Author Topic: Disposable Living  (Read 7372 times)

wild wendella

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Disposable Living
« on: March 29, 2014, 12:46:41 PM »
The people in the house behind us are moving out.  It's a small, two bedroom house and a rental, but they'd still managed to stack up an entire bedroom's worth of stuff in the back yard to throw away.  The junk luggers just came by now to load it up in their truck and cart it off. 

Here are some of the things I saw get thrown into the truck:

- leather couch
- wooden bookshelf with nice round feet
- wooden glider (for a baby's room).  I bought one of these myself on craig's list two years ago for $175.  Even if theirs is in crap shape, they should have been able to sell it for at least $10.
- black leather desk chair on wheels
- black folding chair
- tons of large picture frames
- folding table
- wooden counter stool
- lawn mower with large collection bag

All of this stuff was clearly headed for the dump, because the guys just hurled it into the back of the truck.  I'm sure all of the picture frames were shattered and all of the furniture broken by the careless loading style.  The waste is completely mind boggling.  Even if the lawn mower is broken, put it out on the curb with a 'free' sign so someone can take it home and fix it!  Have a yard sale and give all of this stuff away for cheap.  It's just killing me that people do this... and the sad thing is it's the norm.
 

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 01:04:24 PM »
Yikes.

Some people just moved out of a very large house on our boarding school campus, where they had lived many years. Even though they gave a lot of stuff away, they still had to have a dumpster brought in just for the crap they threw away.

Jamesqf

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2014, 01:33:26 PM »
I'm surprised the haulers don't stack it carefully, and sell the usable stuff on Craigslist. 

The Money Monk

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2014, 01:53:52 PM »
Yeah this always bothers me.

I run an auction company and I'm trying to get spread the word that you can just give it to an auction company to sell for you and get cash  without any work at all. We will even pick up a load from people and then split the sales 50/50. so there is no more work than what they are already doing to stack it by the curb.

But people don't know or sometimes don't even care and would rather just throw it in a big pile at the dump.

horsepoor

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 04:32:22 PM »
What's really disgusting is that they can't be bothered to call a thrift store that would come and pick up anything usable for them.  For free.  Plus the tax write-off.

Otsog

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2014, 04:45:07 PM »
Yeah this always bothers me.

I run an auction company and I'm trying to get spread the word that you can just give it to an auction company to sell for you and get cash  without any work at all. We will even pick up a load from people and then split the sales 50/50. so there is no more work than what they are already doing to stack it by the curb.

But people don't know or sometimes don't even care and would rather just throw it in a big pile at the dump.

Have you thought of running your own furniture hauling company?   

FiveSigmas

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2014, 06:25:37 PM »
That is really depressing.

I was under the impression that a number of the popular junk hauling services actually make a significant amount of their profit by sorting out the wheat from the chaff and reselling it. Maybe picture frames aren't considered "wheat."

ketchup

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2014, 07:14:54 PM »
Wow.  We just moved into a place with a smaller living area, and Goodwill got a really nice couch and a half out of the deal.  I can't imagine just throwing away stuff like that.

GuitarStv

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 11:35:16 AM »
When I was in university I'd cruise the streets near the end of the school year looking for furniture that other students would toss.  We furnished most of our rental house by doing this (kitchen table, two couches, coffee table, two end tables, lamps, desks, etc.).  I distinctly remember carrying the heavier couch (it was a pull out) by foot for about two kilometers in the hot sun back to our house.

People are crazy.

dragoncar

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2014, 02:15:50 PM »
That is really depressing.

I was under the impression that a number of the popular junk hauling services actually make a significant amount of their profit by sorting out the wheat from the chaff and reselling it. Maybe picture frames aren't considered "wheat."

This is my impression too -- even our local garbage company gives you a free dumpster every 6 months and claims to sort for reuse/recycling.  It makes sense for them to do it, so I tend to believe them -- landfill space is very limited around here.

Perhaps OP is in a part of the country where landfill space abounds.

skyrefuge

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2014, 05:01:42 PM »
The junk luggers just came by now to load it up in their truck and cart it off.

Like others, I'm a little confused. Who are you talking about when you refer to "junk haulers"? My first assumption is that you're referring the guys who drive around in pickup trucks the night before the weekly municipal garbage pickup is scheduled, scanning for things people have put out on the curb that they can grab to get value out of.

Or are you simply talking about a paid-for (either municipal or private) garbage service?

If it's the former, then it doesn't make any sense to me why they would take things that have no value to them; they would just leave them there for the regular garbage service to pick up the next morning. No hauler is going to pay a dump to take their load if no one is paying them to pick it up.

If it's the latter, I guess it would be nice if garbage services would somehow double as resellers, but I don't think that's really what they're contracted for (and it must not be worth it to them), so it's not at all surprising that they treat all "garbage" equally.

Either way, yeah, it sucks to see non-disposable things treated that way, though I actually think the pickup-truck guys are pretty awesome for doing their part to "recycle" things that the standard municipal trash system keeps people from giving a shit about.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 05:08:35 PM by skyrefuge »

RetiredAt63

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2014, 05:08:50 PM »
Last year when I had a tiny apartment in Ottawa for weekday living, I saw all sorts of good furniture thrown out.  Solid oak coffee table, solid wood shelves, tables, a computer desk (that one I collected, it was nicer than mine and I am sitting at it now).  Anyone cruising at the end of the month (when people moved out) could have easily picked up some nice furnishings, and that was over just one block and a very ordinary low-rise apartment complex.

Re the computer desk, my DD said I was living like a university student, scavenging furniture - I just smiled at her and said "yes". It was an upgrade, after all   ;-)

wild wendella

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2014, 10:11:59 AM »
Perhaps OP is in a part of the country where landfill space abounds.

Space definitely does not abound.  I'm about 40-45 miles from Manhattan.  It looked to me like a paid junk hauler.  I saw them hurl the baby glider, stools, bookshelf, desk chair, frames and others into the truck with great force.  If they intended to re-purpose these items, significant post-hauling repair would be required. I did not see how they loaded the lawn mower and couch, so perhaps those items were deemed worthy of salvage.  Either way, ridiculous.

skyrefuge

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2014, 04:10:32 PM »
It looked to me like a paid junk hauler.

Yeah, then it's just sad/stupid that they didn't put the stuff out to the curb, wait for the unpaid trash pickers to come by and grab the valuable stuff for resale/recycling, and then pay for a junk hauler to pick up whatever remained. The way they did it, it's a lose-lose-lose situation: the renters paid more than they needed to to the junk haulers, the unpaid trash pickers missed a chance to turn a bit of profit, and we all suffer from the waste and destruction of resources.

Unless the trash pickers don't exist or are outlawed in your community; I certainly wouldn't be shocked to learn that backward-thinking towns (with lobbying help from the corporate garbage industry!) have laws to prevent the menace of recyclers from doing their valuable work.

Melody

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2014, 05:29:17 PM »
Or a quick photo with the mobile phone and a "free household stuff" ad on craigslist... I know people who've furnished whole houses this way!

The Money Monk

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2014, 12:58:00 PM »

Have you thought of running your own furniture hauling company?

The problem isn't hauling it, I can already do that (and I do). The problem is knowing about when and where the stuff is being thrown away. They don't bother letting anybody know they are doing it, and I can't just drive all over the city every day looking for stuff that is being thrown out.

People just don't know or don't care, and that obstacle is the same whether it's an auction company or a furniture company, or whatever.

warfreak2

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2014, 02:01:11 PM »
That's something I've noticed in most of the places I've lived in the UK, too. The council here will even collect unwanted furniture free of charge, but there's still idiots who must have carried a cabinet halfway down the alley to dump it on unused land next to the train tracks.

It makes me wonder if a smartphone app that lets people post geotagged photos of abandoned furniture could be successful; stuff could likely be spotted and collected within a day.

Ayanka

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2014, 03:38:53 PM »
@ The money monk:

no but you could hire yourself out to collect furniture and haul it off ( for a small fee of course) that way you could create more chances to do it (and get paid in the mean time).

skyrefuge

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2014, 03:58:07 PM »
It makes me wonder if a smartphone app that lets people post geotagged photos of abandoned furniture could be successful; stuff could likely be spotted and collected within a day.

Like I said, around here, this economic niche is already filled with tons of independent trash pickers who are incredibly efficient. You can put something out to the curb at 8pm on the night before garbage day, and without telling anyone about it, if it has any value, a couple of guys in a pickup truck will literally grab it within an hour, sometimes within 5 minutes. It's actually one of my favorite examples of the free market at work.

Given the look of the trucks of most of these guys, I don't get the feeling that they're relying much on technology (more just knowing the prime times/places to drive around), so maybe there is room there for a technological solution to add some efficiency, but I also like the romantic idea that these guys have a sort of ingrained local knowledge about appraisal and scrap value that they'd still outcompete some rich nerds and their smartphones.

I have no idea who they normally fence through, but if The Money Monk has a similar culture in his area, maybe they're the middleman network he needs to get in touch with to inform him about (or deliver him) auctionable stuff.

warfreak2

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2014, 04:48:12 PM »
Like I said, around here, this economic niche is already filled with tons of independent trash pickers who are incredibly efficient. You can put something out to the curb at 8pm on the night before garbage day, and without telling anyone about it, if it has any value, a couple of guys in a pickup truck will literally grab it within an hour, sometimes within 5 minutes. It's actually one of my favorite examples of the free market at work.
Nice! Unfortunately, some places I've lived, there have been perfectly good sofas, chairs, tables &c. left out for months. (We do have English weather here, so they aren't perfectly good after months.)

iris lily

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2014, 11:02:31 PM »
The people in the house behind us are moving out.  It's a small, two bedroom house and a rental, but they'd still managed to stack up an entire bedroom's worth of stuff in the back yard to throw away.  The junk luggers just came by now to load it up in their truck and cart it off. 

Here are some of the things I saw get thrown into the truck:

- leather couch
- wooden bookshelf with nice round feet
- wooden glider (for a baby's room).  I bought one of these myself on craig's list two years ago for $175.  Even if theirs is in crap shape, they should have been able to sell it for at least $10.
- black leather desk chair on wheels
- black folding chair
- tons of large picture frames
- folding table
- wooden counter stool
- lawn mower with large collection bag

All of this stuff was clearly headed for the dump, because the guys just hurled it into the back of the truck.  I'm sure all of the picture frames were shattered and all of the furniture broken by the careless loading style.  The waste is completely mind boggling.  Even if the lawn mower is broken, put it out on the curb with a 'free' sign so someone can take it home and fix it!  Have a yard sale and give all of this stuff away for cheap.  It's just killing me that people do this... and the sad thing is it's the norm.

Cynical me says there is some public assistance in there somewhere.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 11:10:22 PM by iris lily »

iris lily

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2014, 11:08:58 PM »

It makes me wonder if a smartphone app that lets people post geotagged photos of abandoned furniture could be successful; stuff could likely be spotted and collected within a day.

I've notified Craigslist for the really good stuff I see sitting in alleys by making a "Free curbside Alert" post. I'm just not into collecting "stuff" anymore, having trolled alleys and dumpsters for 20 years.

My  heart still breaks for the fabulous Deco dresser set (missing only 1 drawer--could be covered in a cute way with a little fabric curtain!) that is now at the bottom of a landfill because I was too damned lazy to notify Craigslist about it.

A note to furniture divers: DH taught me to always look in the nearby dumpster for drawer and sofa cushions that may be missing on that piece of furniture sitting next to the can.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 11:11:14 PM by iris lily »

paddedhat

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2014, 08:35:58 AM »
How about an interesting possibility regarding the OP's observation, and possibly hiring the same "junk hauler" or another one, located in the burbs of NYC.

A few years ago the MIL passed. She owned an extraordinary little cape cod that was not only cute, but looked like an "Americana" shop, circa 1950. The place was filled with all kinds of stuff, and there literally wasn't a place to put your hand on a wall, or table surface. She was not a hoarder, or junk collector, but a collector of what appeared to be colonial to depression era antiques.
Unfortunately, we quickly discovered that 95% of her collection was reproductions, and in the eyes of auction houses, and buyers, not worth the space they took up.

We live 40 miles away, and spent the next five months, carefully trying to deal with this issue. We gave everything away that anybody show an interest in. We sold a very small portion at an auction. We had a good will type service show up, and remove anything that they could resell. We then hauled at least a dozen truck loads of small trinkets to a local, no profit thrift store. In the end we hired an outfit out of the NYC area who loaded up 40 yards of household goods. These guys busted their asses for a long, ten hour day of loading. They removed everything from baby furniture, and wing back chairs, to a chest freezer. The removal and hauling were far from cheap, and a lot of really good stuff ended up getting tossed, but at some point you have to decide where to draw the line.

My own mother passed within a few weeks of the MIL. (oddly enough,  they lived on the same block.)  We had similar issues with her estate. Two valuable lessons were learned. First, two auctioneers confirmed the same sad fact. In our region, the average contents of an average 3/2 house fail to raise enough value to justify holding an on site auction, or paying to have the contents removed, and delivered to a weekly auction. Second, we as a society have WAAAY too much shit, and need to think about how badly we are burdening our survivors when we leave a situation that takes hundreds of hours of hard work, and thousands of dollars to clean up.   

We recently moved into a new house. Not only is the place modestly sized, and owner built, it has forced a real downsizing. Moving day involved me, and two grunts, doing two quick trips with a 14' U-Haul van. The first trip a full van, the second was about five pieces of big furniture. If the wife and I get run over by a bus today, our kids will end up dealing with about 20-30% of the mess that our Moms left us.

So, to wrap it all up. I learned that you can't judge something like this until you have all the unpleasant facts. We fill our lives up with massive volumes of needless shit, and don't give much thought to why, or if it will impact others. We attach a much higher value to our stuff than society does, and unless we have extremely good taste, and skill, our personal stash probably isn't worth the cost of hauling it away.

BlueHouse

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2014, 12:42:01 PM »
Quote
I've notified Craigslist for the really good stuff I see sitting in alleys by making a "Free curbside Alert" post. I'm just not into collecting "stuff" anymore, having trolled alleys and dumpsters for 20 years.
Apologies to all Costco lovers, but part of me thinks Costco is the devil because of the consumerism it sparks.  I lived in one of the wealthiest counties in the country (Loudoun County in Northern Virginia) and you could always get excellent finds on the side of the curb because there was so much Costco furniture churn.  Yeah, money doesn't buy taste.  While I was there, I had two free cycle accounts.  Sterling VA to get good stuff and Reston VA to get rid of stuff.  Although only 6 miles away, it was a completely different mindset.  The Reston people were a lot more ecofriendly and would recycle just about anything.  Listings were often for rainbaarrels or 1/2 eaten boxes of granola. In Sterling, there were very few "wanted" postings and hundreds of offers to get rid of almost new items.  Even when it wasn't from Costco, the entire disposable living and effect of mass availability in huge quantities of "stuff" seemed to be prevalent. 

Argyle

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Re: Disposable Living
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2014, 02:25:22 PM »
Also, Freecycle.org.