Monday, February 26, 2007

A Few Reasons Why Some Good Stuff Is Chucked Into Dumpsters

Sometimes there is a sad reason why it is that good, usable stuff has been chucked into a dumpster. Whenever I'm dumpster diving and I find big loads of someone’s personal possessions in a dumpster, I do a little detective work to figure out why it may have been thrown out.

When you see trash bags full of clothes along with lots of other personal stuff in a dumpster it often indicates that a person:
has died,
has been put into a nursing home,
they may have gone into alcohol/drug rehab or jail, and their bridges back to their family or friends are being burned for them--due to their addictions, they have done too much wrong to too many people,
or someone has been kicked out of their ex-girlfriend's or boyfriend's or estranged spouse’s home, and they never went back to get all their stuff within the legally allotted time.

That all means that there will usually be plenty of other good personal items further down in the dumpster, too. Then it's time to really concentrate on the task at hand and to DIVE! DIVE! DIVE! I’ve done real well with this knowledge.

For certain individuals, chucking the perfectly good clothing and other personal items of someone, whom they are angry and/or thoroughly disgusted with, into a big ole’ knarly lookin’ dumpster gives the clothing and personal possession chucker the chance to angrily say later, "I threw your stuff in the dumpster you lousy such and such and so and so!!”

On two separate occasions, I found big loads of clothing and personal possessions in dumpsters that included high school year books less than 5 years old, along with framed—recently taken—photos of a 3 to 4 year old child, and heroin or crack type drug paraphernalia. It was evident by the fact that it was obvious that all of some young person’s prized possessions had been chucked out that some young, 20 something year old parents had been kicked out of their parent's home or somewhere else where they had been living while being given one final opportunity to get their lives straightened out by kicking the drug habits, being responsible for taking care of their kids whom were pictured in the framed photos, and maintaining a good paying job. Unfortunately, their addictions had ruined the young 20 something parent's lives, and they had been rendered hopeless in the eyes of their family and friends; they had either become homeless, been locked up in prison, or sent to long-term rehab.

I sometimes find files of personal papers along with family photo albums in amongst the clothing and other items in a dumpster. I always flip through the personal papers in the files to look for hidden cash. I never found any cash yet, but I like to peak at some of the paperwork and it shows me where the person lived, maybe where they had worked, and sometimes I find court papers which show that the person led a troubled life. It is then discernible by info on the paperwork, and/or the style of clothing and other items in the load, what the gender and approximate age of the former owner of the stuff was at the time their stuff was chucked out. This is how I come to reasonable conclusions about the owner’s recent death or placement in a nursing home.

Because of where I live and who lives around me, I often find loads of items in dumpsters that contain many personal memories of what an elderly person once held near and dear to them. There are many older, retired, pensioned Bethlehem Steel Mill employees and former Chevy Auto Plant worker kindsa’ folks living out their lives in inexpensive apartments all throughout my blue collar neighborhood, and one at a time, month by month, one or more of each of them either dies or ends up in a nursing home, a lot of their personal possessions sometimes ends up in dumpsters.

The retirees' heirs have to clean out their elderly parents’ or grandparents’ or aunt’s or uncle’s apartment. The heirs go through the stuff in there and take what they know as obviously valuable items, then, about a half-dozen times a year that I know of, they chuck the rest into the dumpsters out back. The family photo albums that I find while d-divin those loads get to me the most. I also find mementos from vacations taken long ago, high school graduation ceremony stuff, plaques telling of many volunteer hours given to various organizations, diplomas, framed photos from many years ago, old post cards (the front of my fridge is decorated with some), and so on. I see these things in dumpsters and always wanta’ say to the people who chucked the stuff, "Hey, man! I know ya only got so much time to spare to clean the place out and a deadline from the landlord to get it done. But couldn't ya have found some cousin or someone else in the family to give those photos and the other lifetime memorabilia to?"

All of these detective type conclusions about how some big loads of good stuff end up in a dumpster will be apparent to most of you if you ever see the same thing when d-diving.

Then I can't figure out why all the new bars of soap, new light bulbs, containers of floor cleaner, bottles of Lysol, etc. couldn't have been taken home by the heirs who cleaned the apartment out and used by them in their own homes. And some of that sh#t should not be dumped into landfills in such concentrated forms.

One lousy-human-nature-aspect of these tales of good stuff chucked into dumpsters is that in most cases there was a second hand charity store real close by where the stuff could have just as easily been donated to.

These kinds of experiences have happened to me, 5 or 7 times a year, every year, since the early 1990s. It all bums me out to some degree, but fills my home with d-dive scored daily necessities and, yeehaaaa ya gotta love it, goodies that I like owning now but couldn't have afforded to buy.

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