Saturday, March 25, 2006

What is Junking?

By Christina VanGinkel

Junking has been around for as long as people have been piling their garbage on the curb. What is it you might ask? It is the art of finding treasure among another person's trash! I first became intrigued with this long before I knew what it was, or that it had a name, and that other people actually took this quite seriously. There are individuals who junk on occasion, and others who do it all the time. Some do it for the simple thrill of finding a treasure, others do it for the reselling factor, and others might do it to save themselves the cost of buying something they need.

Our local town, and several other small towns around us, actually holds a Junk Day twice a year, once in the spring, and again in the fall. On these specified dates, you can set out your junk curbside, and at the same time, you can go around to other homes and see what others might have put out. The requirements are only that you not put out your garbage, just junk. There is a difference. Garbage is day-to-day refuse that people accumulate from simply existing. Old newspapers, coffee grounds, package wrappings, etc. Junk is that chess set you have held onto for the past year even though you are missing half of the pieces, or that old typewriter that you cannot find cartridges for. It can also be a three-legged table, an old door or window that you replaced, or a box of old paperbacks that you have been meaning to donate somewhere. Someone once commented to me that it was a bit like a garage sale, without any money exchanging hands. It is somewhat similar, but most times, the person placing the things curbside do not have enough to sell to hold a rummage sale, or do not want the bother of having to sit for the length of a sale.

People Junk for all different reasons. College kids are notorious for furnishing apartments this way, young mothers have found much-needed strollers, and some antique hunters hope to find the discovery of a lifetime from someone who truly thinks if an item is old, it is junk! Other people Junk for the monetary gain. They look forward to the routine their community has for placing out this type of trash, and they go out in search of items that can be cleaned up, or repaired with little effort, and then resold at second hand shops, or more common today, through outlets such as Ebay.

You do need to be aware though if the community you are in allows junking. Some places frown upon it, and will even ticket you for it. Others, such as the community we live, will set aside days throughout the year specifically for the activity. I know people by us who actually set aside space in their garage so that when they come across something that they feel others might have a use for, they have a spot to store it until the next official junk day. If you do not know, what the laws are, call up your local city hall and inquire. If they are unaware of what such an activity is, tell them to do a search for it on the Internet, as there are several sites dedicated just to the art of Junking. They are filled with tips and suggestions one everything from the laws that might be involved, to how to transport larger items that you might find, and the laws of ownership. For example, if you spot an old piano that you want, but are in a small car; just because you spotted it first, does not make it yours. Leave someone with it while you go to retrieve a vehicle large enough to haul it, or better yet, go prepared in a truck or with a trailer right from the start. Otherwise, chances are it will be gone by the time you come back. Sticking a note on it will most likely not deter someone else from retrieving it, and if it is a day where people have purposely set out such items, most homeowners will gladly let it go to the first person who is willing to load it up. Be safe too when Junking. Only pick up items that are obviously for the taking. Avoid Junking in neighborhoods that you would not normally be in, in the first place, and most of all, have fun!

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