Monday, May 12, 2008


This was the view outside our house Saturday evening after the last student had departed for the summer. If you think this is a lot, multiply it by 3 for the number of times the garbage truck had already made pickups that day. And that's just one dorm on one college campus.

I hate to see so much going to waste! Thankfully, by this morning's garbage truck run, almost all of the big items that were laying on the ground have been taken.

Rummaging across campus this weekend earned us the following discards:

*two dozen plastic hangers
*a narrow cabinet (needs some work but we hope to turn it into a phone stand for our kitchen)
*two boxes of colored markers
*2 new, sealed bottles of natural shampoo
*a woven basket that will make a great trash receptacle for our new 2nd bathroom
*a metal stepladder
*2 paperbacks
*an unopened package of IKEA napkins
*several pieces of plywood that Eric will use to build shelves for our garage
*a pair of scissors
*a cordless phone!
*3 VHS tapes still in the package

Can you believe it?! I know there are many things wrong with this picture. I felt kinda guilty taking stuff, but otherwise it would go to the dump!


Anonymous said...

Don't for a moment feel guilty re-using and re-purposing these items. You are saving them from the landfill, saving your family's money in buying these items, and sparing the need to buy these new from the store, hence more waste.
We used to leave right beside our town's college campus. On my walks there, I found many usable things poking out of the dumpsters, including sealed rolls of wrapping paper. Let's hope one of the life lessons these students learn soon is to be less wasteful of resources.
At my parents' campground, they have found enough bikes sitting by the dumpsters that needed small repairs to have one for each of the grandchildren!

Mary Ann said...

We often have piles of stuff left on the curb when neighbors "suddenly" move. I always feel bad taking things but often there is perfectly good stuff that we can use. In the last couple of weeks, I've found a Pyrex casserole dish, a big Rubbermaid bucket, a storage basket, and a bathroom cabinet(in perfect condition) that screws to the wall.

I hate waste, too, Carrie! So much of the discarded stuff could be donated to the Salvation Army or something instead of being left for the landfill.

You found some great finds. What a wonderful reminder of God's provision as you move into your new home!

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

Great finds! Please do not feel guilty, you saved these items from landing in a landfill.

Amy said...

I am amazed at what gets thrown out and I have scored the BEST deals since we live near Notre Dame campus. It seems that they have little appreciation for items and will cut you great deals on organizers, bookshelves, televisions, and mini-fridges.

Great job, Carrie! Way to keep that stuff out of the landfill.

Ewokgirl said...

Wow! Maybe I should head up to Denton to see what the college kids have left behind.

While on one hand, I get why they just dump the stuff; it's too much/too big to carry home. But, it's such waste! At least call a charity to pick stuff up! I guess kids just don't think about that.

Steve & Molly said...

Woo-hoo! Great rummaging! One man's trash is another man's treasure. I don't think there is anything wrong with using what someone else has discarded. It is a very common way of life here in Peru. People have even started their own recycling businesses by going around digging in people's trash for plastic items! Enjoy your treasures!

Katie said...

Wow ~ who would throw away unopened packages of napkins or bottles of shampoo?? :-) I'm glad you are able to put them to good use!

Sorry I've been MIA ~ trying to get the family well!! We are leaving for vacation soon and will be driving down through IA! :-) Even though we won't be too close to where you're at ~ it will be neat when we cross the border ~ I'll be thinking of ya! :-) Have a great week!

mer said...

There was an article in the Denver Post last May about the stuff that CU students throw away when vacating the dorms. There are tons of people who dumpster dive this time of year...and I can certainly see why. You found some great stuff...for FREE! YAY!

gail said...

don't feel guilty. you are doing the earth a service! reuse, reuse, reuse. when we were in an apt for 6 mo at the end of each month i found lots of treasures.

A, B & C said...

I agree with the other posters... don't feel guilty at all! I usually try to find someone to give stuff to, because I hate all that waste myself. I won't even tell you about what the animal shelter looks like in your town- college kids are, sadly, notorious for leaving dogs at campus.

Jenn said...

Free stuff is always good! I watched alot of people take stuff that was left over from my mil's yardsale last year, it was great they took the stuff so it didn't have to sit in her front yard for three days waiting to be picked up. So see you did people a favor haha !

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Carrie:

I agree with the others that you should not feel guilty. Those items were being thrown away & you have kept them out of the landfills, plus you will get some use out of them.

I blows my mind to see what people actually throw away (especially when I save plastic bags & aluminum foil, etc. for re-use!

Happy rummaging!

Hope you had a very Happy Mother's Day.

Love you, Grandma

Anonymous said...

Wow! I think the ones who should feel guilty are the people who threw away all that good stuff! You will benefit from their wastefulness -- good for you! Love, Mom

Jody said...

Don't feel bad. If they had wanted it they would have kept it.

You're a "freegan". lol