One Sunday afternoon. Anytown, USA. In this case, it was my suburban town in New Jersey. My sweetheart and I returned from a movie, and decided to take a look at some furniture by the dumpster at my apartment complex that wasn't there when we left. Well it wasn't just furniture we found.
What about these items says "trash" to you? Because some items need cleaning? Or they need a few repairs? Because they are simply no longer wanted by their inconsiderate owners?
Two beautiful frames and a hand-carved wooden turtle. I'm going to keep these. The right one will now hold a cherished picture of my grandparents in their farmhouse in Switzerland.
A suitcase. This needs a good steam-cleaning due to the pet fur, but otherwise, there is nothing wrong with it. My boyfriend took this. It will be with us on future adventures.
We salvaged the bookcase on the far right, the brown cabinet, and the baby car seat. Sadly, we did not rescue the white cabinet. My boyfriend kept pleading with me we could not save everything, but I'm still crushed this could not be reused.
Brand new martini glasses and light blue serving tray, with a price of $10 marked on the box, which had never been opened. I love using martini glasses to serve desserts. Even a scoop of sorbet with a sprig of mint seems more festive in them.
If I do buy books, I mainly buy them used, and I believe in passing them on (except for ones you absolutely want to own), for future readers to enjoy them. They didn't even have the courtesy to put these in the recycling bin.
...and more books.
My boyfriend was most thrilled about these: CDs...The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and more. He was actually in the market for a Bob Marley CD.
I adore the fall season and Halloween. These will decorate my home in 2010.
Reusable bags. My organic almond milk and staples don't care what kind of bag they are carried in. They will be carried in this Whole Foods bag (which will get a good wash in hot water). My boyfriend snagged the Old Navy blue bag, for the beach or grocery shopping.
Baby and toddler clothing, now freshly laundered. In my opinion, we'd be doing our children a favor by not over-indulging in endless amounts of clothing and plastic toys from traditional retail shops and instead saving early on for their future. Why not culturally embrace youth savings accounts for future educational use or purchase of a home? Many of my colleagues are crippled with educational debt well into their careers. For Christenings, birthdays and such, perhaps a financial gift to a savings account would do a child better than so much "stuff."
You can find these bibs for 25 cents at most thrift shops.
Sweet dreams. Thirteen sleepers/nightgowns.
I bet there are a lot of little boys out there who would love to wear that Spiderman shirt.
These clothes were made by laborers in China, India, Indonesia, and Madagascar. I am mortified they are considered disposable. One shirt had a bad bleach stain which I will use as a cleaning rag, but the rest are perfectly fine.
When people throw things away, it's about pollution, but it's also about throwing away wealth. People of all income levels could use things others throw mindlessly in the trash because it is too inconvenient for them to do a bit of research or work. Make no mistake, this happens constantly in every neighborhood in the USA.
The irony was not lost on us that we had returned from a major shopping complex where many people will be buying new the items that had just been thrown out. We are proud to have saved them from a cruel, unnecessary fate in the landfill. We resolved to continue to find ways to reverse this pattern.
Learn more about where to donate your items from MSNBC. Real Simple gives tips as well. Find a charitable thrift store through TheThriftShopper.com. Sell things through a local thrift/consignment shop. Go on Freecycle. Host a clothing swap. At our work swaps, I see the immediate gratification of people who find things that others didn't use or like, and satisfied shoppers at the C.A.T.S. Resale Shop buying our donations.
Let's be a reusable nation. A financially-empowered nation. An environmentally-minded nation. Anything but a disposable nation.
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