Bulky, not bulky

Clyde L. Rackley Tool & HardwareSolid Waste Services reports that it (no longer?) publishes schedules for residential bulk collection “to discourage illegal scavenging and dumping.” On the City notifications, “bulky waste” became “bulky collection” (see the illustration) and then assumed its current form, “bulk collection.” I love the word “bulky.”

I try not to accumulate bulky waste, as it used to be called on the notices, but inevitably there seem to be objects that linger for a while in storage limbo before a certain member of the household is willing to concede that they are indeed waste and therefore eligible for disposition. This time around, one of them is an orange traffic cone that somebody dumped in front of the house. We never did find a use for it. Also destined for the curb is a disintegrating old chest of drawers whose contents must find a new home. In one of the drawers I found miscellaneous window hardware for French doors, transoms, and double-hung windows, along with this paper sack.

Davis Hardware was always my favorite, maybe just because I loved the giant sign in the form of a clawhammer, but also because it stocked household goods such as glass shades for the sort of ceiling fixtures not made since the 1920s and miscellaneous crockery, mostly from East Texas. At Davis Hardware, asking helped you find things. At Rackley’s, though, items for frivolous household beautification were not in stock. The principles of the tidy organization were immediately apparent, and help in finding things was seldom required. Rackley’s had the most complete selection of dowels I’ve ever seen and also had a grinding and sharpening shop in the back. Where Rackley’s was, Escuelita del Alma now is, though perhaps not for long.

3 Comments so far

  1. mss (unregistered) on June 15th, 2007 @ 10:05 pm

    It’s illegal to scavenge? We’re being one-upped by the French? In France, Napoleonic code gives rights to the gleaners…people who are allowed to come in after the farmer has harvested and glean what is left. This practice has been extended to urban gleaning. (See the great documentary The Gleaners and I.

    Reuse is one step ahead of recycling and both are better than the landfill. So all you gleaners out there, take note: Bulk collection in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood starts June 18th.

    BTW…I almost never set anything out which isn’t snapped up before the official collectors arrive.

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 1:55 am

    Whether scavenging is illegal or not, I don’t know, but it certainly occurs. The collection week begins Monday and already many objects have been placed at the curb by others and nearly all of them have already gone on to new homes. With or without any on-line announcement, there are always people on the lookout. The other activity mentioned in the Solid Waste statement is dumping. That’s how the traffic cone came to us, and lately tires have been left in neighbors’ front yards in the middle of the night, although in neither case did the dumping seem to have anything at all to do with “bulk collection.” We have often set out items that we’re unable to repair ourselves or that have otherwise become eligible for discard, and during non-collection periods, and they’ve always been taken. One difference, though, between Austin of days gone by and the Austin of today, is that people always came to the door and asked permission or for confirmation that it was okay to remove what was at the curb, and these days people just assume it’s fine and don’t ask.

  3. mss (unregistered) on June 16th, 2007 @ 7:48 am

    Like you (as you’ve said in other posts), I put things out with a “Free” sign so people don’t have to ask. I’d rather they didn’t…although just the other day someone came to my door to ask about the status of some yucca I’d cut and not yet replanted. Knowing I wasn’t going to get around to replanting anytime soon, I was happy to share them with someone who wanted them.

    In The Gleaners and I once it is on the curb it is considered gleanable, no permission necessary. What’s freaky is to see the rural counterpart where people are allowed onto private property into vineyards to pick grapes, into orchards to pick various fruits, and even onto beaches to get the leftovers of clams and mussels.

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