Another man's trash…

Furniture ripe for the pickin!

Furniture ripe for the pickin'!

…okay, is, more often than not, just some crap he didn’t want anymore. But we’ve probably all, at some point in our lives, saved an object from a destiny at the dumps, whether it be furniture off the sidewalk or that 1988 Fleer Kirby Puckett card my friend Jacob was just gonna throw away that one time. (I know, what a jerk. Speaking of which, I know I have an odd sense of humor, but this is the funniest website I’ve come across in a long time.) And everyone has or has heard an Epic Find story. This one girl told me she found a brand new computer still in the box in a dumpster. I didn’t know her that well, so investigating the veracity of that claim would have been awkward and/or possibly impossible.

image from http://azaleafaye.wordpress.com/   ...click image for link

image from http://azaleafaye.wordpress.com/

Finding free stuff is also, for a growing number of people, a lifestyle. Freeganism is basically the opposite of consumerism, and can be practiced with widely varying commitment levels. (Some freegans are so committed to living outside of capitalism, they voluntarily squat.) As far as the time honored tradition of furnishing your home with street finds, yes, bedbugs are a growing concern (I highly recommend not taking home found mattresses), but they do not render curbside furniture out of the question. Metal and plastic are safer than wood which is safer than upholstered items. But all are treatable if you are concerned about bringing home an infestation. Go here and read the Extreme Temperatures section under the Domestic Treatment subheading. New York City’s bulk collection happens the same day as regular trash pickup, so trash ‘shopping’ is easy in your neighborhood because you already know what night to search on. As far as expanding your free stuff turf, ask your friends when their trash day is, then go visit them on that day, help them take out their trash if you feel like being a big sweetheart, then rummage through the roads in their region.

Comment below and tell us about your sweetest street find.

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About the author

Joe Petersen - Classist Columnist

Joe grew up in South San Francisco, spent a decade in Santa Cruz, and relocated to Brooklyn in late 2008. He has been a waiter, a maintenance man, a record store clerk, a professional radio DJ, an amateur newcaster and a movie theater popcorn-slinger. Being broke is his birthright, as he is from broke stock and has limited prospects. He likes comic books and is obsessed with soul music.

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