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make trashmonade?

Yes, yes, I directly cribbed that from Strongbad and piemonade. Pretty much everything funny I’ve ever said was probably cribbed from somebody funnier than I am. Wit by proxy, isn’t it?

Anyway, I’ve been makin’ some trashmonade just lately.

You’re probably looking at this picture right now and thinking, “WTF does this lady’s laundry have to do with trashmonade?” Right? Right!

Well, this isn’t my laundry as such. This pile of dirty clothes represents phase 1 of a salvage effort I’ve tied into.

This past weekend, on the ACME Saturday ride, we discovered a major trash heap…a big ol’ dropoff of illegal dumping of all sorts of household goods, toys, clothes, etc. As we wandered amongst the boxes and bags of stuff laying around this empty lot, we were all kind of shocked at the quantity of quality stuff that had just been pitched out. “Why didn’t they donate this stuff?” Paul asked rhetorically and repeatedly. Nobody knows why, but they didn’t. Not only were there heaps of kid stuff, there were around 25-30 library books, and boxes and boxes of documents, mail, etc. I took a couple of pieces of mail with phone numbers and tried to call the apparent owners of the stuff to make sure that this mess wasn’t the aftermath of a break-in or eviction, but the numbers have since been disconnected and reassigned, so I wasn’t able to make contact.

After I made those calls, and couldn’t get in touch with the people whose stuff this once was, Paul’s question settled back in my head. Why didn’t they donate this stuff to charity, a thrift shop, pass it along to someone else who could use it? If it just sat in that field much longer, it wouldn’t be fit for anything but the landfill.

It struck me that even though they didn’t there’s no reason why I couldn’t!

So, I went back out yesterday after work with my panniers and large back pack and loaded up as much as I could haul away. The panniers were stuffed tight as drums with children’s toys and baby clothes. I loaded my backpack full of library books and returned them to a nearby branch library. I laid out a few baby blankets, heaped more clothes upon them, rolled them up into a gigantic fabric burrito, and secured the bundle with some belts, then Bunjied that across the top of my rack-and-pannier setup.

I’m going back on Friday with the panniers, my BOB trailer, and the big pack once again, to try to pick up the last of whatever there is salvageable. I think I should be able to get the rest of what’s recoverable in one more big trip, then I am going to call the City’s “illegal dumping” hotline and let them take care of what’s left. I plan on consolidating it so that it will be a pretty easy trip for them. They’re pretty overworked as it is.

But this is my plan for any future trash heaps that I find that have lots of good shit in them, but it’s nothing that any of my friends or I could use. I’m going to try to salvage everything that’s salvageable, clean it up, and donate it to an appropriate charity or drop it off at one or another of the thrift shops that I like to support.

So much shit gets wasted in this society just because people are lazy or ignorant or a combination of both. Whoever ditched all this stuff could have called Big Brothers & Big Sisters, and they’d have sent a truck to pick it up from their very doorstep. It would have been less effort that it had to have been to load this stuff into a pickup and find an abandoned lot and throw it out.

I’m not trying to be all Robin Hood of the Trash Heap, but I also feel like this is something I pretty much ought to do, since I can. I’m always poking around in the trash anyhow, and this is a pretty easy way to help my fellow man. I feel like right now, it’s especially imperative. I’m having a pretty difficult time financially, myself, but I know there are a LOT more people out there who are having it way, way, way worse than I am. Since I’m always finding great stuff in dumpsters and trash heaps, I figured I ought to “pay it forward.” I regularly find things that I have no use for, but which still have significant utility. Why not recover and re-circulate them?

I also found a bunch of sewing patterns and fabric:

little girls' halter dress, in the lovebug fabric. IMG_0616
Some of them had even been cut out, but never assembled.

I’ve decided to go ahead and put together these garments and add them to the donation pile. Some of the other fabric will probably be put to the same purpose, while some of the rest of it, I have designs on for my own requirements. Again, I kind of feature this as a way to even the balance against all of the dumpster prizes I’ve “won” in all of these years.
trash heap treasures
There’s like 2yds each of each of these.
trash heap treasures
There’s like 3 yards of the purple, one-and-a-half of the kitty and frog, and two and a quarter of the sunflower.
Un-cut kids' dress and separates patterns.
There are the rest of the kiddie patterns. I reckon I’ll hang on to them for the time being. They’re not the right size for my niece, but I may end up with someone in my life for whom these would be appropriate.

3 Responses to “When life gives you a pile of trash”

  1. Audrey says:

    If anything is a size 4 and looks useable set it aside for me please. Also Matt likes obscure things, as do you, so if you see anything particularly neat perhaps it will be Matt’s xmas present?

  2. Kethrai says:

    That’s what my mom does, sorta. They have a Freebie barn at their dump–she rescues blankets and towels, washes them, and brings them to the animal shelter.

  3. Lady_Catherine says:

    It may have been an eviction. When I was a maid, I cleaned eviction houses sometimes, and often they just took what they could stuff in their car and dumped the rest. It’s a great thing you’re doing- somebody will benefit, and it cleans up the town at the same time!

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