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What is the best thing you’ve ever found in the trash?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 31, 2006

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Photo of Morgan Hannings

“A nice coat rack; nothing wrong with it at all. I don’t even think it had any scratches on it.”

Photo of Stacy Feibelman

“I never have gotten anything out of the trash, but my dad retrieved some plastic storage containers for my new apartment. I made him sift through the trash for them.”

Photo of Lorraine Hilleary

“Two matching metal desks - the old-fashioned, heavy government-issued desks. They’re the best. One is my computer desk and one is a sewing table.”

Photo of Patrick Melzard

“Probably an acoustic guitar. It was in good condition. I just had to re-string it.”


dacs23 11 years, 8 months ago

credit card numbers off old receipts

BunE 11 years, 8 months ago

I found a set of Valje congas! Original cubans!

Sigmund 11 years, 8 months ago

I found a slip once, oops did I day that out load?!?!?

jonas 11 years, 8 months ago

My adopted daughter.

/man, I'm going to hell.

trollkiller 11 years, 8 months ago

I found a couple of car stereos, a computer, a box of jewelry, and a .38 revolver. So, I took them to yellowhouse

(Just kidding)

sgtwolverine 11 years, 8 months ago

I'm sorry, TOB. Maybe you can find some dignity and self-respect at Goodwill.

trinity 11 years, 8 months ago

LOL tob! well at least ya found 'em eh? ;)

i vote for original bob, best answer of the day. :)

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 8 months ago

Beatrice: After reading your post, I think maybe you are now a bike thief.

"a Dell Dimension 2400 computer"

Now that's just lazy. Who can't take a PC down to Geek Squad and get a virus removed?

Kathleen Christian 11 years, 8 months ago

I wonder if anyone found this guys mother. He threw her ashes in the dumpster - I kid you not. Said he was being haunted by her. Can you imagine throwing away your mother? Maybe she didn't let him have some fruitcake.

jayhawks71 11 years, 8 months ago

Marion....he was looking for comments to use on the forum.

I closed the lid and left him to his business. Looks as if he found a few.

Jayhawk226 11 years, 8 months ago

A sign that read: Welcome to Columbia, Missouri

I then realized I wasn't just in the trash, but a landfill not too far west of St. Louis.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 8 months ago

A nice walnut table that our home electronics use to this day. One of the nicest things we own. By the dumpster at Park 25, next to building 3.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 8 months ago

You got someone to take the old stereo? I had a color TV that I put out by the alley once. It worked, but everything was red and purple. No one took it. It sat out there for a week until the trash guys finally agreed to haul it off.

My sister, however, once had one of her old tires stolen that she had leaning against the garage. It was really trash but somebody took it, and it was only out there one night.

Darth_Vader 11 years, 8 months ago

beatrice-funniest thing I have read in a while. Thank You!

I found a Dell Dimension 2400 computer over the weekend. I booted it up but it had a serious virus on the hard drive. I pulled the virus infected harddrive out and replaced it with my old one. It works perfect, it is even faster than the one I had. It was a 2.6mhz, 256 ram computer for free.

acg 11 years, 8 months ago

TOB amateur as in, obviously homemade. Not sure if the residents are local (or were local students) or not as I'm too old to know any frat/sorority people anymore, but a few of these tapes were very homemade.

beatrice, that was great.

staff04 11 years, 8 months ago

I furnished my entire living room at one point in college with items collected from the roadside.

A sleeper couch and a recliner were two of the favorites. I really loved the recliner.

Kathleen Christian 11 years, 8 months ago

Happy Budha. Took it home, patched up the broken arm with paper mache' and painted it gold. Still have it - all worn but every spring it gets a new coat of paint. One person's trash is another person's treasure.

fletch 11 years, 8 months ago

We got a really nice bar (as in, come have drinks at our bar) that was left next to a dumpster. It was rather well built and reinforced despite being homemade. It had a glossy top, stuffed leather padding, foot rests, shelves, and even plastic runners on the edges to make sure you didn't catch a splinter. That thing served us well for many years.

acg 11 years, 8 months ago

I once got a stereo system that only needed a fuse replaced. I was also dumpster diving with friends last year behind frat row and we got a box of around 50 porn videos, some professional and some amateur (if you've done amateur porn with a frat boy recently, you might get ahold of me hehee).

geekin_topekan 11 years, 8 months ago

I found a pair of Yamaha studio monitors and a technics receiver.Set them up downtown,plugged it into the outlet by the carousel and sold the system for $10!! Lots of clothing.Sometimes the resident will see a dumpster diver and tell you that the good stuff is coming out and to hang around!!

Charla Welch 11 years, 8 months ago

My hubby has had many rescue items. 2 chairs, which lasted a couple years before breaking beyond repair, a couple bookshelves, a nice CD case, an old wooden ironing board (which he uses as a table in his studio), a couple chairs, a TV stand, a couple storage cubes, a phone table... the list goes on.

Even my cat was rescued (from the humane society, but they found him as a stray) and I have a friend who found her dog by a dumpster.

Rob Zerwekh 11 years, 8 months ago

I acquired furnishings the same way in college. I found a perfectly good roll of carpet, a folding chair, a recliner, and plastic shelves. I still have the recliner and plastic shelves. Just hang out by the dormitory dumpsters during finals week.

Conversely, my parents once placed a non-functioning desktop stereo on the curb (sans speakers, which they kept). The stereo wouldn't even power up, yet within ten minutes, it was gone.

trinity 11 years, 8 months ago

lol, great replies so far! ;)

hmmm, let me see, where has my dumpster divin' taken me? i've gotten some really cool kitchen chairs, an end table here&there, lamps...i have no shame when it comes to pulling up to someone's trash&asking if they'd care i take something out of it! :)

sgtwolverine 11 years, 8 months ago

In this area, student move-out at the University of Michigan is a treasure trove. The U of M is populated with plenty of kids with rich parents; this makes for lots of good items in fine condition being thrown away because they can just buy another one. A friend of mine got a perfectly functional 21-inch Viewsonic computer monitor from one of his neighbors because he was just going to throw it away. He's still using it.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 8 months ago

Never found anything in the trash, but we have acquired many really good pets that people have thrown out as "trash." (But "hotel sue" is full up so don't be throwing us anymore!)

Bea, you cracked me up! You're so bad! I did get a really great (and expensive) bike for my little one at a garage sale for $10. The chain was off and the tires were flat. The woman just didn't know if it could be repaired. I gave her the $10 and ran all the way to the car. (I feel only slightly bad.) It took me a whole 15 minutes to grease and put on the chain and air the tires. But it was hot out and I did sweat a little bit. :o)

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 11 years, 8 months ago

I found an old tandem bicycle in the trash when I was a teenager. I took it home, cleaned it up and put new tires on it...then sold it for $150 a few weeks later.

My dad mentioned it to one of his co-workers and they guy said "Hey, we have an old tandem that we're getting ready to throw away. Your kid can have it." Dad brought it home and I fixed that one up, too. But I kept that one for myself. Now 20+ years later, my wife and I still take it for a ride when we go back to Ohio to visit my mom (dad died several years ago).

sgtwolverine 11 years, 8 months ago

Nothing in the trash -- not that I remember. But I briefly worked at a recycling center; my job was to remove the cardboard and other non-paper items from a conveyer belt that was supposed to be full of paper. (A fascinating job, I know. I stayed there all of four days.) Considering the fact that the stuff I saw was in what was supposed to be paper to be recycled, there were some interesting things in there. Be careful what you throw in your recycling bins!

Anyway, without a doubt, the best item I found in the recycling was a pair of combat boots. Aside from one tear, they were in pretty good shape, too. I took them home and wore them.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 8 months ago

"Some of the spoiled rich trust fund college kids would rather throw out perfectly good items than exert the effort to move them once they leave town."

Actually, I saw the guy put it out there: it was our recently fired maintenance man's table. I got that, a cool guitar stool (heavy metalic design, adjustable, like the expensive ones they use in schools), and a set of metal shelves that I still use in my garage. Totally cool.

What I've heard, though, is to be working at an apartment complex when the rich foreign students leave. Sometimes they just walk away from a newly furnished apartment, TV and all. You can only take so much in your carry-on luggage...

beatrice 11 years, 8 months ago

I once got a great mountain bike that was virtually brand new. It was right there next to the dumpster, up by the gate at the side of a house. It didn't even need any repairs -- I just hopped on and peddled away. The person living in the house came out to wish me good luck with the bike he no longer wanted. He was so excited to see someone else using the bike, he came running out barefoot and in boxer shorts holding a half-full beer bottle -- waving his arms, pointing with a middle finger, and shouting loudly with joy. He ran pretty quickly, so I just peddled harder -- laughing and enjoying this wonderful moment of community sharing. It made me think of a father watching a child ride a bike for the first time -- close, but not too close, as he stayed just out of reach. (Apparently, there was a slight defect the former owner was warning me of that I never quite caught -- something to do with the front end, and that my mother of all people should help with the repair. He kept repeating "mother" and "forks are ..." but he never finished saying exactly what the "forks are." Odd, I thought. And mom never did find anything wrong with the forks.) He eventually stopped running, bending at his waist and panting heavily, though not before one last burst of energy in which he threw his beer bottle in my direction -- it was kind of symbolic of when you tie stuff onto the back of a vehicle for those just married, I guess. The bottle exploded, sounding like celebratory fireworks of the wonderful exchange of his disgarded item and my new bike. I just cycled away smiling, so happy that I had made another human being so ecstatic and exhausted from his revere. Good times!

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