It’s that time of year again. One of my dad’s favorite local holidays: Spring Cleaning Week, or as I like to call it, Second Christmas.
I don’t know if other cities have this, but here in Fargo we have a scheduled week when people are allowed to put pretty much anything out on the curb and the city will come take it away without charging additional fees. Assuming, of course, that it actually stays on the curb until garbage day without getting snatched up by a curb-shopper.
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Here in Fargo we take the old adage very seriously. This time of year, neighborhoods abound with trucks rolling slowly along the road, stopping periodically so people can hop out and collect whatever treasures they spotted. My husband actually knows someone whose husband takes the whole week off from work so he can drive around collecting appliances which he and his buddies re-sell to suppliers. He makes more money during that week than he earns all year at his regular job.
My dad and I are only amateur curb shoppers. We have been known to stop and pick up things with potential, then bring them back to our garages where they proceed to stay for a year or two, at which time we usually haul them out to our own curbs on spring cleaning week for someone else to poach and start the cycle again.
I do have some standards – I won’t take anything that has fabric on it (may be infested with fleas or bedbugs or who knows what else) and I won’t take anything wood if it looks like it has water damage. I also don’t take ugly stuff unless it fulfills a unique purpose which can’t be served by anything else. So far this year I have picked up a few things without even deliberately curb-trolling – just things that popped out as I happened to drive by.
Item 1: a set of bi-fold closet doors which are in great shape except that the hang pin has come loose from the base in one corner. Unusable as bifold doors anymore but would make a fabulous folding screen/room divider. It just so happens I already have a similarly recycled room divider which I picked up on spring cleaning week about 10 years ago and painted black with a red dragon. I love that screen.
Item 2: a cheap 3-foot bookcase which is in decent shape but is missing a couple of pegs to hold up the adjustable shelf. New purpose: a shelf to keep our recycle bins up off the garage floor so Selby can’t take the cans and bottles out to the yard and chew on them.
Item 3: One panel and a door for an iron garden fence, identical to one we own. Each panel costs about $25 new but someone threw them out for reasons unknown. The bases of the poles weren’t there so I can only assume they’re still buried in the ground wherever the fence used to be. Not sure where I’ll put them yet but they can easily be combined with our existing fence to double its coverage; new bases are only $5-10.
Item 4: A large plastic dog crate. My dad picked this one up for me thinking we could use it. It’s too small for my gigantic dogs to use, but large enough for most labs & retreivers. I dropped this off at the grooming shop where I work, because we can always use more large kennels.
Item 5: A pretty nice white painted desk. Dad found this one while he was out trolling his neighborhood. I don’t know enough about design to tell you what style it is, but it would be perfect for a girl’s room. It’ll probably either go in my daughter’s room to replace the old school desk she can no longer fit into, or into the garage. Depends on whether or not we can get it up the stairs to my daughter’s room.
Items 6, 7, and 8: Another find of my dad’s – they were all stuffed into the plastic dog crate I mentioned above (along with a large amount of other junk which went straight out to Dad’s curb as soon as we’d emptied the crate.) A box of Miracle Grow, a Bottle of the plant food, and a 10 lb bag of Scott’s lawn fertilizer. This last one will definitely come in handy when we re-seed the dead spots in our back yard.
Item 9: Two small 3-foot solid wood fence panel-ish looking things. Possibly a headboard/footboard combo. Hard to say. Whatever they are, they’re really nice and sturdy and I’m sure I’ll find a use for them eventually. If not they will go out on my curb next spring.
Before you start calling out “HOARDER!” I think it’s more important to note that for each of the items I did collect, I left at least two dozen items on the curb even though I really wanted them, just because I knew I had nowhere to put them or wouldn’t get around to doing anything with them.
Just know that if you get between me and the thing I want from that pile of junk on Old Man Freeman’s lawn, I will cut you. And I will use the still-sharp but rusty saw I collected from the crackhouse on the other side of the tracks.