It’s spring cleaning time and I’m not too embarrassed to admit it – I’ve found a lot of cool stuff in the alley.

Once, my ex and I found an IKEA coffee table in perfect condition, complete with all the screws and hardware in a Ziploc bag.  We dragged it home and replaced our hand-me-down from the 60s.  I’ve also found a cute side table , speaker stands, plant pots, kitchen items and boxes of books.   And this is just the stuff that I’ve found – I’m not including anything that I’ve picked up for free via Craigslist!

I’m always amazed at the condition of the things I find.   Usually, they’re perfect.  After taking them home, I do a quick bug check and wipe them down with a bit of disinfectant – it’s as good as new.

It’s a little disturbing to me as well.  Why would people not drop off small furniture items to the thrift store?  I could understand the difficulty of transporting a couch or a bed, but a side table?  Really?  And why weren’t the books donated to the library or dropped off at a community bookshelf?   The Vancouver Public Library, for example, will accept donations year-round.  Even if they don’t necessarily want to put your books in circulation, they can sell it to help generate revenue.  Several community centers and coffee shops in the area also have leave-or-take shelves where people can exchange books.  It’s a great way to exchange books within your neighbourhood.  Many charities will even come and pick up small items like clothes and books directly from your house.

It seems so callous just to leave things out in the alley where they might get rained on or thrown away unnoticed.

Remember – the 2nd step of sustainability is reuse.  Even if you can’t use it, someone else might.

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