The things you notice when you move to a new locale. Here in Western Massachusetts, it’s the preponderance of stuff left in front yards with the sign: FREE. The owners don’t want it and they’re hoping somebody will.
I pass a number of these free-for-alls on my walk to the post office or general store in Charlemont. Certainly, being on a main route helps because typically the junk is gone in a day or two although that’s not the case for our next-door neighbors. They pulled down two really funky garages — or maybe they were sheds or long shacks — and the pile of free metal and whatever has sat there for over a week with only a few takers. I wonder when they will give up and haul it to the dump.
Other people have had better offerings. One house in the village has been setting out decent lamps, small furniture, even bedding on a steady basis. I’ve seen garden hoses, kids furniture, and wooden shelving at others.
One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, perhaps. Well, maybe not a treasure, but a still useful object.
Actually, there is a swap shop at Charlemont’s transfer station, where people can leave what they no longer want — no clothing however — although you have to show it to the attendant first. We dropped off some camping chairs that had served us long enough. They were gone the next time we showed up to bring our recyclables and trash. And no, I haven’t seen anything worth bringing home although I was amused to see animal skins.
I am not in the market for other people’s junk. We just moved 2,404 miles from Taos and had pared down our belongings to what we need or love, and hopefully both.
I did make one exception, however. I spotted a houseplant at the house I mentioned earlier. It was a little wilted, but I brought it home, repotted it with new soil, and now it’s doing great. I guess that’s how it works.
ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: Our neighbors’ pile of free junk.
ONE MORE THING: I have been remiss in not posting info about my books for sale on Amazon, including my most recent, The Sweet Spot, set in Western Mass. They’re not free, but they are for the taking. Check them out: https://www.amazon.com/Joan-Livingston/e/B01E1HKIDG