15 March 2010

Pitching in

One of the weirder things I find myself doing is throwing things away for people. I can understand why they don't want to throw them away themselves; I don't like throwing stuff away either if it seems like it still has some use in it. But I end up on the receiving end of a lot of very strange items, and they're just not always things I or anyone could use. I freecycle what I can, but if nobody my entire freecycle group (which includes a decent sized population center) wants it, I take that as a sign. I have to throw it away. I don't know why it's my job, but it is.


Anonymous said...

Oh man, this is such a sore subject with me. And you handle it far more graciously than I do.

Most of our congregation is very generous and gives us things that are practical and useful. Leftovers from church potluck dinner, gently used clothing items, a mop that was only used once- in my opinion these are all great and practical "gifts".

However, if you would never wear it, you would never let your kids wear it, or you don't want it in your house, then DON'T GIVE IT TO YOUR PASTOR'S WIFE !!!

Our recent "gift" was a piano. When they brought this piano into our house, they scraped up the walls in my freshly painted hallways. We PAID to have someone look at it and they told us what this family already knew, basically, it's a piece of junk and would cost more to fix than it's worth. Veteran's of America won't take it, the Goodwill doesn't even want it and we've concluded we are gonna have to PAY MORE MONEY to get rid of the beast. Meanwhile it's taking up space in my dinning room.

The worst "gifts" of all are those that require more WORK. Like the time I was given a huge ice chest filled with shrimp I had to peel and devein by hand. Mind you, I was 9 months pregnant! Like I really wanted to stand over the sink with my huge pregant belly and aching back and in my spare time peel and devein shrimp!!!

Or when your MIL spends over $200 on gifts for her son and she collects all the freebies and free gift with purchase items she recieves throughout the year, wraps them up and presents them to you as YOUR Christmas gift. Man, that's just so wrong man, so wrong.

Untamed Shrew said...

What she said. The stuff people do when I'm great with child and trying to get crapola OUT of the house to make room for the new sinner.... I wish people would engage their brains before their hearts. Sometimes I don't even think they have good intentions; they just don't want the guilt of being wasteful.

Jody S. said...

It's a lot of work, but a yard sale does get rid of a lot of junk. We had a pretty lousy one last year (raining and we live in the middle of nowhere) that was still good enough for us to plan another one for next year. We were able to get rid of such wonderful treasures as a broken vcr, a broken computer, really ugly home decorating items. . . and the list goes on. What didn't sell were a few items I still thought were good and cool and useful. So, if you can't give it away, sell it...and if you can't sell it cheap, raise the price--some people just want junk that's expensive.

Rebekah said...

>>they just don't want the guilt of being wasteful.

I agree that this is a big driving force behind the phenomenon. I've tried to think of my involvement as a kind of sin-eating trash ministry.

Jody, I'm gearing up for a yard sale one of these years, although I still wouldn't be able to proffer the locally acquired schwat. Even the freecycling is risky! :D

Gauntlets said...

>>some people just want junk that's expensive.

LOLOLOLOLOL! Wow. That just made my day.

I get a lot of this sort of thing in my bend of the river, too. Here's what I've learned: the more graciously you receive all the pure crap from their hands, the less pure crap you end up getting. Like this:

"Would you like this bit of [moldy, shaggy green] carpet?"

"Why, sure! I've been wanting something nice to fashion into an art area for my babies. I'm sure that would work!"

But the carpet never showed up at my door. I found out later that my benefactress decided it better belonged in the garbage. :D But I'm pretty sure she didn't need to trash any hard feelings along with it, you know? Better to buy the slaves and set them free than to engage in bloodshed. ;D

Sir Cuthbert said...


Before you pitch the piano, find out what it's worth as materials. If it turns out to be a rare model, you might even find a collector crazy enough to want it. Yes, there really are piano collectors. If not, pianos still contain a lot of wood, metal, etc. If it's made out of halfway decent hardwood, you should be able to find an amature woodworker who would be happy to take it off your hands. Good wood can be hard to find these days. And knife makers, guitar builders, etc. just love to find old ivory and ebony piano keys. Whatever you do, don't just break it up or throw it out until you're sure the materials are worthless. It could be a treasure trove to scrounging hobbyists. You might even be able to earn some money off it.