This 2009 video shows what was happening in our suburban Kansas City neighborhood last night as people scoured the streets for creative treasures amid what Prairie Village residents consider trash. Our annual “Big Item Pickup” event is both a great way to get rid of large things people no longer need and an opportunity to redistribute those items to people who do see creative possibilities in them.

Having been one of the scavengers in the past (I actually found matching dining room chairs at two different houses and walked them home), my wife put a stop to my active participation in the creative possibilities-identifying side of Big Item Pickup many years ago. Now, I’m left to live vicariously through the creative scavenging successes of those with the biggest trailers and the most spacious pickup trucks!

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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4 Responses to “Finding Creative Treasure in Someone Else’s Trash”

  1. Barrett says:

    Love this. When I lived in Kansas City, MO, you called and requested a date for big item pick up. The city department in charge would look at what other requests they had accumulated in the nearby area. They would then call you back and say, “Have your items on the curb by X day and we will pick them up that day or the next day.”  Like magic pickup trucks would appear the morning of the day you were to have them out. But they weren’t city trucks, they were entrepreneurs who somehow had obtained the list of addresses where items would be that day. They would pick through, take the “good” stuff and leave the true junk. The landfill stayed a little less full and the cause of commerce was advanced. Petty corruption isn’t always all bad.

    • Anonymous says:

      I like that approach better than having to call the 1-800 people and paying an arm and a leg for removing large amounts of trash. Remind me to tell you my KC, MO trash joke. Yes, I have a KCMO trash joke dating back to a rather unsavory time in our city’s history.

  2. Vinkoe says:

    When I lived in Kansas City I always thought we should rename Big Item Pick-up to “Property Redistribution Day”

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s definitely what happens, Vince. The new “bulky item” pickup day had to have come from “big items” protesting that the previous language was unfair or discriminatory or hurtful!