Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spring is here! Get out your trailers and lets collect new trash

Today, while running around Jamestown, North Dakota, people were out and about hitching boats to trucks, riding bikes, planting gardens, and collecting items from the sides of the streets. Jamestown, which I've come to know quite well after 4 years of artist-in-residencies, has a love for garage sales, auctions, antiques and hoarding. Someone told me the storage rentals per capita ratio was higher in Jamestown than most places in the world. I believe it.

Each time the weather gets nice, it was beautiful today, the people come out in droves. One the the most important activity is hitching a massive trailer to the back of your car or truck and then browsing the sidewalks for furniture, and other items people are throwing out. I watched at least 10 separate groups scouring the town collecting things, as people brought their unwanted items to the curb. What I want to know is if this is a common practice in America, or in the world? At the first sign of nice weather does your community bring out their unwanted things and let those that 'want' a chance to have? St. Louis Park (SLP) and Minneapolis, Minnesota in general have a pretty effective craigslist system going on, it also seems things just get picked up if one happens to see something they like when they pass by. In all my years growing up in SLP I have never seen cars browsing the curbside or the alleyways looking to refurnish their apartments. Maybe I just didn't notice this activity.

As I thought about it, it seemed like a pretty efficient way to go shopping for free things, and also get rid of unwanted or damaged items. I did enjoy myself as I ran up and down the streets watching people staring out of car windows pointing at old bed frames, or trying the doors of an entertainment center. At one four way intersection I saw three different vehicles stopped, all with trailers hitched to the back and 'look out' passengers whose jobs seems to be to find the best cache of items during the drive.

If you have junk, what do you do with it? If you see something you want on the side of curb, do you get it? Have you ever just driven around browsing for items? I would love to hear from you. Help me solve this curbside mystery.


thetoymaker said...

If we have extra furniture that is still good we just put it on the sidewalk and it gets picked up in a matter of hours.

A couple of times a year we do a big house purge and take bags of stuff down to Goodwill.

"Blessed be nothing, you don't have to dust it."

Alicia Billings said...

"garage sales, auctions, antiques and hoarding"... that pretty much sums up Montana, although gun collecting & shooting definitely top the list.

I'm amazed with what you describe. It's like an unspoken ritual, and something I've never witnessed. I'm also curious if it happens elsewhere. I'm pretty sure if I put out some decent furniture at the front of our place in broad daylight, someone would knock on the door to ask how much we want for it.