questionswhat is your best trash pick?

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That's what happened to my lawn mower. I went inside for some water, came back it was gone. :-(

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I usually check stuff. I found it around 7AM on a Tuesday, and the former owner waved with a smile on his face while I picked it up. I said "thanks", he said "you're welcome".

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I once found a pair of nunchucks but my friend grabbed it before I was able to pick it out from the garbage can full of nails and screws...I was 10 at the time...

Other than that, do books/magazines with the covers ripped off from the dumpster behind a book store count?

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A decent Sony boombox, the only thing wrong with it was the tape deck didn't work. Whatever. I've been using it to entertain me while I complete projects around the house, no worries if it gets dirty or ruined, because it was a "dumpster dive."

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My wife's coworkers came over to the college campus where I work after move-out day and went for a dumpster dive.

They left with 3 working mini refrigerators, a couple microwaves, 42 brand new brooms, a wireless router new in box, and beer that was still cold.

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@omnichad: What self-respecting college kid throws away perfectly good beer?

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Well unlike what you probably think after reading my question: Do garbage pickers bother you?, I scored a pretty nice 18" bike a couple weeks ago. While on a run with my girlfriend, the day before garbage day, I noticed a pretty shiny bike in between a neighbors garbage cans. So I walked over pick it out and took a look at it. The stock training wheels were falling off, the tires were very low, and the handlebar brake was broken, everything else looked fine. So I walked it home, took out a couple tools and took off the broken handlebar brake and the training wheels then pumped up the tires. The next morning I put it up on Craigslist for $20 stating that I pumped up the tires last night and they have been holding strong. Then evening I met a guy and sold it for a quick $20 (my asking price!). I don't mind if garbage pickers pick, just going through personal cans bothers me.

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Once picked an antique short wave radio off the top of a pile of trash where someone was cleaning out a garage. Sold it on ebay for $75. (true story)

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My MIL lives in a small condo complex and I offered to take her trash to the dumpster one day. When I peeked inside, I saw stacks and stacks of books, some with receipts tucked inside, all new with uncracked spines. A young woman had just moved out and apparently decided she didn't need any of these. I scored about 40 books ranging from self-help to mystery novels, about a dozen unused hardcover journals (I guess she was planning to use these in conjunction with the self-help books), a collection of novelty cups (eg, with LED lights, carnival themes, etc.) several nice Mardi Gras "throws" (not just beads), and I forget what else. It was a hoot! The things I didn't want I donated to a fundraiser rummage sale.

A few years earlier I discovered several cases of brand new multi-colored file folders in a dumpster near my office. When I did the math I discovered that it was about $600 worth of folders. As a former girl scout, I told the owner and he retrieved them. Ah, well.

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4 wicker chairs. They need to be painted and new cushions but that was it. They are currently residing on my front pouch. The other bestest thing I got was a Handel lamp base. Took it to a antique lighting store to have it rewired and the guy said it was worth about $800. If I had the original handpainted shade it would have been worth about $7000...I love picking.

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@falcondeal: I got the gist that you just didn't want people picking through garbage bags and stuff. I totally agree with that. If I leave it on top of the can or on the side, it's fair game. If it's in the bag, please leave it alone.

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A work bench made of angle iron. It was exactly what I needed at the time.

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A week ago I found a pair of my favorite boy shorts hanging off the side of a trash can. They must have fallen out of my laundry. I washed and dried them on high heat, and wore them again.

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At present, I'm sitting in front of a 16" stand fan that I got two years ago on a walk with my gf. It looked like someone took it apart to clean it and couldn't cope with the axle nut being reverse threaded.

Around the same time, I picked up a three drawer dresser that I'm using for towels; the top drawer had some junk in it, including a nice letter opener that I still use.

About ten years ago, I got an almost new 18" bike sans seat. It also needed air in the tires. I fixed it up and my daughter used it some. I believe her mother sold it at a yard sale a few years later for $10.

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When I worked on a college campus, I picked up 2 or 3 dorm fridges, a few nice floor lamps, and 6 or 7 working computers after senior move-out.

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When I was 10-12 I found some magazines that were not intended for children. 2 kinds, one Penth0us3 The other P1ayb0y. I kept them for a few years and sealed them in 2 trash bags and taped the cover to the outside, and dropped them off for someone else to find.

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A friend of mine's step father got a working laminating and shrink wrapping machine out of the county dump.

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@omnichad: College move out is the best time since people are too lazy to take stuff home. I knew a guy that, over the course of a few years, was able to build a small garage addition from all the cinder blocks that he had collected.

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@belyndag: Maybe the books didn't work and she committed suicide. Hope not though.

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While it is not quite from the garbage, it was labeled to be thrown out. It was a chair that I had found in a building that they had slated for demolition but they had not quite finished cleaning it out yet. There was another chair as well but it was pretty beat up. I still have the chair too, I just have too much stuff piled on it that I don't use it for sitting.

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@tippypaws: Those that don't want their parents to know they are drinking beer, possibly underage.

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Outside kids toys - I picked a Little Tikes table and two chairs from the forclosure a few doors down. All the "trash" was at the end of the driveway.

Too bad my kids fall over in the chairs, not sturdy at all. The table is ok.

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I do wonder if some of what people consider "picks" is actually theft.

It happened to me twice - something i would leave out front ( i no longer ever do) while i run in really quick to use the restroom would be gone when i got back. i'm sure someone saw it, assumed it to be abandoned to the garbage (even though it wasn't a garbage day, and work was obviously in progress

a perfectly running lawnmower sounds kinda like theft, lol.

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The end of the school year is a great time to score mini-fridges and other dorm amenities from local colleges.

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@goatcrapp: I guess I've always been careful not to leave stuff out by the street unattended. This lawnmower was left out at the street, handle broken down, and left overnight. I just folded the handle back and screwed it tight. The throttle cable was pinched in the handle, so maybe that was causing issues? I just pulled it out and it was fine. Being that the dude waved at me, I'm pretty sure it wasn't theft and he would have said something if he didn't mean to leave it there.

Last week, I was looking at a dog house a neighbor down the road had put out with a sign asking for $75. I thought about low balling them with $30. But ultimately, I decided my dogs didn't really need a dog house because they're rarely left outside alone. Well, I drove by it a few days later, and the sign said free. Now they have a nice dog house (it's got vinyl siding, an asphalt shingle roof and it's insulated all around).

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You'd be surprised how many people throw out good tools too. My mom is friends with a guy who drives around on garbage days looking for stuff. After people are done doing their gardening, apparently it is common practice to throw out the tools so that you don't have to look at them or worry about storing them. I don't get it.

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A vintage camera from the 50s and computer from the 80s. Pretty cool to own a piece of history. Real shame I used the film though, lolz. Haven't tried putting the computer together yet though...

Other notable things were vacuums that just needed a belt change.

Semi-notable was a pretty expensive desktop computer, sadly it was highly infested with dead cockroaches (I air-ed out more than a handful) and it doesn't start still.. I'm guessing the power needs cleaning out or replacing.

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My last three vacuum cleaners were found curbside. One needed a bag, the other two had a hairball and a paperwad stuck in the hose. A good cleaning, and all three are still in service.

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Not a personal pick, but a friend from college once picked up a working slot machine. Lots of mini-fridges, couches, and other college apt/dorm room furniture as well.

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Diamonds and rings, in torn purse linings. 3 different occasions, nothing over 1/4 carat.

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While I don't dumpster dive, I did happen past a pile left on the curb while walking home with a perfectly functional Logitech 2.1 speaker set (functioning as a stereo keyboard/drum machine amp now with more bass on tap than I'll need) and a functional Adaptec UW-SCSI card I yanked from an otherwise uninteresting tower case. I think my best freecycle acquisition was a vacuum tube tester, complete with manual. Now I can see if those NOS tubes really are NOS.