Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lovin' Up on Bulk Trash Pickup Day!

It seems like there is always a neighborhood around here preparing for bulk trash pick up day. For those of you unfamiliar with this (as I was when I first moved here), Dallas has neighborhood bulk trash pickup once a month. Homeowners can leave brush, downed limbs, entire trees, furniture, appliances, etc., on the parkway. The city collects it and takes it to the dump.

People put out the darndest things! I seriously would encourage anyone who lives in a city that does this to take advantage of this free way to find some awesome, completely usable, and sometimes amazing, items. It may feel a little bit odd at first - stopping on the side of the road and going through someone's castoffs - but in time those feelings fade. They are replaced by feelings of resourcefulness (can this be used in a different way instead of putting it in a landfill?) and the thrill of the find. I have never driven around systematically hitting neighborhoods looking for items, but if I come across something while on my daily travels that may look promising, I often stop. The following is a pictorial of some of the better things we've found.

Jason literally spent 10 minutes tinkering with this Dyson Vacuum before he got it to work. This was a great find! We've used it for two years now.

Other than a few minor scratches, this chair is in good condition. I had to fix the bottom of the seat cushion - I ended up just using safety pins to save time! The chair is also missing feet. However, I think unless it was specifically pointed out no one would notice. I originally bought rounded fence post toppers for $4 each from Home Depot to use as feet, but the proportions were a bit off so I returned them. Now I'm just keeping an eye out for chairs or couches set out for bulk trash whose feet I could use on this.

I came across this awesome piece of art about two weeks ago. I couldn't believe my luck! From a distance I first thought it was part of the interior spring system of a mattress, but upon further inspection I realized it was an honest to goodness piece of artsy metalwork!
Set to go to the dump no less! It's about 4' x 18" and really cool.
I plan on putting it on the wall in the next few days.

Metal garden trellis - pretty much self-explanatory

10+ Tomato Cages & Numerous Bamboo Stakes

Some other items we've picked up that are not pictured here include:
  • 7 foot tall Wisteria Vines, used to decorate the corner of a room
  • Indoor pet gate
  • Small Dog Carrier (to be used for the chickens if we ever need to transport them!)
  • North Face bookbag
  • The beginning materials for what I hope will be our next chicken housing project - a chicken tractor! More on that in a later post...
And let's not forget some items we've already written about in this blog, including:
So here's the lesson for the day - someone else's trash can truly be your treasure. Don't disregard it out of hand. I think the vast majority of people would prefer someone be able to re-use their cast offs than just having them go to the dump. So go give it a try! Let us know what diamonds in the rough you discover! -Carrie


  1. Wow Carrie, those are fantastic finds! The bulk trash pickup day is an excellent idea. So much better to find new homes than fill landfills. Wish we had that around here, but we don't have a trash service.

  2. I was raised dumpster diving. We often raid the dumpsters behind art and framing stores to reuse the mat board and Styrofoam for shipping materials for my antique business on ebay. I get chicken and tomato boxes from Mexican restaurants to store and transfer items to swap meets and flea markets, no plastic bins here.

    Where i live there are usually day laborers with trucks and on the last big pick up day I saw one guy going around picking up electronics and appliances. He was going to fix them up and resell.

    It is nice now with freecycle and craigs list people are reducing and reusing more.

  3. What Pigs Don't KnowMay 5, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Hi Anonymous! That is a great idea about the art/framing store diving. Mat board is expensive! I have never been truly dumpster diving, though I think about it often. I am kind of wimpy when it comes to the law, and I'm always afraid someone will call the police if I were to attempt such a feat. But I am all about taking things from the side of the road that were destined for the dump anyway. Thanks for your comment! -Carrie