my word for it, it's a huge improvement!
One man's trash often seems to be our treasure.