I have a confession to make. I am not above pilfering through someone else's trash. I've even made some money off of trash-pilfering. For example, when we lived in an apartment in DeKalb, IL, I was taking the trash out one night when I discovered a box full of new, plastic-sealed stationery. I don't mean a small box of stationery. I mean a 9x12x11 size box full of separately sealed packages of 20 pages of stationery with 10 matching envelopes, in varying colors and patterns.
I dropped my trash in and lifted someone else's TRASH??? out. I don't remember if this was the first time my husband learned about this personality trait of mine. I do remember him saying, "What do you plan on doing with that? Why would somebody throw that out?" I held onto it for a few years.
Then, we moved from our apartment into a small house nearby. While cleaning out our storage cubicle downstairs, we found an unlocked cubicle with several pieces of furniture in it (filing cabinets and desk chairs). I headed to the main office to make enquiries. I was informed that the people who had that storage cubicle had moved out a few months prior and left those things there. I was told we were welcome to take anything in the unlocked cubicle. So, I did!
Shortly after our move, we held a garage sale. I think I priced each of the stationery packages at $1.50 and they all sold. I kept one filing cabinet and we sold the rest of the stuff from the unlocked cubicle. When I mentioned this to a close friend at the time, she wasn't even surprised. She said, "Oh, my husband Tony gets all kinds of things out of trash bins and sells them on e-bay. It is a great way to turn a dime!"
Since then, there have been a few times when I have secured things, but I almost always tend to ask the owner if they object to my taking their trash. So, on Friday night, when I was driving my ES to a friend's house, I was astonished to pass house after house with large items on their curb. Since we live further out in the country, I had to ask the friend's mom if there was something going on that I wasn't aware of. She replied, "Oh, once or twice a year they send around a notice saying that they will be picking up large scrap items."
Frankly, I did try not to look too hard. I didn't drive all over the neighborhood to see what I could get. I didn't go out of my way at all, but I did mention to the friend's mom that I had noticed a Little Tikes climbing gym cube with slide in someone's trash. She said someone had just come and taken a similar item from their neighbor's curb. Then, she offered the use of her truck to get it back to my house.
I had to put her off for a bit, because a few months ago, her neighbor had a swing-set out at the curb and I wanted that. My husband was dead-set against it (even though he would like to provide our little ones with a swing-set at some point). He raised some valid concerns (you will notice, he is always the practical, level-headed one). He was worried that the equipment might be old and weakened by years of sun-exposure. He worried about transporting it back to our property. He worried about securing it to the ground adequately. And, he really didn't want to take someone else's trash. So, I passed on the swing-set.
I stopped off on the way home to enquire about the climbing cube. The homeowner said that her children had gotten lots of good use out of it and they had been meaning to get rid of it for several years now. I asked if there were any aspects which would render the equipment unsafe. She identified one small hole in the bottom of one of the plastic walls. She suggested duct tape might take care of that issue and said that the hole was there during her children's use and it never posed a problem. She also added that she hadn't been able to disassemble it.
I headed home to begin my plea. I gave a brief description. I mentioned the offer for transport. I mentioned the discussion with the original owner. I promised to completely wash the thing down with bleach water. And, yippee, he was swayed (although he did admit that earlier in our marriage, it would have been much more difficult to convince him to take someone else's trash).
We now have a wonderful climbing cube and Spiderman is thrilled. YS hasn't shown the slightest interest in it, yet. But, I'm sure he'll come around. I like the fact that it keeps them closer to the garage and less likely to venture off towards the road (where wild country folk zoom past at 40-50 mph). What a treasure! And you just can't beat the price! Apparently, my side of the road wasn't too full for just a little bit more trash - just the right kind of trash!