Populating Out of Nothing

Today is Anzac Day. It is a public holiday so I am free for the day. Free to be busy. I get to bed early at 0100hrs last night. I knocked off earlier than usual at 0000hrs because any additional hours would incur a double pay and the company wanted to avoid that.

As I turned in early, there wasn't any blog post. In fact, I hardly blog since I moved to our new place. Meaningful things have been keeping me busy, things such as what I did today. It was a big day and I knew it thus I made myself taking an early night. 

At 0900hrs I was knocking on someone's door in Melville. The Aussie gentleman opened his garage and offered 2 shelves in good condition. I took them gladly. Free of charge. I quickly drove home to unload the items. Melville is quite a distance from Gosnells. With 15 minutes to grab a glass of water, I was on the road again, this time to Southern River. I woke the guy up and he too, drew his garage shutters and showed me his couches. Too old, terrible condition. I gave an excuse my car was too small and left.

In case you are wondering, all these appointments were made prior to Wednesday. I packed them tightly to maximise my precious public holiday. I drove to Micky's place immediately and dragged him along with me to Huntingdale and again, rapped on someone's door. They dragged their office desk and chair out and we loaded it on Micky huge wagon. The chair went into the boot of Barry White. Now I have a desk. We are using it temporary as our dining table.

The moment we reached home, I unloaded the chair from Barry White and Jen hopped on and drove off with Penny because the next appointment was too tight. Jen set it while searching through Gumtree when I was in Southern River, upon my instruction. Fortunately the next location was at Gosnells, a mere minutes away. The girls got 4 proper chairs in good condition while Micky and I attended to the desk, removing it gently from his wagon so as not to damage any parts of his car.

Then it was time for a short break as Micky stayed for a chat and sipped hot cocoa with me. After Micky made his move home, I was on the prowl again. After scanning Gumtree, I managed to hook up with someone who wanted to give up their couch. I decided to give it another try after the first nasty couch encounter. It was a Malaysian family in Canning Vale. We chatted a while as I nervously lashed the sofa, putting my top bars to its first real test.

On the way home, Penny told me some folks on the road took pictures of Barry White with the sofa on top. I guessed it was a comical sight and it was going to facebook or something. Didn't care, I needed a sofa for the girls. We managed to make it home safely, told ya Barry White was quite superb. If you think I would let up, I didn't. I prowled Gumtree again and found someone living a few streets away giving out their old television. Of course I zoomed off again and return with a very well maintained old fashioned television. I plugged it in and tested. Picture perfect. It wasn't even dusty or anything. So now Jen and Penny has a sofa to sit on and a television to switch on to finally catch up with the rattle tattle of Patrick and Denise on what's on that night everyday.

Kick ass. I wanted to go on, I felt I could but I decided to give myself a break. Maybe I would do it again on Saturday. Too bad, I found a lot of fridges to be given out today but we already bought ours. Guess you can't plan them all. You may want a tally and I'll list it out for you.

Things I got from Gumtree for free:

1 coffee table (I got it on Tuesday I think)
1 office desk
1 couch
1 television
4 chairs
2 shelves
1 office chair

Not bad for a day's work isn't it? Special thanks to Micky (desk transportation) & Penny (navigation n lunch).

Something for the shoes

Office chair, the design sucks I know but otherwise good condition

One of the shelf, I place it by the door leading to the garage

Our make-shift dining table until better things happen

The television, it's very good trust me. Come and watch it.

The coffee table, already in use by the ladies

For the potatoes at home

With the sofa and the Barry and me-ee-ee

Arrived home but I can't get into the garage. Height limit heh heh

In fact I almost got a hen from Gumtree today too but I rejected it after I learnt they wanted to interview me. Guess they are afraid someone will eat the hen up instead of keeping her as a pet. Of course, I wanted to keep it as a pet outside the yard. Why not, it lays an egg everyday so I get a dozen of eggs per fortnight. I eat chicken but not live chicken and I eat eggs. Another time I guess.

You may call me cheapo. My sister would. On the serious side, tell me what is the minimum amount of money you need to get that list of items I gotten for free? Some may even argue I'll probably make more money if I work instead of spending the day picking things up. In reality, I was never going to be working today and the best way to leverage my time was to do what I did. These may be inferior goods compared to those money can buy but in truth none of these items are significant to our lives.

I mean, when they become a burden one day and encumbers me, I dump them without a second thought. With that freedom, I remain mobile and agile. Whereas many of you would be say 'heart pain' and hug your latest model of high definition, flat screen, 3D smart TV to sleep. Why? Because these cost you a bomb. 

And what is the problem with that? These money cost you a lot of man-days at work. Many of us exchange money for time by working for others remember? If we exchange that much money for unimportant things like furniture or appliances, we are exchanging our time for them. Time is a precious commodity, especially for Singaporeans. It is what we are struggling to squeeze out from our schedule so that we can spend more time with our loved ones and friends. We lament the lack of time to pursue our interests or recharge ourselves in a retreat. Yet we splurge on luxuries willingly, vanquishing the residue of our time for good.

If we work and spend meaninglessly we might as well not work, since we end up the same way as we are to start off with. Which do you prefer? Being surrounded by appliances, furniture, clothes and tech gadgets and penniless compared to not having needed to report to work at all, waking anytime you want tomorrow and penniless? 

I'm not sure about you, I'll choose the latter. In fact, I've done that before for 8 months of my life and I enjoyed it tremendously. The period of time allowed me to calm down from the hectic rat race and think over issues throughly. It was the time when I regained my sanity. I'm looking forward doing that again, when my chores are through.

The next time round I'll call it retirement not unemployment. 


  1. once again u show resourcefulness and diligence. bravo!

  2. Good. You're on the right track, dude. Gumtree's the best way about it for now.

  3. Your wooden-laminate floor looks similar to the one we have at home.
    We got it laid over our 2nd-hand public flat apartment after staying in its original tiled condition for about a decade, until our elder was born and the 2nd one was on the way.

    Only then could we fortunately afford a modest makeover.
    But no more for another at this time.

  4. amazing!the sofa on Barry White..:)
    good start! very exciting indeed

  5. There's only a single lashing on the sofa?? You are lucky the sofa did not slip to the side. It'll be terrible if it did...
    Amazed at what you did...
    You are indeed resourceful.

  6. Try www.quokka.com.au too , for free furniture etc. In suburbs like mosman park, east fremantle, it's quite typical for families who want to "upgrade" their furniture to leave their older stuffs outside their homes, free for grabs to all. I dont have a car so i've only wheeled home a kid's bike so far. Good luck!

  7. Once a year every suburb has a verge collection for old furniture and white goods,organized by the local council. This is a great place to pick up anything,from BBQs to outdoor furniture, to chairs and tables and sofas. You have to be quick though as everyone is out there collecting and it might only last minutes being on the verge.

  8. Sofa on barry looks cute! haha.

    Well, giving things away is one social norm that will not happen in SGP (or asia).

    1. Not entirely true. The hard part is getting someone who wants them... hahah. I've tried to give away mini-compos, TVs, fridge(all in good working condition) etc when I was moving few years back but nobody wanted them. I ended up selling most of them to garang-gunis..

    2. True... when i moved out of my house prior to prepping my Oz move, I discarded lots of my old furniture... most of them sold very cheaply on ebay, a few of them given away free to anyone who expressed interest.

      But, I agree that gumtree is a superb place to search for and list unwanted items for free - way better to recycle than just dump in the trash.

  9. yeah bro. the best things in life are free... i was retrenched back in 2009 and couldnt find work for a good 8 months, it wiped out my savings but taught myself a lot of things abt my life.. reflected a lot.. if you really try, u'll be amazed how little human beings can survive on even in singapore... sometimes now, i still miss the good old days when i was broke and unemployed... best days ever. haha..

  10. I love this posting, especially top heavy Barry white. It's amazing you got so much done in one day :)

  11. your local council general clean up day can also be a source for "picking up things" but better check with council first..

  12. Good on you! :) Too bad you live so far away as I have some things I want to give away (e.g. bed frame etc). You could also try Freecycle.org - there should be a section for your area in Perth too, as there are several for diff. parts of Sydney. Got my guitar, computer table, and 2 kettles (for work & also for a friend) FOC. Quality is very good indeed :)

  13. Over here in B.C., Canada, Criags List is popular for the freebies. Maybe you can try your local Criags List?

  14. Damn, sounds like real life adventuretime/ treasure hunt siah!