Who’s afraid of the big bed bug?

By Tara Tracy
Guest blogger

In 2011 if I can’t buy new I’ll buy old. And failing that, I’ll just take stuff.

For years when asked that classic summer job interview question, “So, Tara what do you do in your spare time?” I’d default to honest and respond “garage sale.” It really was true.

At the time, I lived in downtown Toronto and drove a little old pickup truck. It was any yard sale addict’s dream scenario! Every Saturday morning I’d set out with my mug of Cherry Bomb coffee and my wish list in my pocket—give or take the odd string, cut to the width or length of the picture frame or curtains I needed, or little scrap of paper scrawled with a friend’s request: Dirty Dancing (VHS is OK). Rotary phone. Good power tools (NOT Job Mate)… Ahh, the thrill of the hunt.

Alas, now I live in Ottawa. I have a baby. We drive a sedan. Not one of these truths bodes well for keeping up my favorite pastime.

So I’m a converted curb cruising dumpster diver. On my long and meandering walks with baby, I often scour the sidewalks for treasures; and when I see something I like, I drag it out of sight and return with the hubby (and the sedan) after dark.

Just two things to note here. One is about me: I got over ‘second hand phobia’ and the fear of bedbuggies by rationalizing that restaurants and hotels serve us from second hand cutlery and second hand sheets every day, and they actually charge for this. The other is about you: maybe please try to avoid putting your good stuff out on the curb in the rain two hours before garbage pick-up, where I, and other thrifties have ZERO chance of salvaging it. And if you could try to label your stuff—especially if it HAS come down with a dreaded case of “the bugs”—that’d be great.

A friend in New York city actually uses and disperses wicked awesome tags for this very purpose:

The Curbside Object Status Tag purports to “facilitate the smooth operating of the informal sidewalk gift economy…”

I concur. (Though duct tape and a magic marker would do just fine.)

P.S. Anyone planning to put a baby ski pulk curbside? Send me your address.   



About Mymulligans

I'm just a regular person, you know one of those, "a daughter, a wife, a sister, a friend, a new mom"--types. But lately I've been putting more thought into my life decisions and one thing I've decided is that I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF. And I need to appreciate, use, fix up, give away and wear out what I have before I get a single other thing NEW. In 2011 I'm going to blog about this. I'm calling these notes, "My Mulligans."
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