They say one man's trash is another man's treasure - and sometimes that saying is pretty literal.
Lots of people build entire businesses picking up cool stuff on bulk-pickup trash day, and upcycling it into something even better that people are willing to pay for.
Sometimes, you might even end up with something pristine and usable right away.
Reddit user JampackedAlborn1976 asked:
And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.
Like Refrigerator Bigjust ask leslie jones GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy
"Our current refrigerator is a double-door one with exterior ice and water dispensers. We got it for free, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's just a few years old."
"How we got it? My dad (civil engineer) was doing some work on someone's apartment when they said they had bought a new modern French door refrigerator and that they were just going to discard their current refrigerator."
"My dad simply asked if he could have it.. and they said yes." - SauloJr
Immigrants In ActionDog Brazil GIF Giphy
"I immigrated to the US from Brazil when I was 12. And every Saturday, my mom, stepdad, sister and I would go out at night to upper middle class neighborhoods the day before trash pickup to rummage through the garbage they were putting out."
"We found perfectly good TVs, VCRs, microwaves, couches, lazy boys, tables, books and comics, etc."
"I couldn't believe these Americans were throwing out like that. We furnished our entire house with that stuff. The entire Brazilian immigrant community in my town did it. We were flabbergasted." - PhillipLlerenas
With A NoteTelevision Bunny GIF Giphy
"My wife yelled at me that someone put a big TV outside with a note on it. Walked across the street and it was a brand new Samsung 37 inch HDTV."
"They were actually renovating the apartment building and got an upgraded TV. Even had the remote taped to it with batteries, I guess I have really nice neighbors here in NYC." - MadLintElf
Life Hack!studying busy philipps GIF by Drunk History Giphy
"If you want high end stuff out of the garbage for free, follow these steps:"
"Pick a city with a large university in it. If it's a school well known for its law programs, or medical, or engineering, all the better."
"Search for luxury apartment complexes that market themselves towards students. Look for things like included shuttle service, pools, fitness centers, etc. The more expensive and swanky the better."
"Figure out when finals week is at the end of Spring semester."
"Dumpster dive at those luxury apartment complexes during that week and the following weekend."
"Very wealthy international students will arrive in the US, fully outfit an apartment with nice furniture, big TVs, audio systems, gaming consoles, you name it, and when the semester ends they just junk it all because they aren't going to fly it back to wherever, and it's too much effort to spend the time selling when they do not care about the money."
"It's a smaller scale phenomenon a little like all the luxury cars abandoned at the airport in Dubai." - whattothewhonow
Literal Gold Treasurevalley of the boom david kim stanley GIF by National Geographic Channel Giphy
"I found a gold coin at goodwill for 5 bucks. It was in a case with someone's name and company name."
"It was their gift from the company for retiring. I assume the family threw it out when he died not knowing it was solid gold. It was in a in a thick solid plastic case that had to be cracked opened."
"It literally said 1 oz fine gold on it. I figured 5 bucks was worth the risk it not being real."
"It was a South African KRUGERRAND 1 oz coin. Everyone was just too busy to read it lol."
"Bought it and took it too a pawn shop and sold it for a couple grand." - streetmitch
The Best Day Of My LifeWill Smith Wow GIF by 1LIVE Giphy
"When I was a kid, I grew up right outside the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. My stepdad was a garbage truck driver for the city of Beverly Hills."
"I swear in the late 80s and early 90s we'd have so much basically brand new stuff (still in boxes) brought home on a regular basis."
"I'll never forget one day in particular. My stepdad came home and was like 'get ready, come to the car, I'll need your help.' So I go down there and in back seat of his car he had a few large black garbage bags."
"We haul them up to our apartment and he's like 'go ahead, open them.' Inside was what I could only describe as an 80s kids trove of treasures."
"One bag contained just about every Ghostbusters and GI joe toy you can imagine, they were played with but had every little accessory, there was a bunch the playsets and everything."
"In the other bag was pretty much every LEGO of the early 80s sets, still in their original boxes. I was a big LEGO nerd but was totally thrown off by the old school space ones because they looked nothing like the 90s space sets. I think they even said "NASA" the minifig's chests."
"That was like a random day in July, it felt like Christmas. I was 9 years old and it was basically like the best day of my life up to that point." - Zombgief
Who Throws Away Money?spongebob squarepants money GIF Giphy
"A jar full of quarters."
"Annual spring cleaning projects happen in a lot of towns where anyone can put almost anything on the curb and it's taken away for free. It's to stop open dumping or stuff being dumped in ditches."
"Sometimes people deal with estates from winter by just dumping all their grandfather's stuff on the curb for the cleanup to get the house empty immediately. Most often they don't even bother to look at what they are throwing away."
"In 2012 on north road in Akwesasne I found an estate pile that I shuttled back and forth with my bike trailer getting lots of older tools like a scythe, hammers, saws, screwdrivers and wrenches, a 22 rifle with 100 round of ammo, a bunch of ar15 magazines, cast iron cookware, oil lamps, a hand crank food mill with all kinds of accessories, a black raven axe head (worth $100 easily since they are a collectable), and a quart size mason jar full of change mostly quarters."
"That was spring and the sheriffs office did a gun buyback in the fall where I took the mags and got $20 each for them (30 round mags suddenly illegal under the safe act of fall 2012. The buyback was a local political move). I still got the 22 and picked off a lot of woodchuck with it in my gardens." - Bogtrotterso1980
Filing FeverFiles Workload GIF Giphy
"I own a small company which is located directly in front of a state funded program facility. The state decided to have this office shred all of their files as they were going to switch to electronic data (exclusively)."
"We found two of these old rotary filing cabinets outside of their office. They're worth almost $3k each!"
"They just placed them there and we saw them and asked what they planned on doing with them. They said, 'Hmmm.....either donate them or trash them.' The state told them simply to get rid of them."
"We jumped at this and took the two into our already tiny office because there was no way in hell that we were going to let these gems go. (We do use paper files, unfortunately)."
"They wanted to give us two smaller ones but seriously, our office is very small. I made some phone calls and they were picked up immediately by other office workers/friends." - GlitzBlitz
Foreigners Explain Which Parts Of American Culture Seem Strange | George Takei’s Oh MyyyAmerica, land of the free... and oversized portions and cars. That's how the saying goes, right? There are some baffling quirks about the United States. That...
This Sucks - In A Good Way!mrs doubtfire vacuum GIF Giphy
"In the 1990s my moms work had a really nice high end Hoover that stopped working. They threw it out."
"My mom took it home because my dad tinkers and repairs things easily. Turns out since it was a bagged vacuum all the dummies had to do is REPLACE THE BAG."
"Like it never occurred to them to do the most easy and basic step. My parents were excited to have a really upgraded vacuum. Maybe like $500ish." - schweddyboobs
Tiffany's TrashAudrey Hepburn Movie GIF by The Good Films Giphy
"My dad found an old stained glass window laying out by someone's trash. He thought it would look cool hanging in our cabin, so he stopped and grabbed it."
"It sat in our garage for a few years before he looked at it more closely and found "Tiffany and Co." branding on it. He got in touch with some stained glass window dude who figured it was worth about $40k fully restored, so my dad sold it to him for somewhere around $30k." - throwaway_stopdrink
Sitting In It Right NowLike A Boss Rap GIF by Morphin Giphy
"About 9 years ago, at a previous job, they were renovating some office space, and were going to throw away a room full of broken down cubical panels, old chairs, etc."
"In the middle of all of it, like a diamond in the rough, was an $800 (at the time) Herman Miller Aeron chair. It was in perfect condition, clean, nothing wrong with it whatsoever, it was just getting replaced."
"I verified with multiple people on the project that it was bound for the dump, so that no one would think I was stealing. I'm sitting in it as I type this right now." - kickfacemouth
The Drug Kingpinal pacino drugs GIF Giphy
"I purchased a farm and it had about 20 broken down cars on it - some junk, some nice classics as well."
"I started dismantling them to restore them and in car hidden inside the door panels was weed and 50k in cash. The drugs had water damage and were obviously very old."
"I contacted police and they arrived real fast! After a nervous conversation they had a team there looking for finger prints or other evidence, I don't know."
"They came back and told me the story of the original owner, who was an old drug kingpin with ties to a lot of groups. They kept the money for a while then I got it handed back to me in new notes since those were flagged numbers on the money."
"It helped with the restoration projects and made some good money from selling them. I also got to keep the car which I restored and will keep for many years." - Kenworth117
Grandpa's Gold TurtleFeeling Old Season 8 GIF by The Simpsons Giphy
"24 karat solid gold turtle given to my grandpa by the wealthy owner of a chain of Chinese restaurants."
"It was palm sized and probably weighed the better part of a pound. My understanding is it's a traditional way to wish someone prosperity. Grandpa treated the restaurant owner as if she were his daughter and her son as one of his grandchildren."
"This meant the world to her as both of her parents passed when she was younger and the boy's father wasn't in the picture for whatever reason."
"Grandpa was a hoarder. Once a year a family member would take him on vacation for a week while the rest of the family rented a dumpster and cleaned out grandpa's house."
"Whoever found the turtle thought it was a cheap trinket or a child's art project and threw it away."
"It was like 3 months later, Grandpa calls my dad in a dead panic because he couldn't find the gold turtle. Once we figured out what happened grandpa didn't speak to any of his children for over a month."
"Grandpa has been gone for over a decade and we still don't know which sibling threw it out. I suspect the siblings will take that secret to their graves." - throwawayspank1017
Traveling On Wendy's Tab
"About 20 years ago Wendys had a promo with Airtrain Airlines... If you collect so many of these cut out squares from cups u can redeem for a free round trip flight. There was no limit."
"I spent several times jumping in the dumpster and must have gotten 15 free round trip flights for me.. my kids and family and friends...Granted a crappy airlines... but it allowed my Fla kids to see Colorado snow and ski for the first time." - godfather6545
Only The Super RichMoney Fancy GIF by Adult Swim Giphy
"I live in a mountain town in western US. I build and remodel houses for a living."
"Basically, only the super rich can buy and build houses around here. Just last week I started on a project where the new owner is tearing down the existing house and we're going to build a new in its place."
"They want to get rid of everything. All appliances, furniture, fixtures, etc."
"Got myself a new dryer (looked like it was maybe used a couple times). 5 star gas stove and hood vent, stand up deep freezer, new washer, a stackable washer/dryer, claw feet cast iron tubs (2 in perfect condition), dishwashers, microwaves, just to make a few. Freakin crazy." - smushedsloshie
Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!
Another's man's trash is not always another man's treasure.
Instead of just throwing things away, donating the stuff that you don't want anymore sounds like a generous and sustainable option. You might figure, if you had use for it then someone else must, too.
But some people's donations do more harm than good. If you're trying to get rid of something because it's now in poor quality, then it won't be good enough for someone new to use either.
Redditer u/Indianfattie asked Goodwill employees the things that they wished people wouldn't donate to the store, and thrift store workers informed everyone what items are useless and what will probably go straight into the garbage.
20. Books that lost their hype factor
"Not Goodwill, but in, Wales, a charity bookstore asked people to stop donating the Da Vinci Code because they were getting so many copies."
19. Check the weather before you leave stuff
"USED FURNITURE DROPPED OFF IN THE RAIN"
18. Just throw it out yourself
"Hey, Salvation Army here. Socks that aren't new in a package go straight into the garbage. Also, don't put knives or stemware into bags of clothing. Stemware usually breaks and turns into knives. Happy meal toys are trash. Parents of young children, please throw all those cheapie toys away rather than stuffing them randomly into a bag of clothing."
17. Exotic dancer clothing is not welcome
"I volunteered as a teen. I had to sort the clothes and learned a LOT about what strippers and dancers wear. We couldn't sell any of it, and my virgin eyes were shocked every time I pulled a g-string out of a bag."
16. They can't even consider selling them
"Something I haven't seen mentioned is bean/plastic pellet filled toys. If it's not stuffing, it's a choking hazard and a safety risk for young children so most op-shops/charity stores/Goodwills are required to dispose of them."
"One time a guy donated 6 kidneys in the time of one month under the same name(dumbass) got arrested 3 weeks later"
14. A good way to judge what you're donating
"Not a worker but I've always heard that you should only donate stuff you would feel OK giving to a friend. Nothing damaged or non functional, no clothes with holes or tears, etc."
13. It should be obvious to not donate infested stuff
"former goodwill employee here and where do i begin?
bug-infested furniture... if you need to get rid of it then take it to a landfill and dispose of it properly! goodwill has no use for your roaches and bed bugs...
dirty clothing, when donating clothes to goodwill make sure they're clean first, goodwill doesn't wash the clothes that are donated to them.
garbage, items that are clearly broken... they're not a dump, just... throw it away
i kid you not someone once donated homework, it was graded and everything... why?"
12. I guess it can be dangerous for people with allergies
"My local Goodwill turned down our working, electric lounger because we have a dog and the hair was stuck to the bottom of the legs. So no furniture with ANY pet fur!"
11. 11. Don't ever dump animals anywhere but an open animal shelterGiphy
It's heartbreaking every time"
10. Watch how you store things!
"I almost had a serious injury when one donor wrapped up blades from a blender in a towel and dumped them in a bag full of clothes. Please don't do that."
"One of the girls at the thrift store I work at had to get stitches because some jerk threw steak knives in the bottom of a trash bag of clothing."
9. I hate to see vintage furniture go to waste
"Cleaning out my senior parents' place we tried to donate a very expensive built in tv stand made of oak. Turns out flat screens don't fit in them and they never get sold."
8. Trash literature is trash
"I remember a while ago I saw a side news story covering how a bunch of charity places were asking people to stop donating book copies of Fifty Shades of Grey. I seem to recall one store had enough copies they made a book fort out of them."
7. This isn't a dumpster
"I haven't worked there in over a decade, but: garbage. People would dump bags and bags of garbage in front of the store overnight, and I mean stuff that no reasonable person would ever consider to be anything but garbage.
Busted up concrete. Rusty metal. Basically stuff they didn't want to pay to have hauled away, and couldn't be bothered to take all the way to the dump."
6. Who lied to me and told me they wash the stuff!?Giphy
"Don't donate unwashed clothes. You know the stank that most Goodwill stores have? They don't wash donations before putting them out. They just go straight on the racks.
Don't donate any clothing that's stained or has holes in it. These items don't sell and will likely be thrown out. Don't donate used socks or underwear. Don't donate worn out shoes, smelly shoes, or solo shoes."
5. Maybe a collector on eBay would want that
"Decades old encyclopedias missing a volume or two..."
4. Check the dates!Giphy
"I volunteer with a local food pantry. Please don't donate literal garbage. Nobody wants your decade-expired dry cake mix."
3. Check your pockets
"We call them charity shops in the UK, I'm guessing it's the same deal. If you're donating anything with pockets PLEASE take a second to remove your used tissues, it grosses us out. We don't want anything that's broken or doesn't work. We don't want Christmas decorations before Novemberish, we don't have a lot of storage space to keep them for 8 months. We don't want your underpants or socks"
2. Pay attention to what you're donating
Folks, go through your stuff before you donate - I once found a memorial album someone had made for a woman who had died, and another time I found an old friendship book full of names and addresses. Really made me wonder what the people who worked in the charity shop were thinking.
1. Seriously, pay attention!
"Someone accidentally donated an urn, complete with cremated ashes."
Guys... seriously... ALL the content warnings on this one. Everything you're about to read is gross and is probably going to trigger at least one of you into dry heaving. Put down your snacks before going in on this one.
The people who handle our trash deserve all the tips, all the applause, all the appreciation. It's a job not very many people want - but it can be lucrative, and it's absolutely a must.
Living in Manhattan, it wasn't uncommon for trash to pile up on the street... I thought I knew bad trash. I was so wrong. Living in Florida changed my whole perspective.
Most Spring Breakers aren't thinking of anything else but relaxing and having a good time, but one Georgia teen decided to use his break to make the world a better place.
Joshua Caraway, 19, was in Miami with friends for spring break when he decided to use his day at the beach to clean up garbage. He was walking the beach collecting trash when he was noticed by Joel Franco of WSVN-TV.
Franco watched Caraway fill at least 3 bags of garbage on the crowded beach on Saturday afternoon.
Joshua told Franco:
"We need to keep the beach clean. Even though I'm on vacation, I still can help out."
He said he was in Miami with friends, but he couldn't convince them to help him with his mission to make the beach a cleaner place:
"I asked my friends if they were going to do it with me, and they were like, 'Clean up the trash? No, I'm not with that,'"
Happening now: Meet Joshua from Atlanta (@boppay), he’s going through the Miami Beach crowds picking up trash.… https://t.co/0A989POWHF— Joel Franco (@Joel Franco)1553378791.0
Miami Beach Police Department's Major Paul Acosta noticed Joshua's efforts on Saturday too, and went to congratulate the teen on his work ethic:
"He said thank you and wanted to take me to the police station to give me a certificate or something, but I had to leave the next morning."
Acosta also took to Twitter to spread word of Joshua's work:
"So I told Joshua, you've been picking up trash for a long time instead of hanging out and listening to music."
"I asked why. He says, he loves animals and wants to take care of their home and ours."
So I told Joshua, you’ve been picking up trash for a long time instead of hanging out and listening to music. I ask… https://t.co/c1bFPsvynP— Paul Acosta 🇺🇸🇵🇷 (@Paul Acosta 🇺🇸🇵🇷)1553381294.0
A short while later, another group arrived to clean up the beach too.
A group just showed up to clean the beach! 👏🏼👏🏼 https://t.co/AFWIAZM8yg— Joel Franco (@Joel Franco)1553382374.0
News of Joshua's efforts has spread far and wide thanks to social media. One of Joshua's role models, @Therealtarxann (animal expert, Mike Holston), shared one of the photos of him on the beach.
Caraway said that he wants to become an animal specialist after high school, and Holston has been a real inspiration for him.
My role model @Therealtarxann posted me on his insta story and this real has me in shock. I have a strong love for… https://t.co/5AXX2l4Y0r— josh 🧞♂️ (@josh 🧞♂️)1553456247.0
Others were congratulating Joshua on Twitter as well.
@boppay Thank you bro this is really appreciated 🙌🏾 words can’t express how happy this made me— MIGHTY Made the Beat It’s MIGHTY Nice 2️⃣❌ (@MIGHTY Made the Beat It’s MIGHTY Nice 2️⃣❌)1553443556.0
Miami residents were especially thankful, with many telling Joshua he was welcome back any time.
@boppay @Therealtarxann Awesome work Josh! And as a Miami resident, thank you.— Jamie (@Jamie)1553547095.0
@boppay Bro you always welcome to Miami— Debo™️ (@Debo™️)1553398545.0
@boppay we need more people like you man, thanks you will always be welcomed here in Miami!— Ampz (@Ampz)1553538143.0
Between the efforts of individuals like Joshua and movements like #trashtag, people are really trying to make a change in the amount of garbage littering our public spaces. If we can all do our part, we can make a difference.
Ever thought about the things you throw out? Someone out there is gonna see it one last time before it's buried away forever. These people definitely weren't thinking about that when they left these odd things in the trash.
Reddit user Illtema asked: