a free chair left on the sidewalkI heard about Give Your Stuff Away Day (today, May 15th) while on the phone with a colleague many weeks ago. She was checking her e-mail when she commented about an interesting link that had been forwarded by another professional organizer.

For those of us in the business, seeing people let go of things in order to pass them on to others is a regular occurrence, though for many, such an act can be an emotional and moral struggle. I have found that it is easiest for folks to say good-bye to anything when they realize their once treasure will become someone else’s new treasure.

So the thought of a sanctioned Give Your Stuff Away Day fascinates me. In an ideal world, what any of us puts on the sidewalk today will be taken away by someone who sees the magic, joy, or function in that item.

For many, this may be a new concept, but in a place like San Francisco, it seems like a part of everyday life. With or without a sign on it, one knows when something curbside or carefully placed along a property line is there for the taking. Time and again, I’ve been amazed by the range of things that people are setting out into the world with the expectation that they will shortly (be that in minutes or hours) be picked up and carried off to a new home.

Aside from the chair pictured above with the helpful sign that says “Free but heavy!” below are a few street finds that caught my eye during strolls in my neighborhood. Okay, so not just my neighborhood, but on my street!

ski boots left on the sidewalk for free

Ski boots, anyone?

 

free retro clock left on the sidewalk

It was quite a piece from another time. (Pun intentional.)

 

free magazine files found on the sidewalk in San Francisco

Evidence that not all street finds are awkward and cumbersome to bring home. These magazine files were in perfect condition, and I was able to appropriate them for two different clients. (Admittedly, I did drop one - twice - on the way home. So much for not being too cumbersome.)

 

free organ left on the street

This organ (photographed out of its original "found" context) was amidst a heap of trash from a neighbor's gutted basement. I saw it on my way home from work one evening, and casually mentioned it to my partner, lightly musing that his bandmates might be interested in it if it worked. With help from a visiting friend, it was hauled into our garage for safekeeping. It turns out the organ worked beautifully. Fully cleaned and restored, it is a beautiful addition to their home.