Do you remember when you started looking at curbs on trash day to see what your neighbors are throwing out instead of keeping your eyes on the road? There could be pallets, an old chair or maybe just an old TV out there for anyone to take. Not everything that people put on the curb can be turned in to a treasure. In fact, most of the items are out there because they really are trash. So how do you know what you should take and what you should leave. If you took it all, your house would become cluttered and then you would have another project to tackle, decluttering. The article below provides “dumpster diving” tips from one New Yorker that has learned to take to the street to find useful items. One tip cautions again upholstered furniture. You never know what might be under that fabric so examine it carefully before bringing it into your home. If it has been sitting on the curb for a while and it has rained, you need to be extra cautious. Painting or staining wood furniture is much easier then working with fabric. Electronics are another item to be careful with. If it was put out by the curb, there is a good chance that doesn’t work. However, if electronics are your expertise or you see something you really like it can be worth it to give it a shot. Before you head out on trash day and just start picking up everything your neighbors have put out, take some time to really consider what you might actually need and what is worth the work.
When I moved to New York City several years ago, my greatest surprise was not how great the bagels really are (they’re amazing) or the unprecedented friendliness of the locals (sometimes). No, it was something I discovered on trash day eve: People get rid of good shit. Like, Eames-chair good. Because even the worst hoarders can only further their addiction as far their square footage allows – which, in NYC, is not very far at all.