Two activities that involve getting rid of stuff to kickstart June.
The day started out a little rainy (at the time of my 8:30am hair cut appointment), so I feared that the recycling event would get soggy. As I was bringing a box of books, the saturation level of the day was important. I thought I would have more stuff to bring with me, but they aren’t accepting textiles and most of what I want to donate is clothing.
I will be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the event. We decided to wait until 11am, in hopes of having more stuff to pick through. As it turns out, the dropped off items have a pretty quick turn around time. Cars pull into the queue and are greeted by attendants who help unload your car. The particularly “good” items are taken to the “auction area.” The rest of the stuff is taken to the “grab bag” areas. Our bbq and a too-small wet suit were carted off directly to the auction area. Our books and backpacks were placed in the house-hold items pen, where visitors could casually (but quickly) browse through the offerings. Folks are intently watching the cars being unloaded. A set of our picture frames found new owners before even touching the pavement.
The “Auction Area” was somewhat of a misnomer. No money is exchanged, everything is free just like advertised. The auctioneers just give out one item at a time using a lottery. They ask how many people want a particular item (say 30), then select a number between 1-30. You could see some people occasionally hoarding the boxes of books or picture frames or DVDs in the open areas, so I think the lottery system was in place to ensure that these highly sought after items (furniture, BBQs, artwork) were distributed fairly over the course of the day.
I think it is a well-organized event. I would have been interested to stay longer, but parking was tight and we decided we didn’t NEED anything there. We are planning on sharing items with the Renton Community again next year. Greg realized that it is a good way to dispose of extra building materials; there is a very good chance that someone will put the supplies to use.
In my opinion the building materials area is the secret gem of this event. Spare doors, cabinet doors, shelving, wood, scrap carpet were all available. Of course it is wonderful that household items, furniture, books, and toys are available for free. Particularly in a lower-income community during an economic recession. But at the end of the day, similar items can be found at Value Village and Goodwill. I just don’t know of many other places where you can pick up free building materials.
And if you need ideas for ways to use old scrap building materials, look no farther than this functional display at the California Academy of Sciences (full blog post about my visit coming soon):