Our local council conducts clean up collections every year for removing bulky household items. I can't remember how many times a year they conduct these collections. I think it's about 3-4 times a year. Every household leaves their unwanted goods on the footpath for the council to pick up. Check your local council website or ring them to find out the clean up dates.
People also leave goods for pick-up when they move houses. So keep an eye on your neighbourhood.
The items may include:
- furniture e.g. chairs/computer chairs, tables, beds, mattresses, sofas, etc
- kitchen utensils
- fitness/sporting equipment such as exercise bikes, trampolines, bicycles, etc
- white goods such as fridges, stoves, washing machines, etc
- electronic goods such as TV’s, DVD players, video recorders, printers, computers etc.
I've found this an excellent opportunity to grab some useful items for free. People start putting out their stuff for collection couple of weeks prior to the collection date. When we go out for a walk during this period, we keep an eye for useful items. You will be amazed to see a wide range of items lying on the footpath.
How do items end up on the footpath?
Somebody else's junk could still make it to your lounge, kitchen or bedroom. Do not underestimate what you will be able to find on the footpath. People throw away items not only because the items are old, damaged and unusable. People's tastes change over time and they buy new items according to new trends and fashion. Their old goods simply become out-of-date and hence they end up on the footpath.
Using the newly-found items
Most of the time, you can find goods that are totally undamaged or only slightly damaged. I'd say about 10-20% of the items that end up on footpaths are in pretty good condition which may need a bit of refurbishment. For instance, you may need a coat of painting on furniture or hammer in a few nails in order to use them. If you are lucky you may even find an item that you can use fresh off the footpath.
What skills do you need?
Firstly, you need a bit of luck to find great items but it's worth a try. You also need an eye for detail to figure out what exactly you need and whether the item is damaged. You certainly need patience and you may need to allocate some time for a hunt. Next time you go for a walk, keep an eye on what's lying around on the footpaths.
What we've picked up from the footpath...
I would like to share with you what I've picked up from the footpath. We've been using these items for more than a year, some almost 2 years. They are all working fine.
Plastic folder box
Asian style wooden coffee tables. The one on the right has a nice glass top.
Computer desk with castors. The desk comes with slidable keyboard unit. We've used it as a TV stand in our bedroom. It's got a perfect height.
Small TV with DVD player and a remote control. There is a tiny crack on the bottom right of the screen. This doesn't have any effect on the quality of the pictures at all. It's just a cosmetic thing. We've kept this spare TV in our bedroom.
Floor cushion. We just had to wash the dirty cover before use.
Large mat. We just had to give it a good wash before use.
Basket. It was in near-new, perfectly good condition.
How much do you reckon it would cost if you had to buy the items listed above? I'll leave the calculations to you.
Feel free to share your stories.