Freebies

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale

When I lived in Brooklyn, NY, we always looked forward to trash pick-up day, because the night before, people would put out on the sidewalk all manner of items they were ready to discard. These items rarely sat there long enough for the trash people to take them – something reasonably nice was gone within an hour. I don’t remember being lucky enough to score anything, but someone certainly did.

Well, our area has a bi-annual “curbside clean-up day” for unwanted items, and today was the day.

They take:

  • unusable furniture (i.e. couches, chairs, mattresses)
  • general household junk (up to 100 #s per item)
  • scrap metal
  • appliances (!)

All you have to do is get your stuff out to the curb, and voilà! it will all disappear. It is of course necessary to take a walk some time during the day (before the truck comes) to see if anyone on your block has put out anything you might want. I saw a rather nice tea cart with glass shelves that – I’m telling you, if I weren’t moving in a coupla months… (Next time I looked, though, it was gone.) It was amazing how many people in pick-ups cruised slowly down our usually quiet street.

What timing! We are, of course, in clearing out mode because of the upcoming move to Winona, so we were racing through the house to find what all we could get rid of. Put out an old TV table, plastic shelving, a former rolling desk chair, a plow sort of thing that had a bicycle tire as its fulcrum… gems, as you can see. But our little pile didn’t hold a candle to the pictured one at the top of this post. Granted, that is two yards’ worth.

I’m just happy I managed to not bring anything home.

What would you put out on the curb, if someone would come and pick it up?

64 thoughts on “Freebies”

  1. Morning all. Where I live we don’t have an official curb day but any time you want to get rid of anything, just put it out on the boulevard. Since it’s a busy street, items go like hotcakes! Once I put out a fairly rickety old grill, assuming it would sit for a day or so because the trash folks hauled it away. I went into the house to make a “FREE” sign to hang on it; when I came out again, the grill was already gone!

    These days, if I thought anyone would take her, I’d put out Krakatoa II, leash and all. She woke me up this morning by jumping on my bed and pawing my face!

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  2. OT – tomorrow is Blevin’s Book Club:
    Occasional Caroline’s,
    2 p.m.
    Let The Great World Spin (Colum McCann)
    &
    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou)

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  3. Why haven’t Mankao and North Mankato merged despite a few efforts to do so? N. Kato has a pick up day and Kato does not. We lived in N. Kat for a few years. Rules were like Barbara’s. But only one appliance. Scavengers would hit the town. Stuff was out for a few days intentionally. Some people would come pull motors for the copper, etc. In mid August people put useable furniture on the curb for the college kids, in both towns, which I think is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. N. Kato will also pick up a curb load of junk, with limits, like no appliances, nothing over 100 lbs. When we moved from N. Kato they charged $100 to Haul quite a bit away. Nice feature when you are moving.

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  4. I have a vague tickling memory that there was a regularly scheduled Big Trash Day throughout the year in Buffalo, NY when I lived there.

    That us how people working in theatre furnished their apartments.

    I see lots of apartments going up in my neighborhood and businesses have “no light rail” signs up, which means it surely is coming (but there still will be no transit up the hill from W7th to Grand. Glad I am not attached to this neighborhood as it is getting to be time to go.

    I would probably put all the stuff people have pawned of on me because I “have nothing” out there, especially the huge old digital tv.

    Flat screens are now cheap and hung on a wall would restore so valuable real estate in my tiny house. As it is, the s&h will have to haul it out to the car (hope it fits) and we will pay Best Buy to recycle it.

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    1. If it doesn’t fit, mig, I can help (not with the lifting but with transporting it to Best Buy). My PT Cruiser is a hatchback with plenty of space for hauling stuff.

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      1. Thanks PJ! I will keep that in mind.
        It’s not on the immediate horizon as we first have to replace the old set, and that is down the list a bit.

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    2. Hennepin County also takes electronics, and recycles a number of other stuff too including hazardous wastes. The drop-off centers are rather far flung – Brooklyn Park and Bloomington…
      file:///C:/Users/Owner/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/IE/DT9E5X3U/DropOffFacilities.pdf
      I wonder if they still have the “free day” twice a year – of course, there were long lines while waiting in the car…

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      1. Mankato has a drop off week, but you wait in long lines. Otherwise they charge a nominal fee to bring stuff in, except electronics us high. Our Best Buy takes most electronics free. Now they will take TV s for a fee, which they say they are going to stop.

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        1. In N. Kato the scavengers are or were in my time very respectful of property, but stuff is on the curb. My neighbor used to try to chase them away, including from mine. I told him to stop chasing them from mine. seems like recycling to me.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Tech Dump in the Midway area takes electronics, free. I’ve dropped off old monitors there. Sometimes they will do a pickup if there is a quantity of stuff. Look up techdump.org – there are several locations.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I was surprised when I found out that in Minneapolis the city garbage collection service will haul away almost anything set out as trash. Also, if the items set out in the alley as trash have any value, a junk collector will usually haul them away before the city collection service can get to it.

    One of my neighbors told me that those junk collectors are engaging in an activity that is illegal in Minneapolis when they take things set out to be hauled away by the city. I was worried that they would steal stuff from my backyard and I told a junk collector that I though he should get permission to take junk from a neighbor before he took it. He ignored my request and kept on doing what he was doing. I found out that although the junk collectors are not suppose to do what they are doing, no one near me cares about that and I didn’t make any more attempts to stop them.

    The list of stuff that I could and should get rid of by setting it out is very long. It’s so long I don’t know where to start.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The biggest and heaviest thing I ever got rid of by putting it out by the curb was a woodburning stove. We bought the stove from a friend the year we moved into our home. That was 1976, an infamous year in the “energy crisis” sparked by OPEC. We stuck this sizable stove in the basement to burn wood and heat up a cold space we used a lot.

    When I later wanted to get rid of it, I (somehow) got that stove out to the curb. I didn’t need a sign. After a day of being there neighbors called me and asked for it.

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  7. Whenever I have something that I no longer need or use, but that still may be useful to someone else, I Freecycle it. Works beautifully. (I hope, Bir, that you’re taking the old dining table with you to Winona?)

    From time to time, people put items like old TVs or couches curbside in my neighborhood in hopes of someone hauling them off. More often than not, these items are so dilapidated that they remain there until someone complains to the City, at which point the City hauls it away – at taxpayer expense, I’m sure.

    Last week our washing machine busted a main bearing. A noisy but quick demise. We replaced it with the first new washing machine we have ever owned – what a luxury. The local appliance store where we bought it, recycled our old one for $15.00. Small price to pay for hauling it up from the basement. Could possibly have been Freecycled, but didn’t consider it worth the trouble.

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  8. Our regional library system does an electronics recycling as a fund raiser. Higher priced than the county, but good cause. I can see where they collect from my patio. They fill two or three semi trailers on aFri and Sat. They are very efficient at it.

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  9. Off my patio to the left is a field, beans last year, corn this year. To the left of the field is a stub of a street. To the left of that is another field, all right in the middle of town. Truck drivers were parking their semis on the street, indie drivers who could not park them where they lived. It is illegal, but it’s a few guys trying to make a living. Most were Muslim. I talked to a couple of them. Sunnis, who had come here to escape harassment from other sects. But then that made tha road a dumping ground, not by the drivers. So the city got serious about driving them away. People were throwing tires and bags of garbage into the field. Every so often a truck will be parked there, not one of the men from before I do not think. Last week the city towed one away. Not sure how parked semis attracted dumping.

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  10. My daughter went to an expensive college. Maybe that’s why the kids in her college seemed spoiled. It was widely known that once a year it was possible to pick up expensive, high-end toys that those college kids had used during the year but no longer wanted badly enough to pack them up. In the week that all students had to pack up and leave the dorms you could find good TVs, sound systems and even computers sitting on the curb. Free for the taking. Packing and moving that stuff was more trouble than some kids wanted to take.

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    1. True at MSUM, too. They leave behind a couple hundred bikes a year, which are hard to determine are abandoned. It take three weeks or more to be sure. Some are very fine.

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  11. I can think of some people I would like to put on the curb (or by the alley, in my neighborhood) for pickup. And all their stuff, too.

    That sounds mean, but I am in a mean mood this week.

    None of the people who read and comment on this blog are the ones I would kick to the curb.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Three years ago, I made the mistake of letting an acquaintance “rent” my 2.5 car garage for only $50 a month Those things turned out to be
    back to front, wall to wall, top to ceiling a whole house full of belongings.

    A year later, I asked him to remove his stuff because he hadn’t paid me a dime. One, two, and three years passed and I never saw him or heard from him again. Desperate to empty the garage, I called a dozen charity organizations (after getting a pro bono attorney who wrote him) and each one would only take a few things. Turns out that Good Will won’t take anything with so much as a scratch or a small stain on it. It took me three years and a dozen charities to get rid of most of it. Ultimately I paid $900 to empty the garage,

    I’ve learned to never give anything to acquaintances – maybe even friends. I paid a big price for this error in judgment. and will always feel like a dunce.

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  13. Hi, people… I am doing this in my music room at school because I am retiring at the end of this school year. Hence, I am trying to keep up with my teaching and yet prepare for the next phase in my life. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to pick a song for everybody_ let alone actually read the blog. So: I “ended up with too much stuff”. And too much to do. I’ll be back sometime in June. Much love, Holly of Northfield

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I have a table that is kind of unusual – a sort of low half circle, a good height for kids. I keep intending to offer it on Freecycle, but haven’t gotten around to it. I used to use it for garage sales occasionally, but haven’t had a garage sale in a long time.

    I’m sure there’s lots of other stuff too, My neighborhood doesn’t get much traffic, so just putting stuff out probably wouldn’t work well.
    Wish there was a curbside event like yours in my area.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. we had our free day yesterday but being new to the neighborhood i didnt find out about it until the day before and had a full schedule that prevented me from getting my refrigerator out in time.
    i dont have too much here so recently after my move but my warehouse…

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      1. its not worth anything. it works ok but it is the garage edition and when i was teaching my son how to change the oil on his truck he thought it would be a good idea to drive up on some little ramps i have for precisely that sort of thing. so we did it but in the garage its close quarters and the steep uphill climb for 12 inches and then stop was a bit more than i should have taken for granted and he drove over the top of the ramp and put the bumper in the refrigerator door enough to leave a lasting impression. it seems to work ok butthe sealing of the cold air around the now angular door gasket is reason for concern. i have arranged that we have an addition garage fridge and i need to go pick it up upon getting rid of the oil change fridge.
        no value but if the only criteria is a fridge that works it qualifies

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I can’t think of anything that I’d put out that others might value. I would be more likely to donate such items to Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity.

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    1. the recipiants of the free stuff are getting uppity these days. i have seen people argue with the pic up guy about how the thing im giving is nice enough and the poor driver has been instructed to tell people we dont want your garbage in a nice way.
      you would think theyd be happy to get stuff but they have no place to get rid of the couch with a broken frame and peanut butter on the arm rest either

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Having worked fourteen years for a non-profit, I can tell you first hand that some people will donate garbage, literally garbage, so they can claim a charitable tax deduction. Old desks, so beat up and rickety that they were useless, chairs so dirty and miserable that you wouldn’t want to sit in them, computers that were so old that they couldn’t be upgraded and couldn’t handle contemporary software. In addition, boxes full of used, often dirty, clothing that they had been unable to sell at a yard sale for 25 cents, we were expected to accept with gratitude I had to finally change the school’s policy of what kind of donations we would accept. It was both frustrating, costly and time-consuming to have to get rid of this crap if we just accepted it, sight unseen, which is what we had done for years.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. yep thats what the drivers are told not to accept. you would think people with things to give away would understand but i heard it said once its not what they dont understand that is the issue

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  17. Could someone please put up the 1987 Volkswagen golf commercial which used ‘ Da Da Da’ by Trio. It presents a problem with picking up furniture from curbside.

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  18. If you are going to donate items to charity, I urge you to donate to a LOCAL charity. The percentage of money to reach the service point is much likely to be higher.
    As we downsized, I donated items to two local charities over the years. If I asked them to come pick up items, I would take pix on my digital camera and show them on the camera what I was offering. It made it much more comfortable for them.

    Liked by 5 people

  19. I’m at the point where I don’t have room for it if it’s large. If it’s something that needs to be beamed home, its appeal for me is limited.
    I do pick up extra gardening trowels, even if they are old and rusty, because I am forever misplacing trowels.

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  20. Nice wood chairs. I have four dining room chairs, two of one style and two of another. Would love to have two more or maybe even four!

    OT. As discussed yesterday at book club, Fantasy #1 submitted for posting early this morning.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. The question is so oblique and open-ended, it’s hard to know how to respond. If you are asking, “What items would you find sufficiently interesting or useful that you would bring them home if you could have them for free,” I would have to respond, Whattya got? Free is a pretty low bar. If, on the other hand, you are asking, ” What one item do you particularly covet, if price were not an issue?”, that’s a more specific question, though not necessarily easier to answer. Thinking about it, I find there’s not much I covet and most of my covetousness is ephemeral. I get over it.

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  22. While I am mainly in getting-rid-of-it mode rather than getting-more-stuff mode, there is certain photographic equipment – lenses, camera, tripod, etc. – that I wouldn’t turn down.

    Other than that , maybe changing out a few furniture pieces that i don’t like or upgrade a few kitchen items, but they aren’t a high priority.

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  23. Our small, leather couch is badly in need of replacement. It belonged to my father-in-law before it made its way over the pond upon his death. It is at least 50 years old, but still in reasonably good shape. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a replacement that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I have some serious doubt that I’ll find one to meet my standards curbside anywhere, but you never know. If I do, I’ll snatch it up.

    Liked by 1 person

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