Nothing’s nicer on a cold, rainy night than a crackling blaze in your fireplace or woodstove. Pull up an afghan and a hot cup of tea, and you’ll be all set. The only problem is if funds are limited, you’ve got to find and store that firewood first!
Five Places To Find Firewood
- Work for it. Did your neighbor just get a cord or two delivered? Offer to stack it, for a share.
- Spend some time in the great outdoors. Permits are not that expensive, and allow you to cut cords of wood — plus enjoy a camping weekend. Or pick up loose wood as you go — loggers leave behind plenty of short cuts and smaller pieces when they cut trees.
- Get it from the source. Wood-trimming companies will offer wood from the trees they’re cutting down for clients — generally all you have to do is pick it up, then split and cut it to size. Check your local Craigslist under “free firewood:” many companies mention where and when they’ll be.
- Check alleys, trash piles – or the side of the road. Pallets are often had for the taking, propped next to dumpsters. Wood pieces can be found out for the trash or alongside the road, as well. Stop and pick them up right away — most probably, they won’t be there tomorrow.
- Construction piles and company leftovers are great. Look for broken boards or wood chunks that can be used for your fireplace. (We also keep leftover pieces from renovation projects — ours and the neighbors.) One local company here in Colorado sells long bundles of hardwood trimmings for $20 — a bundle so large you’ll need a truck to pick it up!
Five Places To Store Firewood
- Le Garbage Can. Now you’ve got your firewood, you’ll want to store it for use. A large plastic garbage can holds your wood — and keeps kindling and smaller pieces in one tidy place.
- Stack it. This is the traditional way to store firewood. Just stack it in graduated rows, from big to small. Make it at least knee to waist-high, and it’s easy to run out in the snow and pull off a few pieces.
- Feeling Charitable. Donna over at Funky Junk interiors has an unusual way to keep her wood clean and dry: she piles it on her porch furniture during cold weather. (Hey, it’s not in use right then — why not?)
- Waterer =Wood-holder. We keep a round metal water bucket out on the porch for our dogs in the summer — that way, they can get a drink of cool water whenever they wish. Come late autumn, that same bucket holds a good-sized stack of wood, instead. You can also do this with small stock watering troughs or barrel planters. They fit on a small balcony, then can be filled with dirt and used for gardening next spring.
- Baskets are beautiful. Especially large, strong ones. These keep one or two fires’-worth of logs in a convenient spot by our fireplace. That way, we’ve got dry wood at a moment’s notice.
Now stretch your toes out to that cozy, crackling blaze, and feel smug.
Cindy Brick is a personal property appraiser, judge and national teacher who loves to write about frugality and other personal finance topics. She has written six books and hundreds of articles, but often focuses on quilting, her teaching specialty. She lives in Colorado with her husband, two golden labs and a flock of very suspicious chickens. Find out more at Brickworks, http://www.cindybrick.com, or visit her personal blog: http://www.cindybrick.blogspot.com