What I Think About When Trash Picking

(above items found while trash picking the flea market)
When I first started thinking about Trashfinds & how to best share my love of the discard, my fiance kept mentioning that I’d just encourage competition.  After I stopped laughing long enough to breathe, I had to disagree with him.  I was touched, that he somehow imagined I would be cornering the reuse/repurpose blog market, despite being a pretty inconsistent updater/communicator (and at the time, barely even being aware of what a blog was).  I certainly think the economy has a whole lot of people rethinking their way of life & how they spend, but, not to the extent that trash pickers & those like me will have to muscle people out of our way (we’ll have to revisit this topic in a year or so if things continue the way they are though).  On one hand, it would be great to see zero waste, but then, for a nano-second I panic & think, “Oh my God!  What if he’s right & now, with more trash pickers, there won’t be as many finds..?!?”  I then remind myself that there has always been those that discard & those that gather the discards.
Take a drive with me through an average trash picking day (approximate 30 minute route).  Here are just a few things that happen or run through my head, and I somehow, don’t see them taking off or ‘trending’:

Happenings While Trashpicking

  • Hope the box with the cool lamp & what appears to be leftover yard sale items slightly obscured by packing material doesn’t have..uh..actual, icky food trash.   Won’t know ’til I get out of work & it’s been festering in the sun all day in the truck with the windows cracked.
  • Realize I’ve identified the residences of people who work at my bank, pharmacy & various other places around town.  Hope they don’t mistake me for a stalker…
  • Hope the kids waiting at the bus stop don’t call 911 on their cell phones after my third pass down the road ’cause I passed on something, changed my mind, & rerouted for it.
  • Find humor in the fact that I turn my nose up at some people’s trash by passing on usable items ’cause they are crap to begin with.  (unless we have a yard sale planned within two weeks, then I’ll even pick up blah stuff)
  • Wonder when that one family will figure out if they continue to buy cheap crap (in this case, gooseneck floor lights), they will continue to throw it out as it breaks.
  • Haul my neighbor’s ‘trash’ up the street on a dolly (I just can’t bring myself to drive & load something five houses away after I passed it on the way home).
  • Wonder if the trash truck guys have identified my car & where I live.
  • After picking up an item & driving away, have a slight panic thinking phone fell out of truck – realize it’s on seat next to me; check time;  may or may not be a few minutes late for work but not quite done route; convince myself phone is five minutes fast.
  • Wonder if high school kids’ parents know they smoke at the bus stop.
  • Wonder if the people walking their dogs are secretly sneaking in a cigarette after they were supposed to quit.
  • Realize I’m on the same schedule as a lot of people on their way to work.
  • Wave to the scrap metal guy.  If able to, stop & tell him about a pile I saw & vice-versa.
  • Realize I would trash pick regardless of finances ’cause I love it & it gives me such a high!
  • Get a kick out of the squirrels perched on top of the trashcans, eating something.
  • Wonder why the people who get their trash bags torn apart by animals every week don’t find a better trash method so they’re not always sweeping up a 20ft radius of remnants.
  • Wonder how many people see me somewhere & think, “why does she look familiar?’,  & after a moment realize, ‘hey! that’s the lady who drives around on our trash day!’
  • Get bummed that it wasn’t a ‘good trashpicking day’ despite the fact everything picked is useful and/or sellable (examples: snow shovel, lamps w/o shades, shades w/o lamps, small oak end table, knick-knack shelves, etc…)
  • Laugh at how cranky people are in the morning.  Cranky as in, if it were me, I just wouldn’t have left the house.
  • Try not to feel superior seeing all the cranky people heading to jobs they hate to accommodate lifestyles they can’t afford (tee-hee).
  • Think of how bad I am at getting up early – unless it has to do with trash picking or collecting.  Make note of possible disorder.
  • Love the people who attach a ‘works!’ note on an appliance they’re throwing out, despite being bummed of the waste (especially if I have no use/space & just have to leave it be).
  • Laugh at the thought someone asks one of my sibling’s, “did I see your sister picking trash in my neighborhood this morning?”.  Laugh again imagining their reaction.
  • Make an AWESOME find & want to share it with someone but realize 7:30am is not the best time to call people.
  • Realize I have to start writing down stuff people request & keep a list handy in the car, rather than just making a mental list.
  • Stop for a find as someone is pulling more trash out to the curb & realize they are having an extremely awkward moment and I’m not.
  • Once I park at work, I glance at my haul & realize I STILL have to unload later & figure out what’s a keeper & what’s going to be sold & at what level (antique store, flea market, yard sale, Ebay…).  Already thinking of a nap after work…

    How about you?  What runs through your mind when you’re trash picking?


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4 Responses to What I Think About When Trash Picking

  1. Pingback: Trashfinds

  2. Bridget says:

    Sometimes I wonder if people who drive by and see me trashpicking are wondering “is she homeless?”. Then, realize that I don’t care! They are truly missing out on a fun, frugal, treasure hunt!

    • admin says:

      That’s exactly what trashpicking is – a treasure hunt! Since trashpicking comes up in nearly any conversation I have longer than five minutes, someone who doesn’t really know me will say something supportive – as if I need to hear from someone else that it’s ok & acceptable to trashpick. In my mind, I just figure everyone else has a little envy knowing just how much I don’t care what other people think!

  3. Mrs BC says:

    Either ‘I wish my husband would stop giving me the judgemental look’ or ‘thank gods my husband isn’t here’

    Also ‘I have GOT to get a van!’

    I hardly ever wonder if anyone I know will see me :)

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