Treasure from trash. That's what my oldest son recently discovered. In his travels, he recently came across a group of students who were cleaning out their lockers and backpacks as the school year concluded.
To my son's amazement, some of the students emptied unused school supplies into a trash bin, including new or barely used notebooks.
My son retrieved a few of the pristine notebooks and now has a head start in our annual back-to-school preparations. I was proud of him. In general, however, I have mixed feelings about dumpster diving.
Here are my rules:
1. Clean trash only. Example: when I was at a summer writing workshop in the Hamptons, the school was closing its library and other facilities. As a result, the maintenance staff filled a huge bin with books, supplies, music and other trinkets (even holiday lights). That's clean trash. Many writing workshop participants happily picked through that bin.
2. Curbside pickups. On a regular basis, our municipality does a large, big-ticket pickup. The residents place lamps, office chairs, sofas and other items on the curb. Some of the stuff is pretty good and car loads of "shoppers" get out early and look for treasure in that trash. This strategy works especially well in upscale neighborhoods, where the trash looks like an antique fair.
3.Office Trash: In an office district, a friend of mine found an excellent computer chair for her home office. A business was remodeling and unwanted office fixtures/furniture were discarded at the curb.
But, I avoid messy trash that looks shady or hazardous.
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