Non-Consumer Photo Essay — Insane Portland Free Piles!

by Katy on June 28, 2015 · 27 comments

Last night my son and I drove through a nearby wealthy neighborhood that had just completed a one-day garage sale event. I wanted to use this as an opportunity to show you how bug-fudging insane Portland’s free piles have become. We drove around for maybe thirty minutes and came across all of this:

Pile one:

Pile two:

Pile three:

Pile four:

Pile five:

Pile six:

Pile seven:

photo 7

Pile eight:

Pile nine:

Pile ten:

Pile eleven:

Pile twelve:

That’s right. A dozen piles/boxes/whatever of free useful garage sale leftovers. All free for the taking.

What did we bring home? well, you’ll have to tune in tomorrow to see our haul.

Portland’s free piles, they’re out of control!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

A. Marie June 28, 2015 at 1:02 pm

WTF? No one wanted the composter in #12? (But actually, that’s how I got one of my two. I admit to having paid $10 at a garage sale for the other one.)


Katy June 28, 2015 at 1:21 pm

I used to have that exact same composter, but stopped composting after a rat infestation.



A. Marie June 28, 2015 at 1:39 pm

No problems with rats here. But then, we have the entire Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom in the neighborhood: coyotes, foxes, and free-range cats. I admit to being **highly** ambivalent about all of these–and I keep my own cat strictly indoors because of them–but at least we don’t have rats.

Also, I’m assuming (from your family’s largely vegetable-based diet) that no meat or bones went into the compost? Nothing brings the rodents out faster than meat scraps.


Katy June 28, 2015 at 1:49 pm

No, we were vigilant about our compost, and used it for at least a decade before having problems.


Ruby June 28, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Your tale of rat infestation is what’s keeping me from doing composting here. We have a stream and drainage canal nearby and already have snakes in the yard. Rats would just be the living end.


Gina June 28, 2015 at 3:18 pm

The snakes in your yard would most likely keep the rats from populating your area by eating them – a snake’s favorite meal – mice and rats.


Ruby June 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm

I just don’t want to attract more snakes with possibly having rats.

Lisa June 28, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Just the thought of a snake in the backyard that is big enough to eat a rat is freaking me out. Shudder!

One of God's June 28, 2015 at 1:20 pm

As free stuff goes, I have enough lipstick for at least the next three years from closing Mother’s apartment. Also got three slow cookers, a large one to replace the one I had broken, a medium one with removable (woohoo) crock to replace an integrated hard to clean one, and a small one which will be used.


Sandy June 28, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Darn! No Lear jet?
Maybe next time!


Ruby June 28, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Oh, my word! A person could just about set up housekeeping from what’s sitting in those piles.

The bamboo canes would have come home with me in a red hot minute. Gardening fun galore!


gloria June 28, 2015 at 2:00 pm

In other words, when you have to pay to get your trash hauled away, you put a free sign on it instead. The only thing I’d want is the wooden ironing board.


Marilyn June 28, 2015 at 3:31 pm

I like the wooden ironing board too. Also, migth be able to do something with the wooden headboard in pile 10.


kathleen June 28, 2015 at 5:11 pm

ditto for the wooden ironing board. 🙂


Karen June 28, 2015 at 7:06 pm

I like that one, too! It would be fun to incorporate in a project.

I love how this week’s free piles seem to have a “liberate me from ironing” theme–there are 2 ironing boards all together. I totally agree–we hardly ever iron any more, which is truly liberating.


Betty Winslow June 28, 2015 at 2:09 pm

I scored a LOT of free toddler clothes from a local neighborhood’s garage sales (about 30 houses involved), which I split up: some to my GF’s 3 yo granddaughter, some to my 3 yo granddaughter, and the rest is going to either ThredUP or Once Upon a Child. Anything after that is destined for Goodwill. (I know, I know, but there’s really no place else to take it here in town.)


Charli June 28, 2015 at 2:35 pm

We (and our neighbours) have rats in our roofs. They are coming in because it’s warm. We baited and our dog kills the ones in the garden. I like the look of the free bamboo. I was looking for something like that yesterday for my tomatoes and beans and refused to go to the hardware. I rummaged in the bush behind our house and found some big sticks. I didn’t have netting to cover them from possums so rummaged under the house and found an old mosquito net we used to use in our old screenless house. I love making do.


kathleen June 28, 2015 at 5:14 pm

I think I spied some carved wooden sconce-type hanging shelves. I have a pair of antique ones very similar, but I couldn’t tell the quality of the ones in the pile.


Donna June 28, 2015 at 7:35 pm

We are behind the times in Tulsa. Slowly getting there with recycling and environmental awareness. Wish we had free piles! You are lucky, Portland people!


Elise @ Simply Scaled Down June 29, 2015 at 3:42 am

I am hoping your judgement didn’t fail and you snatched up that beauty of a sombrero. I hear those are all the rage these days.


Jill June 29, 2015 at 5:46 am

In the area of SoCal I live in, free piles are few and far between. However, yesterday I spied a great solid wood mid-century desk with a free sign on it in someone’s front yard. I needed a desk for my office! Now I don’t have to pay for one.


Katy June 29, 2015 at 8:30 am

Hooray for free desks!


marieann June 29, 2015 at 6:25 am

Wow! just look at all those goodies.
I’ll take the composter, my last 2 came free…we’ve never had any unwelcome critters at the pile.
I’ll also have the wooden ironing board and the wooden headboard and I like the wee lamp.
The memory foam would make an excellent bed for my kitties.
How cool is to shop at the curb


Vickie June 29, 2015 at 7:55 am

Those are awesome free piles!!
It looks like people are on the bandwagon of Recycle & Reuse – very cool!!


JD June 29, 2015 at 11:07 am

Oh, I wish we had free piles here. What we have on the curbs here is yard waste and true trash; large boxes, broken items, anything too big to fit in the can. My husband used to have an apartment on a tiny coastal island when he worked across the state (those were the days!) and we’d walk the streets there and find stuff sometimes, but it was kind of rare there, too.
I can’t believe the composter in a free pile, either. Those things aren’t cheap. We have one, and we never have rats in it, but then, we have coyotes and Eastern Diamondback rattlesnakes, which I hear are the biggest native snakes in the U.S. One that slithered out of my yard onto the roadway in front of my house was killed by a passing motorist, who showed it to me; it was over six feet long and was almost 18 inches in diameter. He asked if he could keep the hide — uh, yeah! I didn’t want it! Was giving it away non-frugal of me?


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