I Was Just Admiring Your Yard (and other excuses to use when trash picking)!



My recent guest post on ThriftCore (http://thriftcore.com) helped remind me that many people’s approach to trash picking isn’t quite as brazen as mine.  After I’m talking to someone about a great score or trash picking day, I often have them tell me they always see stuff that looks good, but admit they still can’t bring themselves to pick.  Usually, a concern about someone seeing them, the stigma, or the imagined scorn of others is what prevents them.  In my experience, most of those concerns are just that, imagined.  However, taking advantage of any opportunity to encourage a wannabe picker, over the years I’ve offered a few excuses or comebacks someone can use (mainly for themself!) to help them feel more comfortable about pulling over for finds.   

Following, are just a few excuses I’ve come up with to help your transition from trash ogler to cool trash finder!  Many of these have crossed my mind while cruising for finds, and I do believe, are very plausible:

  • As mentioned in my ThriftCore guest post, you can always say you were just checking out their Christmas lights & decorations.
  • You’re checking out landscape design, thinking about what to do with your yard.
  • You wanted to get a closer look at a sign (it’s helpful if there IS a sign nearby).
  • You wanted to take down an outdated yard sale sign (doesn’t have to be yours!)
  • You were just writing down some realtor info.
  • You’re looking to buy a house & wanted to get a (fill-in-time-of-day)  feel for the neighborhood.
  • You pulled over to write something down you heard on the radio.
  • You thought you saw a kitten dart across the road.
  • You thought you hit a kitten [kitten used as example because awww…who doesn’t love a kitten?].
  • You’re looking for your dog/cat.
  • You really liked their lighthouse mailbox & wanted to get a closer look.
  • You hit a monster pothole & just wanted to check your tires.
  • You stopped to take a look at your map (or look FOR your map).
  • A water bottle was rolling around the driver’s side & you stopped to pick it up.
  • You thought your car was making a noise & wanted to listen closer.
  • You’re a birdwatcher & saw a bird you wanted to get a closer look at.
  • You had something under your contact lens/in your eye.
  • You wanted to make sure you had fill-in-needed-item-here for work/school.
  • You’re looking for potential areas to shoot for your photography hobby.
  • You had to answer your phone and just want to abide by the law.

Personally, I’ve only encountered an uncomfortable situation while picking someone’s trash ONCE –  just a few months ago – and it really wasn’t that bad.  Consider that, conservatively, I’ve picked over 1,500 days in my life*, and this is the first & only time I’ve had a lukewarm interaction with a person.   One morning, I stopped to pick up a few great, older drawers , and the homeowner came out of the house at the same time to add a garbage bag of actual trash.  I honestly think she didn’t see me & was startled & freaked out because of that, but she did ask me a little coolly, “Can I help you?” (less as in an offer to help me load & more like Pretty Woman on Rodeo Drive…).  I happened to be loading the last drawer, so said  “Nope.  Just stopped to pick up these great, sturdy drawers.  They’re always useful, thanks!”.  I find it’s always better to play oblivious in these situations.

How about you?  Do you have gems any to add?  Comment & share!

*Average based on picking 3x a week for ten years.  I’ve been picking a hell of a lot longer, but maybe not as consistently.  Read about my first trashpick here!


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5 Responses to I Was Just Admiring Your Yard (and other excuses to use when trash picking)!

  1. Pingback: Trashfinds

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  3. Alyssa says:

    Your guest post at Thriftcore made me laugh, and I’m so glad I saw Van’s tweet about this post! Great points and some very funny and useful ‘excuses’ for saving things from a landfill.

  4. Van says:

    I can’t wait to go on my real trash-diving hunt (this weekend, it’s gotta be this weekend!) I’m pretty brazen about it and haven’t experienced negative feedback.

    I will share a funny story:

    I saw an amazing 70s-tastic chair on the curb and turned around to get it. It was hell to fit it into my tiny car by myself. When I got it home I realized it smelled and I would have no where to store it in the meantime to attempt cleansing it. So I put it on the curb. Immediately after some “pro trash pickers” in a huge white utility-style van scooped it up and placed it among their other picked treasures, smiles beaming. I waved and smiled and they escaped to the next curb with promising items.

    they might have our dream job.

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