Ode To Bulky Trash Pick-Up

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Is it time for the holidays already? No. It’s Bulky Item Trash Pick-up week!

I can hardly contain my excitement whenever I receive the postcard from the rubbish company announcing that we can put our oversized trash items at the curb and they will magically be picked up. No questions asked. No extra fee. What a fabulous thing!

It’s so satisfying getting rid of old stuff. I find it truly liberating whenever I purge these unwanted items from my home. I like to put on my gardening gloves and drag to the curb those miscellaneous pieces of lumber, errant cement blocks, and rusted pieces of patio furniture that have been stacked up next to the trash cans. And something about them being labeled as “Bulky Trash” makes them even more repellent.

Go away bulky trash! I banish you from our home!

I look forward to this week for another reason too. I am, apparently, a bit of a scavenger. Okay, some might call me a dumpster diver. Whatever. Guilty as charged.

I love driving from street to street, scouring the neighborhood to see if there is something wonderful out there, some gem of a castoff that I might be able to use in my home. The kids will yell at me to keep the car moving. They’re going to be late to school or some such nonsense. But surely some of these items just need a fresh coat of paint, a few new screws, a bit of T.L.C. and then they’ll be the subject of bragging rights to my friends, “Yes. That is Naugahyde on that recliner. Those people on Lemon Street were just going to throw it away! Can you believe it?”

I once felt great joy when I found a sandbox in the shape of a turtle or dinosaur, never quite sure. I quickly loaded it into the minivan before the homeowner could see me. A bit of scouring (with bleach, of course) and the sandbox was ready for use. My children got a few good months of fun out of that sandbox until one blustery day when the lid blew off and then all the neighborhood cats decided it would make an excellent giant litter box. So the next time there was a Bulky Item Trash Week that sandbox was, you guessed it, out on my own curb, ready for pickup.

Sometimes I rationalize that my scavenging of the neighbor’s trash comes from my background in Anthropology. I had at least a half a dozen classes in college and I’m sure that qualifies me as an expert. It’s fascinating to see what type of items my presumably more well off neighbors are discarding. Apparently, there’s a good deal of turnover in mattresses, BBQ’s, and baby items. I see a lot of toilets as well – a surprising amount of toilets, really.

I’ll admit I get a bit judgmental when I see some quality items being thrown out. Are the homeowners too lazy to take them to Goodwill? Couldn’t they just call the Veterans groups and ask for a pickup? Then I think, well, perhaps that baby swing was “recalled” and could very well send little Abigail soaring into the atmosphere. Maybe that perfectly good-looking couch is really infested with fleas? How do I know? Who am I to judge my neighbor?

Why, I often wonder, does the trash collection company offer this generous service? Did the city mandate it as a way of encouraging us residents to keep our couches off the front porch? I don’t know. But, as I often tell my children when they ask about Santa, don’t question the holiday magic – just enjoy it!

It is indeed the happ- happ–happiest season of all!

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