Archive for June, 2010

Everything in your house is FREE?!?!?!

While I didn’t get a chance to hit any curb alerts today, I went to a free house sale.  Similar to a yard sale, a house sale occurs when an owner/tenant decides to get rid of most of the items in their home.  I happened to find an ad on Craigslist advertising a house sale where everything was FREE.  My partner and I got up very early so we would be there at the start time.  We traveled 40 minutes each way.  It was definitely worth it!  10 minutes before the start time, there had to be at least 20 people waiting.

5 minutes after the start time, a woman arrived and let us in.  Everything left in the house was free, with a few exceptions (such as air conditioners and blinds).  I was like a kid in a candy store.  I found everything from plastic storage bins, to bottled water and furniture.  There was even a free working refrigerator, pet items and clothes.

The woman’s generosity amazed me.  She told me that she had never heard of Craigslist until she told a coworker that she had a bunch of stuff she wanted to get rid of.  The coworker suggested the Craigslist free section and it was all history from there.

What a way to recycle and help others at the same time.

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At It Again

The family took a break from curbside recycling as gas and storage was quickly becoming a problem.  Going out every night is fun, but it consumes a lot of gas since we are riding around in an SUV.  We decided to go out to hit a curb alert for furniture that we found on the craigslist website free section.  When we arrived, the furniture we were hoping to grab (a dining room set and chairs) was gone.  It looked like the only things left were actual trash besides an Ikea chair.  I liked the chair despite it having an ugly metal base, but left it there.  Where would I put it?

From there, we decided to go check out our favorite area of town.  One part of the neighborhood is always having trash pickup the following day (except for Sundays), so we knew we would find something.

The night was pretty slow.  One thing we hadn’t bargained on finding was another couple “shopping” in our spot!  I didn’t care when I first saw them.  I figured they weren’t any competition–we meet many different people out doing the same thing almost every night.  Most people have certain things they look for, but it is unusual to find someone doing the SAME exact thing as you.

It turns out they were looking for the same items as us and were even driving like us.  The only people we ever see driving are folks who recycle scrap metal. They aren’t any competition–we gladly leave scrap metal right where it is.

Anyhow, we became disappointed when we saw them grabbing some really cool stuff…if only we were a few minutes earlier.  They filled the back of their van and that was the last we saw of them.

We ended up with some really cool stuff.  A brand new looking cat carrier, mini vacuum, a full-sized vacuum, jeans, a comforter, fish tank with many accessories, magazines and a bag full of stuff I still haven’t gone thru.

Sometimes I am self-conscious when I am picking around near a pile of trash and there are people walking by.  I learned that far more people do it than one would think and in the world of curbside recycling, it is first come, first served.  There are plenty of recyclable items to go around.  BUT, if there is something specific you are looking for, you better get out there early 🙂

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Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Another Day

We decided not to let a rainy day stop our curbside recycling efforts. We headed out with our cooler packed full of drinks and hopeful that the rain would stop other and we would have first dibs on whatever goodies were put out.

To our surprise (and disappointment), we didn’t find anything in one of our favorite areas of the city. Most times, we believe that people place things on the curb, hoping someone will take them. That belief must hold some truth because we didn’t find anything at all.

We drove to a suburban area. We hadn’t been there before, but decided to give it a shot. It was very dry, but we did find a wooden coat rack. It was missing two hooks, but still had many others. My partner asked me what I thought and I said we should take it.

After 2-3 hours of searching, we decided to give our favorite area one more shot before going in. It’s a good thing we didn’t let the rain or the fact that we hadn’t found anything so far get in our way……

(to be continued)

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I can’t believe the things that people throw out!!

Last night, the family and I went out on our nightly scavenging hunt through the city.  Since we are still fairly new to this art, we didn’t find an area with their trash out right away.  After driving around and not finding much, my partner stopped a neighborhood walker and asked what area the trash would be out in.  In no time, we were headed to find treasures.

Although we found an area with trash out, I think we were out too late.  It was after 11pm.  We normally leave a bit earlier.  My partner suggested we stop and check one of the smaller blocks in the area.  We ended up hitting the jackpot in no time.  We drove around the area for awhile, picking up useful items.  Around 1 am, we headed to a more suburban area of the city and found a few more things before heading in around 2 am.

Overall, we found a beautiful off-white colored area rug, a locking one-drawer file cabinet (keys included!), infant car seat, wall picture without the frame, a comfortable and beautiful queen sized comforter, a CRT computer monitor, a small television with remote, a rice cooker (looks brand new, in box), a coffee maker, a Wilson’s Leather purse in good condition, and a fan.

All of the items we found were in very useful condition, sitting curbside.  All it takes is a little time to look and in no time, you have new (to you) stuff.

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What is Freeganism?

In my quest to find things to recycle things I find at the curb, I have become more familiar with the term dumpster diving and freeganism. In case you don’t know, dumpster diving is the act of diving into a dumpster to find goods, including food that can still be used. Freeganism is an anti-consumerist movement that takes dumpster diving a step further. The term freegan is made from the word free and vegan. Not all freegans are strict vegans. Freegans prefer to avoid purchasing anything that is not necessary. They find food and household items that can be reused. Most food thrown out at grocery stores often throw out food that is still good, but is ugly to the eye, dented, or just expired. Household items are often thrown out when the owner no longer wants them, even though they have a lot of life left.

Although I have started picking up items curbside to use or donate to thrift stores, I haven’t really ventured into the world of dumpster diving. I will say that once, I tried dumpster diving, behind a homestore and found 3 unopened packs of shower curtains. I checked the dumpsters of the other stores in the area, without fully getting in and didn’t find anything. The thought of sifting through trash and finding actual trash kind of disgusts me…..on the other hand, I’m interested in the anti-consumerism movement and want to go further…..what do you think?

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