Beg or Borrow but Don't Steal, Gardening on a Budget, Going Green

Not so slim pickings

Has anyone seen American Pickers? I don’t watch much reality TV, but voyeuristic bargain-hunting and junk-scavenging never fails to perk me up on a Wednesday night.

Inspired by the show’s Mike and Frank, I’ve been doing some pickin’ of my own in Boroondara. Yep, it’s hard rubbish week once more in the affluent inner east, and whenever I drive through its streets, a fifteen-minute trip turns into a forty-five-minute detour.

These are the treasures* that curiosity and persistence have unearthed so far:

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For this particular hard rubbish week, I’ve avoided doing a Trevor Flood by asking the owners before taking their goods. Excepting one woman, everyone has been graciously accommodating. I even had a conversation with one owner about how we both haul home hard rubbish finds only to return them to the curb a couple of months later.

I also got out of my car and walked, finding a lot of smaller items that would have been rejected by professional scavengers and recycling contractors: biscuit tins, worm farms, brown-and-orange plastic bins…stuff that was destined for the tip. I definitely recommend walking over driving, unless you’re looking for a big specific something.

If you’re thinking of sifting through some hard rubbish, dress respectably so that you don’t intimidate owners. Bring along a pair of garden gloves to avoid getting tetanus/spider bites. Channel the Mike and Frank by being polite and friendly. Most importantly, respect the owner’s wishes and privacy. For more on hard-rubbish-scavenging, check out my ‘Hard Rubbish: To Scavenge or Not To Scavenge?’ post.

20 years and 7 months to go,


*A lot of these were left where found. But I did take home the Worm Factory, the wire trellises, and some other knick-knacks. One item, an ornate mirror, got dropped off at the Salvos; I don’t think I’ve seen a more grateful volunteer.

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