For week 15 of my year-long experiment in giving stuff away, I passed on a freebie that I'd picked up through a local online forum, without using it in any way.
This splendid, genuinely vintage wallpaper lay untouched in our under-stairs cupboard for weeks, before I decided that I just don't have the time or energy at the moment to dream up some creative use for the two vinyl-coated, funky-but-menacing rolls.
So, I put them back onto the same online forum, and they were snapped up within a day by someone who I imagine might use them to coat the inside of a cupboard, creating a stylish seventies surprise for whoever chooses to open its doors.
Some shops are designed to make you buy things you never knew you wanted (and possibly still won't want after you've left the shop, when the spell of its dazzling lights and subliminal odours has worn off).
The same can be said of scouting around for free stuff, whether that's on the local streets, or via the internet. The allure of something you don't have to pay for can override the natural caution that stop you forking out money for useless items.
'Do I really want this?'
'Who knows. It's free, so....what the hell?'
And so you end up with two huge rolls of garish plastic wallpaper.
The flip side is that throwing up your hands to fortune and accepting the gifts that are sent in your direction means your home can end up filled with surprises that you've chosen (because you've bothered to pick them up from the roadside), but which have also - via the help of serendipidity and clutter-clearing neighbours - chosen YOU. And, in my view, there's something beautiful about allowing the karma of the kerbside to shape the way you furnish your home.
This force is at work in our own house. For instance, it would have taken us years before getting round to unearthing a corner of our bedroom from carrier bags of old clothes, if it weren't for this tall unit, which I found the other week on our street:
Many a grown-up visitor has been bamboozled by this deceptively difficult puzzle, which we took to be a child's game left out by a neighbour. Instead, we have a ready-made intelligence test, perfect for winkling out the brainy ones amongst our friends.
And what home would be complete without this strange, elephantine green thing (another street find)?
Our Time of Gifts is my year-long adventure in sharing. Each week, I will loan or give something away, then see what the universe brings to my doorstep....
Click here to find out more about Our Time of Gifts.
Have you given away, or shared anything recently? Do you have a gift-giving story to tell? I'm putting together an Our Time of Gifts round-up for 12th November, and would love it if you could tweet me @NellHeshram (or email email@example.com) by 9th November with your posts. I'm dying to read them.