Occasionally I ride my bike around the neighborhood early in the morning. I did that today, in fact. When I do this on Mondays and Thursdays, I learn a lot about some of my neighbors. You see, those are trash pick-up days and I’d estimate that 25% or so of my neighbors put their trash out the night before.
You can learn who got new stuff and who did a home-improvement project and who did major yard upkeep. There aren’t as many large items out on Monday, since Thursday is officially the day for that — but I did see a free-standing porch swing on the curb. It was in horrid condition, so no temptation there.
I grew up (age 9-14) in a south suburb of Chicago where trash picking was not only allowed, it was expected. In fact, if you were going to toss something out that someone else could use, it was almost rude if you did not put it out early AND outside of any sort of container. Once trash picking is in your blood, it’s hard to look at a pile of discarded stuff on the curb the same way as you did when it was just trash.
A few years ago I was with my friend Charlene and we’d been talking about a decorating project that she and another friend were working on together. I suggested that it would be great if we could just find a pair of wooden shutters in someone’s trash (they were on a tight budget) and just then we passed a house that had put some shutters at the curb. We pulled over quickly and helped ourselves. If I dig around I might be able to find a photo of those things cleaned up and painted and hung on the wall.
I didn’t see anything I wanted or needed on the curb today, but I looked. You just never know…