Oh, for the love of Cleanup Week!

I’m sure you’ve noticed, but in case you haven’t, this week is Fargo’s Annual Holiday O’ Genius.  If you don’t know what I’m referring to, feel free to stop reading – this blog will be of zilch interest.

There are garage sales, there are discount stores and then there’s Fargo’s Cleanup Week.  Hook up the trailers and get the trucks running, because you never know what kinds of treasures you’ll find this week – all at the cost of loading it up and hauling it away. This week takes window shopping to a whole new level with the luxury of peering out your own car window.  It’s like Black Friday shopping – only no ridiculous hours, no lines, no slow cashiers and, for the most part, nobody to elbow in order to get to what you want – though it’s becoming so popular that it may be heading in that direction.

In past years, I’ve touched on Cleanup week Personalities. This year, I’ve taken it upon myself to write up a check list to be sure my fellow readers are prepared for the Week of Glory. Please, don’t hesitate to add to the list if you’re a curb shopper or boulevard packer.

1.) Run don’t walk.
First come first serve. The early bird gets the worm. The faster you move the more you get. Now get goin’!

2.)  Do not be deterred if your significant other is a naysayer. 
This type of person is what freebie hunters call a “wet blanket.”  Leave them behind – possibly for longer than just cleanup week.

3.)  Display it like you got it.
For the people putting items out on the curb: nobody wants to stop and dig through a pile of junk. Well… okay, a lot of people do, but if you’re looking for the excitement of watching someone else pick up your treasures, there’s a lot to be said for displaying your goods properly.

Why do you care if someone takes it? It’s flattering. Someone else dug through your garbage and got something they wanted. It’s something to be proud of.

When displaying, be sure to utilize the entire boulevard.  Set it up like you’re setting up your own personal store for an everything-must-go sale. For example, I set out some less-than-desired pieces of furniture last year. I had an ugly couch that swallowed your rear end (no matter how large), the ugliest window coverings in history, a broken shovel and ice scraper, a coffee table from 1977 with wheels, a tall glass pillar that my boyfriend claimed was filled with wine, and a faker-than-fake tree that I had shamelessly picked up earlier in the week. (The buyer’s remorse was too much to handle after seeing a less fake looking tree on another block.) So what did I do? I literally set up a living room in my yard, using the shovel to hold up the ugliest blinds in the world. You laugh, but all that was left on my curb at the end of the week was the broken ice scraper – which I was fine with. Turns out, ol’ Betsy had another year left in her.

Whatever you do, be sure to hold on to anything with value – particularly sentimental value.

4.)   Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you need it.
Before you put it in your car, think about whether the item it is an upgrade.  Debate why did the previous owner threw it out. Then, if you have room, load it up and if it turns out to be complete trash, throw it out on your own curb later that week. Welcome to the circle of junk. Not to be confused with Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” or the Lion King’s “Circle of Life”. It’s more like if the two had a child.

5.)    Be creative!
Go ahead and try fixing up an old dresser or putting some pizzazz into the used ice scraper you just picked up.

6.) Always a must
Brand new, in the package anything, all items that could constitute firewood, an decent looking grill, scrap metal (particularly precious metals such as copper, brass and aluminum), garbage cans (a garbage from a garbage), and anything you feel will add a unique, decorative touch to your home with a little sanding and painting, because sometimes one man’s junk is another woman’s dresser.

7.) Always a no
Mattresses, underwear, used toothbrushes, bath towels, burnt out bar lights, things that need “the impossible” fix (“This lawn mower looks great! It just needs tires, blades, a battery, and a motor!” or “this just needs gluing, duct tape, and a little reverse engineering.” ) Anything that relies on wishful thinking  should be left behind in order to keep Cleanup Week from becoming a project nightmare.

8.) Think small.
Parts you can get for something you already have is a score. A next-to-new filter for your vacuum, spark plug for your mower as well as slightly used light bulbs and bike tires are money in the bank.

9.) Don’t be fooled by presentations (see tip #3).
Often times, one man’s junk is another man’s… well, still junk.

Everyone’s cleanup week is different. Please share your cleanup week successes and failures, wins and losses, before and after photos, and horror stories – no matter how disgusting. Oh, and good luck!

Shootin’ the Wit is a sporadic column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.

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