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Come on, old folks. It's time to do the thing where we give teenagers advice that they will probably forget until it's too late.


It's not because they're trying to be flippant and forgetful. It's just a brain thing, ya know?

One Reddit user asked:

What are some things that a teenager should avoid?

and undeveloped brains were actually one of the reasons that came up when talking about why some of this should be avoided. Like one person said, we're not all "squares" we've just been there and dealt with the consequences.

That was possibly the squarest thing I've ever typed, and I fully stand by it.


Life Already Started

Addiction, debt and pregnancy are the big ones. But avoid waiting for life to begin. It already has. Go in some positive direction even if you're not sure it's the exact right one.

- picksandchooses

One easy way to start this is to do one thing that's new, or makes you feel uncomfortable each day.

Even if that's walking into a store and saying "hi'' to the cashier before they say it to you. Or go out in a shirt that you wouldn't normally do.

Or post something anonymously on Reddit about how YOU are starting to write a cyberpunk book, even if it's only for you and no one else will ever read it.

One small step each day. Never skip the day, always take that one tiny, almost immeasurable step. Because in a month, you'll be able to look back and see that you've actually made a ton of progress.

- Weary_Enthusiasm

The Dentist

ryan reynolds dentist GIF Giphy

Avoid skipping the dentist. Even if money is tight professional cleanings and preventive maintenance will pay dividends later in life.

- GrowBigBuds

A horror story to prove the point: I caught a bad bad spell of depression some years ago and stopped taking care of myself in many ways, including flossing and going to the dentist.

I ended up having to have surgery to hollow up and fill out a completely rotten tooth, costing insane amounts of money. I was in so much pain. To make matters worse, there was a SURPRISE NERVE in one of the roots of my teeth meaning they nearly drilled while the area wasn't completely anesthetized.

I've brushed my teeth religiously since, but sometimes we still find surprise holes from that time where I couldn't take care of myself for a few months. TAKE CARE OF YOUR TEETH!

- RustyCopal

30F here and I've got two fake teeth on a partial denture from neglecting my teeth and not going to the dentist in my late teens early 20s. Biggest regret in my life 100%

- wwlddarm7

Don't Wait To Figure It Out

Procrastination. Not as big as the other ones but my God, procrastination can get so bad and affect you so horribly if you let it get out of hand.

- Sw3at3rboi

Yes. Teenagers need to hack themselves and figure out their own personal formula for productivity. Pays off bigtime.

- pastdense

Yes. Nip this one in the bud now. It is so much harder to develop a work ethic as an adult.

- dahhhkness

Approval Online

Social media and seeking others approval. That sh*t will destroy them for years.

Cyber bullying can leave a huge emotional impact on teens that give them mental health issues or body image issues. I know people that have taken into their thirties to recover from these kinds of things.

- bigtrav118

This terrifies me about my two kids. I was bullied as a kid in elementary and then high school. I had the ability to go home and forget about all of them and escape by playing video games.

F*ck me, kids these days don't get an escape.

- Blahyaddayadda24


YES. I'm 28. I've had to get off of all social media aside from Reddit because of this.

My life took a drastic turn a couple of years ago. I've struggled since but have managed to find a small apartment for myself and my daughter. My boyfriend moved in right before covid hit and it's cramped.

Watching friends my age or younger close on their homes, go on vacations, lose weight, get married, etc. has done a number on my mental health. I compare myself constantly and it's driven me to completely hate myself.

Shutting out a lot of social media has helped a little because I'm not constantly shoving these things into my psyche, but there's a lot of things I have to undo mentally in order to be comfortable with myself.

I remind my 17 year old sister all the time that it's awful. Coincidentally, she is actually doing a paper on it right now and has "interviewed" me in order to have a real life source.

Thank goodness she isn't that big on it. It really is like mental poison.

- gnarlybetty

No Drugs ... Yet 

Drugs. absolutely Drugs. Teenage brains aren't developed enough to handle that kind of dopamine

- nargakenzo

I'm pro-weed, pro-psychedelics, pro-legalize everything; and yet I still want the recreational age for all of that to be 21.

Brains need to fully developed before you start soaking em in fun juice.

- AmbivalentAhole

As someone who did harder drugs as a teen this one would be at the top for me.

It permanently f*cked me up, body, mind and all. It's been 8 year since I quit and I've actually continued to decline even more since I stopped.

We're not being squares. A lot of us have been there and done that already. I wish I'd listened.


- DreamApocalypse

Hearing Loss Sucks

Deaf GIF by memecandy Giphy

Really loud music, I mean the kind at a concert front row loud. Tinnitus really sucks.

- iamacomputerperson

And not only tinnitus. I damaged my ability to hear certain frequencies when I was a teenager by going to loud punk gigs. It makes it really hard to hear people speaking over background noise. Doesn't sound too major, but it makes socializing in a pub or club or public place that bit more challenging. I guess I lost the frequency range that distinguishes speech from general noise.

When you're a young adult, you do a lot of your socializing in such environments, so don't add an extra challenge to your social life.

- 99thLuftballon

Don't Fall For The Fakes

Fake friends. It's honestly better to have no friends than people who gossip about you and make snide remarks to you. I know everyone says this but you will find your people.

- upsidedownaliyah

I agree with you... but to a teenager, no friends is infinitely worse than bad friends. Sitting alone in the cafeteria or in the hall?

Transferring from one group to another is hard.... but that's the key.

- pastdense

As someone who put up with being the butt of my "friend"-group's jokes for years... I can say that cutting out the toxic people in my life has helped me out tremendously.

Keeping a small group of high quality friends, is so much less stressful.

Work and hobbies will help you find like minded people in my experience.

- WindJDM

You're Probably Pretty Average

Avoid self destructive attitudes is a good one.

Probably 95% of people alive are decently attractive. You can lose that extra 15 pounds, you can shave those unwanted hairs.

If you look in the mirror and think you are below average.. you are probably closer to average.. which is fine! Average people are perfectly good looking enough.

If you look in the mirror and think you are absolutely hideous.. maybe you are slightly below average.. but truly ugly people are rare and more often then not they have 13 out of 10 charisma and it makes up for it.

You're Fine.

- Bolsmackie43

Time Gives You Time To Discover

My mom found her dream job in her thirties and my current stepdad in her fifties.

Don't be too concerned with whether the things you're doing now is gonna be forever. Do what you can to open doors for yourself, but don't feel forced to think you need to know who or what you should spend the rest of your life with at this point.

Time gives you time to discover more things. Discover more things, and eventually you'll find your way - even if you didn't realize it. Stop thinking in today and forever. You got all the time to figure it out. Just get yourself a solid foundation and explore.

Except for drugs. Don't explore things that you could get addicted to for the rest of your life.

- RustyCopal

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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:

What is the most valuable item that you have seen somebody throw away or have found in the garbage?

And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.

Like Refrigerator Big

just 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 Action

Dog 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 Note

Television 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 Treasure

valley 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 Life

Will 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 Fever

Files 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

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 Trash

Audrey 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

Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!