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Treasure hunters experience a different kind of picking

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Mother Nature seems a bit confused this spring, engaged in a duel with Old Man Winter. With low temperatures in the forecast and winds howling at 30 miles per hour, the opportunities (and places) to go garage sale shopping are more limited than many of us are accustomed to at the end of March.

Treasure hunting, in a different form and format, presents itself this weekend and several other weekends in the immediate future as well. (See the dates below.) This hunt is a definite twist on garage sale shopping. It may or may not scratch that garage sale itch or quell ever present complaints about the weather.

It is a sanctioned event, seemingly so anyhow. It occurs annually, to some extent, depending on where you live. It is known as bulk trash pickup, large item pickup, Tidy Town and Recirculation Day.

Regardless of the name, the phenomenon is the same. It is the means by which a suburban community in the metro affords its residents a chance to spring clean. Residents can rid themselves of large, unwanted “junk” with the permission and approval of their municipality. Items collected include appliances, car parts, fencing, remodeling materials, furniture and the like.

Residents place the items at the curb of their home on Friday evening or Saturday morning before 7 a.m. The bulk will be hauled away by the town or city for free. There are no costs to the homeowners for the haul and no trips to the dump.

Quite a few, seemingly unembarrassed people, have their own “take” or perspective on the free haul as well. They go from curb to curb, seeking treasures before the dump trucks get there.

These hunters consider large item pickup the ultimate in treasure hunting with the most economical of all price tags, FREE. Others point to its recycling aspects, commenting that what is not taken by the garbage trucks will not end up in landfills. Point well taken.

On the other hand, some garage sale shoppers are not diggers or pickers. They do not like to paw through any boxes or bags at a yard sale, let alone at a curb. The thought of this form of shopping, often referred to as "dumpster diving," ranges from awkward to gross. They prefer the driveway or garage to a curb. They would rather pay $1.00 (more or less) for an item and interact with a willing seller than get that item out of an actual refuse container, even if there is no cost involved. They prefer a leisurely outing to a night time adventure.

It is the “shopper’s” call and decision obviously. Consider approaching it with an open mind. Remember that the event was not intended to be a way for others to pick up something free, but is a way to clean up a city. It is our understanding however that “scavengers” were specifically considered when the “trash ordinance” was enacted with an implicit encouragement for them, provided that closed containers are not disturbed or opened and no laws are broken.

If you are not brave enough to grab your share of freebies in this way and for this event, consider just watching it, as sport. It is amazing, truly amazing to stand (or sit in your car as the case may be) on the proverbial sidelines, observing the people, the u-hauls and flatbeds with oodles of free stuff.

Some specific days and locations for your hauling or watching in 2014 are as follows:

  • In the City of Overland Park, this year large item pickup is for households west of Antioch. It is on March 29, for residents from from 127th Street south to the City limits.
  • The City of Leawood will hold its “Recirculation Day” on June 7 for Leawood residents from Somerset to 95th Street. Residents from 95th Street to I-435 will have their turn on September 20.
  • “Tidy Town” in Shawnee will occur on April 26 for residents east of Pflumm and on May 3 for residents west of Pflumm.

Check with your Municipality for specifics relating to your address or location.

Let your Garage Sale Examiner know what you find! You can send a tweet to@agaragesale.

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