Do You Ever Take Items Left Outside People’s Houses?

Yesterday, l called into my doctor’s surgery and on the way back to my car, l noticed some garden tools and troughs near the path outside someone’s house.
I walked on to my car and then thought, l wonder if they are being thrown out as l would find the troughs and the fork very useful.
I turned around and headed back to the house. I cheekily knocked the front door to ask if the items were being thrown out… but no one answered the door. I decided to knock on the neighbour’s door which had a ‘Sold’ sign in the garden. Again, no one answered.
I hovered a bit deciding what l should do?

Along came a passerby who was carrying a Henry Vacuum cleaner… lets not go there!!

I waylaid her and asked her if she thought the garden items had been left out for people to take.
She was most enthusiastic and said, she felt sure they were and what a good idea to get rid of unwanted items to people who would make good use of them.
I wanted to joke and ask if she was taking ‘Henry’ to the vicar but restrained myself!!

So l ask, do you ever put unwanted items outside your house? Have you ever helped yourself to the discarded items?
Do you agree it’s a good way to get rid of your unwanted items?

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I will never think of a Henry in the same way again !
I think it’s a good idea I saw it a lot in Australia

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I wouldn’t take anything outside without express permission from the people whose items they were. Or perhaps there was a huge sign saying “Free Stuff, Help Yourself” Otherwise its stealing.


No, I’ve never taken things left outside houses, but it is a good idea. It would help, though, if there was a sign saying ‘please help yourself’ so people knew the items were up for grabs.

Some years ago, our son lived in a house which had an enormous old cooking apple tree. It fruited prolifically every year, and as he was single at the time and never into cooking, they were in danger of going to waste. We went round and picked about 5 big carrier bags full and brought them back. I took what I wanted, froze what I could fit in the freezer, and the rest I divided among several bags, about 2-3 lbs in each bag. We put them out the front with a ‘please help yourself’ sign, and they all went in no time (we live on a main road, lots of passers by).

Mostly, though, if I’m getting rid of stuff I put it on our local Facebook’s ‘Don’t Dump It’ page.

I remember my son taking an interest in upcycling a few years ago.
We decided to go on a little skip spotting walk around the neighborhood, lo and behold there was a skip in the front of someone’s garden containing some useful looking pieces of timber.

I’m not to keen on cold calling but I thought it might be a little lesson for him on how to approach other people, we got a slightly puzzled look from the owner at first but after politely explaining what we were up to it was all good!

He still hasn’t made anything with his finds yet… maybe I should ask him to take it back :wink:

Pixie, It is done a lot around here. Maybe people aren’t so generous in Scotland?

During the Lockdowns when people used the time to get rid of clutter, there was loads of stuff left outside peoples houses with no signs.
Even in Brighton where my daughter lives, items are left outside for people to take. She once saw a really good Magimix food processor but was running that day and wouldn’t have been able to carry it.
The turnover of rental properties in Brighton is huge and people have to get rid of stuff pdq!

They do it a lot round here. I put out a Black and Decker drill and it went in minutes. Once I saw a neat little bedroom cabinet with three drawers - it was on wheels and followed me home!


ST, That made me laugh so much!

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Oh we are generous, we do leave stuff, we are just a bit more organised and put a sign up saying it’s free to anyone who wants it. :+1:



Very common here as well.

We put them on the footpath outside the garden fence, I put loads out, as I am still decluttering.

The last thing was 5 boxes of wall tiles.

I collect any wood I can use for the garden or shelving in the sheds.

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Here I see help yourself to these posts on our local community Facebook page . If I have anything I usually post it in the Marketplace section as Free .
Personally I’ve never taken anything .

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People do it around here but I would never take anything unless it had a FREE sign on it. i’ve seen carpet, washing machines, books, kids toys, kids slide, jam jars, small furniture all outside houses.

A few years ago I was going to visit my Mum and I always took a short cut through a tiny hamlet. Outside a very posh house was a sign saying free carpet, brand new. There were two large rolls. So I rang my husband to bring his van and we got it. They were each about 15 ft x 12ft, brand new and top quality wool carpet. Had it been a busy road it would have been long gone.

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Exhibit No1… Your Honour! Guilty as charged!


Our garden is full of “dead” plants discarded by the roadside.All they needed was water.

Some of my neighbours down in Perth do this, usually with toys, games, books ect They are always in plastic (99p) crates with notices that the goods are free but not the crate. It works pretty well and I wanted to get shot of a lot of tubs for plants a couple of years back so I did the same and all 8 tubs were gone within the hour.

I can’t speak for other councils but Wollongong Council used to have a day every six months when everybody put out rubbish to be collected. There were fleets of utes driving round collecting stuff. Often by the time the council truck came round 90% of the stuff was gone.

People complained about the mess so now ratepayers have two collections a year which have to be booked.

Actually I am on the look out for a mower body for my old mower.

We’ve got a low wall outside the front of the house, and I can guarantee that whatever I put out will disappear overnight.
I’ve often threatened to put lordruthio on the wall…:sweat_smile:


Someone suggested to me that the best way to get rid of junk was put it out the front with a For Sale sign on it

not since I found out that people sometimes throw things out because they are infested with fleas, bedbugs or cockroaches.

@Bruce , " on llook out for a mower body for my old mower"
Why dont you print one Brucy ?? :roll_eyes::roll_eyes::roll_eyes: