A couple of years ago, I wrote a post with some tips/hints for hunting junk curbside. While wandering around this time, I had some new thoughts I wanted to share about the endeavor. One of the things that struck me was how much I've changed as a curb-picker. For one thing, I am no longer reticent to take stuff with the owners watching. Sometimes, when I've gathered stuff while the home owners were still around, they offer me extra stuff. One time, a lady asked me to help her carry a heavy-ass dresser to the curb. She couldn't handle it by herself. I didn't take that one. I don't like to do heavy-ass. I just make extra sure that I'm neat when I'm being watched.
Speaking of being watched, somewhere along the line, I lost my inhibitions about this. Last set out, I ended up over by the building where Keith and I used to work. He's transferred to another site now, but still sees people from this building all the time. I called him and told him that his co-workers were likely to be telling him they saw his husband digging through the trash! In fact, on that day, I ran into an old friend from that job! I was covered in sweat and grime and carrying a bag of goodies.
This time around, an old man that lives down the street came by while we were setting our own junk out. He said he had seen me carrying off all kinds of junk and wanted to know what I did with it, so I told him. He kind of shook his head and walked off, but not before he took a flower arrangement off our pile. I turned to Keith and said: "How does it feel to be married to the neighborhood hobo?"
Nowadays, I go out several times all throughout the week, starting when the piles start showing up. There are lots of early birds and also lots of late starters. There can be new stuff to look at every day. I've also started going out in light rains (no competition) and after a rainy day. Not everything gets ruined by the rain.
In our neighborhood, I tend to go out on foot. It's easier to spot stuff that way. We live kind of in the middle of our set out zone, so I can go just a few blocks in any direction and find things, but I'm never too far away to do a drop off at the house. It's good exercise too. I just take a couple of bags and head out. Of course, for the big stuff, there's always Mazda.
Setting limits is important, too. I know some people only look for certain items, but I look for a little bit of everything, so I set some limits. Looking everything over closely is important. I tend to look for reasons to not take something, instead of reasons to take it. Since I have a lot of large items right now and they don't seem to be selling, I pretty much by-passed most of the furniture finds. I had a strict "no chairs" rule and a "no heavy shit" rule.
if I hadn't limited myself this time, I would have overwhelmed myself with reclaimed wood. There was a ton of it out there, and I saw some folks who were going out just for that. Not having the space for it kept me from going overboard. I;m not sure how many reclaimed wood folks like to buy their supplies, as opposed to finding them.
Personally, I think it's a ton of fun to go out and search. I kind of like that we have designated times to set stuff out. I know there are places where you can just set your stuff out for any garbage pick up day. I'm not sure I could handle going out and picking all the time like that. With a few set outs a year, I kind of look forward to it as a special treat, like a holiday.