Waste Nothing

free item left at the curb
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Leaving items at the curb to be picked up by passers-by is a time-honoured way to reuse items in urban areas. There are a few things you can do to ensure success. Leave an obvious note which simply says “free” so that there is no confusion.

If there is any chance of rain or snow, put small items that could get ruined such as books into clear plastic bags or containers. If you have a non-clear box, then include the items in the note (e.g. “free books”). Small items which might blow away in the wind should also be put into a box or bin. For large items which could get ruined in the weather (such as a couch), you may want to leave them in your house and leave out a note which says “free couch, please knock on front door.” Avoid leaving any open containers as people may treat it as a garbage can.

It is also a good idea to post on local online classifieds (titled “curb alert”) what items you have left out and at what address. Including a photo with this will greatly increase the likelihood of anyone coming by. Make sure to remove the post when your items have been taken.

This applies to Durables.

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About this Tip

Added June 13, 2012.

Last updated December 15, 2013.

Applies to Canada.