Curbside: The Siren Call of Junk

I can’t tell you why I enjoy junk picking. The closest thing I can compare it to is the joy little kids get from playing in the mud.

I went to a garage saling acquaintance’s moving sale recently. These sales tend to be extravaganzas of accumulated “stuff” on a par with the garage sales of people who attend a lot of auctions. (Ever wonder what the winning bidders do with all the extra junk in those buck-a-box , end-of- auction deals? Now you know.)  She urged me to buy stuff and told me to come back later and I could have it all. I told her she should have her sale and put what was left out on the curb for people to junk pick. There are quite a few people from all walks of life who can’t resist a nice big pile of assorted items.

I ended up driving by her house later in the week on a detour caused by street work. I stopped and grabbed a very nice screen door I thought might be useful for displaying handmade jewelry at an upcoming craft fair and later could be used on a garden or greenhouse.

I mentioned my foray to one of the neighbors whom I have junked with in the past. She is less bold than I am and prefers to team junk pick, especially if it is within a few blocks of home.  We hopped in my van (my backseat was already out) and drove over.  I found some books for reading and some books to trade,  among them a nice coffee table-size hardcover on the Tower of London, go figure; an armful of tiny stuffed animals that I will clean up and donate; three bamboo poles to use in the garden as a bean teepee; a small toiletries bag for my husband to carry on the motorcycle on long trips; some vintage valentines; some Martha Stewart magazines I will read and pass on; and a decorative storage basket destined to hold a genre of VHS movie tapes in our built in seating area in the family room.

My friend found some shamrock candleholders, a vintage leather suitcase, interior decorator magazines, some long white feathers for trimming vintage hats, books of poetry and various arcane crafts, and some old hat display stands from the 1950s.

Our kids and one of their friends went back in another wave and came home with a sewing machine for spare parts; more suitcases for travel and going off to college, a nice pair of baseball catcher’s leg guards, various crafting supplies, lots of textbooks on various subjects, and a particularly nasty monkey toy that you shoot like a rubber band, causing it to make nasty, evil monkey screeching noises as it flies through the air. (Some things BELONG in the landfill buried deep.)

We were careful to leave the area neat and tidy. I made sure that the teens cleaned up after themselves as well.  This is very important because some towns have ordinances against junk picking because a few people were inconsiderate and left a place in worse shape than they found it.

A good time was had by all, and a lot of useful stuff stayed out of the landfill. I hate waste. Don’t you? Begonia

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