Treasure in the trash


We've all heard of the saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure" and it couldn't be truer. I can't believe how amazing the roadside garbage service is here in America. You can literally put almost anything on the roadside and it will be taken away. Quite the opposite in England; it's almost a part-time job separating the trash into the multiple different trash bins allocated by the county:

There's a separate bin for tins, glass, foil, plastic, paper, general, degradable, compost, "smelly" so when I go back to the UK on vacation, it takes me several days to work out the rubbish protocol. And there is no way the 'rubbishmen' will remove any large item ~ not likely.

I live in Florida and on trash days you can find furniture, appliances, paintings, sports equipment, sofas, carpeting, lamps, dishwashers, office equipment, microwaves and more all put out at the bottom of the garden waiting to be picked up. It's amazing!

Florida is known for its beautiful beaches and climate; it's also known as a place where aging Northerners come to spend their twilight years. Because of this, there are multiple occasions when these old folk die. Oftentimes the family live up North and haven't the time or tenacity to be bothered with an estate sale. As such, it is ripe for the pickings on trash day.

Our beautiful warm weather helps as certain items put out for trash do not degrade. I have driven along Longboat Key, Anna Maria Island and other beautiful neighborhoods early on trash day morning and found amazing items waiting to be removed.

These are often valuable. For example, I found two 1960's tennis rackets (still in their press) out for the trash in my local neighborhood. I rang the doorbell and spoke to the owner and asked if he realized these rackets may be valuable. He said he was just happy to be rid of them and was happy for me to take them away.

I sold the rackets on ebay and got $392 for the pair. During another early morning walk, I noticed two framed pictures leaning against the trash. These were also not wanted. I got home and noticed they were signed. I sold on ebay for $215 each. I also have a wonderful rattan sofa which just needed painting and new cushions, and I have a new Bougainvillea tree which also left out for the trash.

So check it out in your affluent areas... you never know what you may find!

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Comments 23 comments

petermdhart profile image

petermdhart 6 years ago from Cornwall, UK

You're right about our rubbish service here in UK, we have to sort out everything into various bins and they won't take anything large such as you have described. The benefits of living in USA just go on and on...lucky you!


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

It's the same in the windy city! Garbage days fill the alleys with trash and treasures............. the treasures always disappear quickly, and at that point I hope they've ended up somewhere they're appreciated. As for sorting the trash; I think I'm the only one on my block who "tries" to get the paper, plastic, glass, and cans into the blue bag. People tell me it's a waste of time, and I'm often tempted to follow the garbage man and see if it REALLY gets separated, but the laws are lax and recycling is at best optional. Great Hub, Kaie


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks Kaie, whilst the pickings are great, its not a bad idea (for the planet) that the English are forced into a social conscience and stewardship of our earth.

Its nice to know you care!


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 6 years ago from Long Island, NY

I once picked up a PC that someone left with the garbage. He was in front of his house when I drove by and said it was no longer working. When I got it home it booted fine but was riddled with viruses. After installing and running an anti-virus program, it was fine. This is a great way to avoid filling up our landfills.


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida Author

Absolutely - why pay for something that's just waiting to be picked up? No brainer eh. Thanks for sharing Glenn!


Tamarii2 profile image

Tamarii2 6 years ago from NEW YORK

Absolutely,even when people throw away their baby and you find the child and they become your child.A blessed child a God sent to you.Thanks for your hub it made me appreciate everthing.Someones trash is someones treasure.Thanks for being a fan.Enjoy your journey with great peace.


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Tamarii2, thanks for your comments - I look forward to reading your hubs! Peace to you too...


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

I love the "goodwill" sores in Florida. I don't get down there hardly at all anymore but I love the GW stores and such. A friend does a little shopping in the garbage on his bike rides. Thanks!


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks for your comments Micky Dee - yeah, the Goodwill stores are good, not only because of the bargains, but because they employ the 'so-called' unemployable or those who cannot normally get work - so its a wonderful organizaton. Look forward to reading your hubs!


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

BFY - Have you ever wondered what they might do with our hubs when we go?

Gus ;-)


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Gus.... hmmm never thought about it - I guess they remain on some hard drive, somewhere out there. Thanks for reading my hub Gus, take care!


leni sands profile image

leni sands 6 years ago from UK

Very interesting. I love looking round the carboot sales in here the UK and picking up little bargains (sometimes big bargains). There is also something call 'freecycle' on the net - almost every district has a freecycle link where you can advertise your 'give away' and find someone else's give away. Not quite the same as driving along the road and picking up 'throw aways' at the side of the road on rubbish day, I know but the next best thing, I guess?

Great piece of writing by the way!


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida Author

Hi leni sands, I didn't know about 'freecycle' what a good idea! Being British, I love carboot sales (garage sales over here). They also have Estate Sales where the entire contents of a house are up for sale - if you go in the afternoon, everything is half price (and usually pennies on the dollar),. Thanks for your comments leni - I look forward to reading your work!


valeriebelew profile image

valeriebelew 6 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

I've lived in Panama City, Florida, and New Symrna Beach, Florida, but now live closer to Atlanta. Where I live now, we don't even have a garbage pick up service, but haul our own garbage to the dump. In New Symrna Beach, my sister has a recycling system about as complicated as what you described for England, but perhaps it is her choice. (:v


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida Author

Hi again Valeriebelew, thanks for reading my hubs - can't believe you don't have a garbage pick up service?? OMG that's archaic - why not? In the UK you need a PhD to work out the recycling system! Thanks for sharing.


RunAbstract profile image

RunAbstract 6 years ago from USA

Hi there brightforyou! This was very interesting! I only WISH everyone were required to seperate their garbage here in the U.S.! I think it's wonderful, and I think more and more cities are starting it.

I loved the way you told this story, and how you are turning trash into treasure! It is very inspiring! Thanks for sharing!


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida Author

Hi RunAbstract, thank you for your comments.. and I'm glad I inspired you to "rummage in the rubbish!".. l look forward to reading your work.


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

Hi, I found you through Joan one of your followers! When I looked through to decide what to read first, I saw this and WOW yes you are SO RIGHT! I even bought a book on it, (although I think it's packed and I can't find it at current.) What got me started was a midnight walk with my lady friends when I lived in Michigan! We would get the kids & hubby's to bed, then go for a walk! Well, they were supposed to be for our health lol, but once we saw where people had moved out, and threw away A LOT of things. I saw two antique pelican statue/knick-knack decor's on top! I picked them up quickly and said to the girls WOW, look at these, not a scratch or chip or anything! Next thing I knew, we were finding all kinds of stuff! Well, I didn't have to ask anyone for them, it was obvious whoever moved out wasn't coming back! The three of us ended up nixing our walk and taking our treasures :) back home with us! I was super excited by the time I got back home I had to wake the hubby and show him what I'd found! lol. He was happy but tired hah! But I had told him for years I wanted to live in an old country house, and fill it with antiques, and that was my start! After that our nightly walks thinned out and ended up calling our walks "Treasure nights" lol! And yep, it did take 20 more years, and a divorce, because he didn't want to leave Michigan and I couldn't wait to get away from winters, and it wasn't bitter, we'd just grown apart. So I got my chance to move to the south, I got my country house and was able to fill it with a lot of antiques... FROM things people had thrown away! As you know, I too could go on and on about the things that I stopped and picked up! (I show no embarrassment lol) When I had a full bed truck I stopped at the side of the road and picked up, what appeared to be a fairly new love seat, black velvet with gold edging on it which went perfect in a friends outside room. It was from a doctors office who obviously redecorated, but it sure looked like it had little to no wear! Great hub! A vote up & awesome! :)


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 5 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Katharella, Wow, you have inspired me to go out and search on trash days! I haven't done it for years now as I have become quite comfortable and complacent. Your story is very inspiring! I am so glad you finally got your country home filled with "free" antiques... thank you so much for sharing your story with us! Take care and thanks for your vote, Helen :-)


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

Great, thanks! You know at first we were like "omgosh I hope people we know don't see us" lol we didn't want our kids to be embarrassed you know! So after that we ended up going out later, and dressing darker! lol But if you have anyone you don't want it coming back to, like your child being embarrassed then, do that dress darker, you can even go to a nearby town on their trash day! When I moved I didn't have a problem, because nobody knew me, and I am 1,000 miles away from there. Now I'm 30 years older and have had other experiences, even told a friends sister about things I'd found. Then one day she came over with a bag full of stuff, she said "I got what I wanted, if you want what's left, here ya go" (so they are things you could even have a pretty good yard sale with if not wanted too) but inside I found a stack of writing pads of paper with big smiley faces on the front, and I do have someone I write real snail mail too, so FREE paper, and 5 sets of Light House Note/diary kind of spiral books that were BRAND NEW! I've put a few things up on eBay, and shared with friends!

In the book I mentioned, the guy goes into depth and named it Dumpster Diving LOL it sounds gross, but he said he'd come across old coin books with thousands! And just tons of other things like that! So, we just find NO SHAME now LOL! I got a stack of vinyl too that was brand new! Like someone had decided to just CLEAN OUT! Plus, not that I wouldn't share, but I don't always share my secret with just anybody because, hey I want first dibs LOL!!! Good luck I'm going to keep watch on this hub and maybe we could find a place to post our findings to each other and drop a link to it! Might even make a hub about it. My fear is that they'll make a law about it if it gets to be too big of thing, nobody likes others getting things free you know! (boo on them) lol!

*smiles*

Kathy


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

Oh p.s. :) I'd forgot to mention one day my friend and I were driving a long and THOUGHT we were stopping at a yard sale, and after picking up a few things we went to pay, and I asked a lady where is the person running it to pay! She said "I don't think there is, it looks like they just moved out and sat their unwanted things out." Just in case she was wrong I asked a few others and they said the same! So I got an antique foyer table (Found out worth of at minimal $200. with original glass wheels) and a couple of old depression era dishes, which I shared with my mom! When mom passed away, then I got the whole sets, but she too was like "are you sure it wasn't a yard sale" lol I said, the house was empty and locked up! There was no sign saying they'd be back "after lunch" or anything! So, nope, just as the title says -One mans trash.. is TOO TRUE!:) in one of my hubs, I think it's my country house with charm or something, I have a few photos up and I think one might be of my depression glass items. I think I added it, if I didn't I should! I'll check later tonight when I have time! Feel free to take a gander if you like! :)


Katharella profile image

Katharella 5 years ago from Lost in America

I had to go look LOL.. and found it.. Cozy Farm Houses with Charm and Antiques

you might have to click the "more" button but my focus was just country charm! I do have my shelf of depression glass and the green (I believe it's a cake dish) in the photo and mention it came from the pile unscathed lol! :)


brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 5 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Katharella, your stories inspire me so much! Thank you. I can't wait to see the photos of your 'finds.' My neighbor and I went out walking one day in our neighborhood. We came across a really lovely rattan love-seat sat out on the roadside. She went up and asked the owners who told her it was for the trash because they had change their interior design. My friend and I went back home and got the Jeep, took it home and it is still in her home! I can't wait to see your photos! You and I would do well on our 'treasure hunts'... like I said, I've become complacent over the years and haven't been on any hunts ~ but your stories continue to inspire me ~ thank you! Helen :-)

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