dumpster find of the week: a new cabinet

Whenever I do something a day later than I planned to, I think of my high school social studies teacher. She was a tall gangely woman, and though I no longer remember her name or any of the dates I memorized for her class, I remember that she looked like Mick Jagger, recommended Howard Zinn, and was fond of the saying “A day late and a dollar short.” Funny what our organic data bases choose to save.

But this post is about dumpster-dived booty, this dumpster-dived booty in fact:

A couple of weeks ago we got wind of good news (I still don’t know who found this out or how): it was Sperrmüll day in Budenheim, and some of my Platz-mates were going to drive over in a big bus to check it out. Sperrmüll, for those of you who haven’t been reading long and/or don’t speak German, is the word for big trash. When you have a lot of furniture and boxes of random stuff that you need to throw out, you call the government office that organizes Sperrmüll collection, and they schedule a day on which it will be picked up from your curb. Many cities, like Mainz, do this on an appointment by appointment basis. But others simply have one day a year (or in the case of Frankfurt, a specific weekday depending on the neighborhood) when everybody puts out their big trash to be carted away the next day. Which makes for some excellent trash picking.

So five of us drove to Budenheim in a beat-up enormous blue bus to investigate. And it was perverse. The amount of material stuff that I see in the trash is disturbing enough, but it remains in generally small doses. I never see it all piled on the street at once, and I am saved the shock. But in small towns with one Sperrmüll day a year, you get it all at once: huge piles of furniture, boxes of books, suitcases, garbage bags full of clothing and trinkets, and entire kitchens. You name it, and it was in that pile (except the kayak I’ve been looking for for haveyouseenthisgirl).

Twiggy drove the van up and down each street, and every time we were within walking distance of multiple and/or good-looking piles, we’d park, race out of the van, and start carting things back. After a couple of hours the van was completely full. But the streets were far from empty, and we could have come back a dozen times and still found something worth taking. It was absolutely obscene, and in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be showing you a lot of my dumpster finds from that day. But my favorite was the little glass-doored cabinet pictured above.

As far as I can tell, it’s just a standard Ikea number, but I painted it with the color from the trim in my bed area and now it hangs there empty, awaiting the arrival of my collection of tiny ancient Edgar Allen Poe books and whatever other delicacies I manage to haul back from the United States during my next trip.

Read about why I do a “dumpster find of the week” series here. Or check out some of the other treasures I’ve pulled out of the trash here.

This post was a part of 2nd Time Around at A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.

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Thursday June 16th 2011, 12:12 pm 7 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan

7 Comments so far. Please leave a comment.

That’s a swell cabinet, but I’m surprised that you have room for a collection of something living in as small a space as you do. I have to admit that a collection of tiny Edgar Allen Poe books sounds pretty cool, though…

Comment by paula 06.16.11 @ 4:13 pm

Well I always have room for my favorite books, and I have quite a thing for Mr. Poe. They’re pretty tiny books, a collection of his entire work bound in a set, which I think filed ten volumes (but like I said, they’re very small format). And any time that I want to let something into my house that I don’t have room for, I get rid of something I don’t like as much or have started to notice that I don’t use.

Comment by clickclackgorilla 06.16.11 @ 4:35 pm

Hey, I just read a great dumpster-diving post on a wild food foraging blog and thought of you: http://firstways.com/2011/06/15/the-rich-taste-of-free-food/

Comment by Lindsey 06.16.11 @ 7:15 pm

Sweet little cabinet! Our town has one big trash day per year, and you’re right…it’s absolutely obscene… the sheer amount and variety of things that are discarded.

Comment by Lisa 06.16.11 @ 7:51 pm

Here’s a link to a story about a fellow who has been squatting in a shack on a beach for over 20 years and is in danger of being forced out. I thought it might interest you. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/06/17/real-life-castaway-could-be-forced-out-of-illegal-driftwood-shack-where-he-has-been-living-for-26-years-115875-23206356/

Comment by Lisa 06.18.11 @ 3:23 am

Lindsey: Thanks for the link!

Lisa: Same goes for you. Just saw something about that guy this morning on one of the tiny house related blogs I frequent. What a place! Hope he manages to stay.

Comment by doodle 06.22.11 @ 12:52 pm

[...] dumpster find of the week: a new cabinet [...]

Pingback by dumpster find of the week: the blue chair | click clack gorilla 06.22.11 @ 1:11 pm




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