(Or, as I like to call it, The Curbside Shopping Network)

A curious thing happens when spring comes.  People get outside, work in their gardens, and clean up around their houses.  They pile up all the old junk they don’t want anymore, and when the time is right, they move it all out to the curb for community cleanup week.

Now, these cleanup weeks are a great idea.  Garbage limits are totally ignored for the week, which means there’s no limit to the amount of stuff you can chuck out.  Appliances, tires, tree limbs, broken toys, automobile parts – you’ll find it all, piled high by the curb, ready and waiting for the town’s dedicated staff to come take it away.

pool of junk

A pool of potential deals? Swimming in Savings? Big blue bargain?

That’s not the curious thing, though.  The peculiar part is watching the curbside shopping that starts as soon as the first dilapidated fridge takes up residence on the edge of a lawn.  You’ll see people carefully cruising through the neighbourhood, slowing down in front of houses where the piles are especially large, and sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you’ll see the curbside shopping network in action.  The car stops, someone hops out, grabs an item from the pile, and places it in their own car.  Sometimes they’ll make multiple trips, returning with a bigger vehicle for something really interesting.  These shoppers bring new meaning to the phrase “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” going home with everything from scrap wood to old barbeques!

scavengers pile

Did you catch yourself eyeing the tread on those tires?

Take, for example, this true story about community cleanup.  A man was working away in his garden, going back and forth to the curb to make garbage deposits.  There was a stranger parked in a van across the street, watching with great interest.  Each time the homeowner added something to the pile and headed back to his garden, the stranger would get out of his van, check through the items, select a few pieces, put them in his van, and then get back in to watch the next round.  He took almost half of the items the homeowner left at the curb!  What was in this magnificent pile, you might ask?  Nothing special, just broken household items.  But this curbside shopper was dedicated to finding a deal, so he stuck around and made sure to take a look at each piece of garbage.

Is there something valuable in the items on your curb?  Maybe, maybe not.  But don’t be surprised if you see someone checking it over before the town comes for it.  Let’s face it; community cleanup time might just mean that you can shop ‘til you drop (or at least until your neighbour drops something good on their curb!).

-Valerie Abbott

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  One Response to “Community Cleanup Week”

  1. “Curbside Shopping” as you call it is a great thing! In fact, our municpal government sent a voice mail to everyone in the town to mark reusable items as free for the taking, during our local cleanup week. I actually put out a good vanity top complete with sink and faucetts which was picked up in less than ten minutes! It is great to see this “future friendly” trend flourishing!

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