Another man’s treasure

One thing I’ve learned in my ten years in this neighborhood: if you put something out on the curb that might have some actual value, it will be gone long before the city sends the truck. I must assume that this is also the case elsewhere.

Some folks do a pretty impressive job of collection, too:

My big framed Ansel Adams poster of a snowy tree? The neighbors two streets over were throwing it out (along with two seascapes and some mirror candle sconces). The rattan end table on our Florida room? Another neighbor. The Ikea chair and foot stool in the office? Left behind when another neighbor moved out. Candles, sheets, picture frames, fabric, canned food, mirrors of every kind, clothing, lamps, furniture, fancy shower curtain rod; all found on the streets. I won’t say that you will find everything you need, and certainly never right when you need it, but there sure is a lot of stuff out there going begging.

I have had reasonably good fortune with fabric, without even having to go looking for it: I’ve had half a dozen towels (two big enough for bath use) blow into the yard. I’m wondering if I should toss out the curtain rod that fell on my head in the garage this past weekend.


  1. JT »

    3 March 2014 · 9:07 pm

    Been on the sending and receiving end of that. It’s like a scroungers version of the neighborhood yard sale. Best find was a lawnmower that I saw my neighbor put out (“It doesn’t run well”). Turned out all it needed was a good shot of carb cleaner and some fresh gas. Used it for 4 years then sold it during one of the neighborhood yard sales.

  2. CGHill »

    3 March 2014 · 9:09 pm

    I tossed a lawn mower once, but it was leaking oil. Just the same, it vanished in a matter of hours.

  3. Bill Peschel »

    4 March 2014 · 7:33 am

    Thanks for noticing, C.G. Our big find last week was a 36″ TV from 1999 our new neighbor was disposing of. The screen image tilted a bit to the right, and there was a red patch in one corner, blue in the opposite. My 15-year-old son fiddled with the options and cleared up both problems in a few minutes. It doesn’t have that sharpness the new TVs have, but you can’t beat the price.

  4. fillyjonk »

    4 March 2014 · 7:36 am

    In my parents’ neighborhood, broken “mechanical” things (e.g., vacuum cleaners) seem to get hauled off fairly regularly.

    One of my grad-school buddies scored an almost-new printer that was just out of ink. Apparently the more-money-than-brains person who owned it didn’t realize you could REPLACE ink cartridges. Durr.

  5. McGehee »

    4 March 2014 · 8:43 am

    The reason we replaced our inkjet printer was that the printer cartridges would dry out and clog before they ran out. We didn’t put it at the curb though.

    In our old neighborhood there aren’t enough casual passersby to loot a junk pile placed along the street. In our current one we once had someone make off with our just-emptied-and-not-yet-retrieved trash barrel.

  6. Roger Green »

    5 March 2014 · 2:45 am

    Yup. Lots of students here. Any piece of usable furniture that goes out is snapped up, some by individuals with need, but most by resellers.

RSS feed for comments on this post