Sunday, August 8, 2010

Operation Leave it On the Curb

Our relatives are just TOO TOO generous with our kids (seriously---we're suffocating here guys!!!). I'm constantly getting rid of outgrown clothes, toys, books, sports equipment and assorted plastic crap. Clothes are easy to find homes for, but toys are tricky. The local Human Needs Food Pantry doesn't accept used toys, and no one else seems to, really. So I came up with Operation Leave it On the Curb. Our Fisher Price farm, ride-on fire engine and Smarty the Construction Robot have all left us in this manner.

I like to see who takes our castoffs. If no one picks up an item within 20 minutes, I feel very insulted. I track the curb periodically. Someone always takes it eventually. I recently had the pleasure of watching an overjoyed 2-year-old boy with my son's old fire engine (itself a hand-me-down from our neighbor). I think OLIOTC is the most environmentally sound way to clean.

Recently, a beloved neighbor of mine, a single mom with twin teenage boys, moved to another state. I didn't know her super well, but I saw her daily, she fed my cats when we were away, and she was the nicest woman you will ever meet. She basically got rid of EVERYTHING. First, she had a yard sale. She priced low and did a brisk business. But she couldn't get all the merchandise out to the lawn before the hordes started to come.

Over the course of the next week, my neighbor began giving me choice gifts: a set of silver-plated flatware from the thirties, a sideboard, Fire King dishes, an X Box for my son. On the curb, she put out a freegan's all-you-can-eat buffet: books of all kinds, lamps, cleaning supplies, kitchen ware, baseball gloves, bric a brac, jewelry, Stangl Pottery---everything she had accumulated over the years.

At first I tried to keep up. I put out the Lincoln Logs that no one has looked at in three years. Some Play Doh accessories that have been dissed since 2007. I began evaluating everything in my house for possible curbside abandonment. I threatened to put the kids on the curb if they didn't behave.

Then she started freaking me out. Perfectly good tennis rackets? Really? A lacrosse stick? Wouldn't the boys need anything in their new home?

I wanted to box everything up, learn to drive on the highway, rent a van, and deliver it to her. She was definitely getting her possessions down to 100, as the trend du jour dictates. And I couldn't handle it.

Right before she left, she asked me if I'd dispose of anything that wasn't taken in a few days. I had a charity pick up coming anyway, so it was easy. Among the booty was a child's bank, with $23 dollars in change inside! Literally throwing money away. My kids split that.


  1. First, welcome back. Have missed reading about what's on your mind. We leave stuff on the curb all the time. In our town, there's rubbish pickup every Wednesday, so on Tuesday nights you'll find cars driving around at all hours and stopping to look through the curbside treasures. It was nice that your neighbor was so generous to you, but it does sound like she and her boys left with just the clothes on their backs. That's one way to make a fresh start, I guess.

  2. I love to put stuff out and watch it disappear!

  3. Another reason to hate my HOA-ruled neighborhood. We'd get fined for putting stuff out, and since it's gated (but totaly NOT fancy), nobody drives around in here anyway. We're all stuck with our junk.