Ramblings of a Techno-Viking

The big purge

As I am planning on moving from my (fairly small) house to an RV, I'm having to get rid of lots of stuff. Like many people, I tend to collect things, whether I'll ever use them or not.

Last Saturday I took a load to one of the LA City S.A.F.E. collection centers. I've done this in the past, but avoided doing so on the weekend since my experience with their "collection events" involved long lines. None of their permanent facilities are open on weekdays anymore, so I had to do it on the weekend. There was no line when I got there at about 9:15, and no one else arrived while I was there. I gave them a bag of dried out paint cans, about 200 alkaline batteries, a couple of empty disposable propane cylinders, a couple of dead printers, and several obsolete computers that had been raided for parts already. I'll have to do this several more times unless I find a better way of getting rid of my electronics junk. Nobody wants CRT monitors anymore, even if they work fine. (Besides the 6 electronic item limit, my car trunk doesn't hold all that much.)

Figuring some stuff might be worthwhile to sell as metal scrap, I did some googling and found that most of the top hits for "Los Angeles scrap copper" are either other search sites or out of area. One of the two actual sites had many listings. None gave any idea how much it is worth in small quantities. I eventually found a site that listed prices for container loads (40000 lb minimum) so I could at least get some clue what it's worth, figuring I'll maybe get half that. Copper is $3.60/lb, insulated wire $.90 - $3.00/lb depending, and small transformers (apparently anything under 100 lb or so) $0.45/lb. Steel and iron aren't worth bothering with in the quantities I'd have. Apparently some electronics (like processors and chips with gold-plated pins) are worth enough that a recycling firm is willing to pay FedEx shipping on them. So I should sort that stuff out before taking it to S.A.F.E.

Mostly I'm just going through large piles of stuff, sorting out to recycle (paper/cardboard/numbered plastic), trash, sell/give, and sort again later. It looks like I'll fill my recycle can (40 gal?) this week. (First time I've done that in a single week.) My shredder is also getting a large workout. I'm running into items I've never used and forgotten I purchased, and things that I knew I had somewhere but haven't been able to find for years. It's hard for a hoarder like me to put stuff I paid money for and never used in the trash, but it needs to be done and I'll never get the money back. Also hard are some things people gave me as presents (with good intentions I'm sure) but I knew I'd never use them when I received them.

Current plans for the sell/give pile include a yard sale, Craigslist, and taking a box of free stuff to the monthly Prancing Skiltaire party. I sold some of my filk books at the LAFA filk, and will try again next month.

One thing I know I'll have to deal with is books, mostly SF. The used book store I planned on selling to closed a few months ago. If I had fewer to get rid of, I could just donate to a library or LASFS, with more it would be worthwhile thinking about setting up an internet shop. Maybe I should try that anyway.

Are you familiar with Freecycle, bychance? freecycle.org

Linda at Raven's Roads

Comment by Anonymous Wednesday 06 October 2010 09:13 UTC
It has been several years since I looked at freecycle, and there wasn't much activity in Los Angeles then. It still doesn't look very active, and the server is slow and errored once. Craigslist seems to have much more activity in it's free section.
Comment by blarson Wednesday 06 October 2010 20:19 UTC
Yeah, I've heard that of various Freecycles--there doesn't seem to be a middle ground. Silicon Valley's groups were very active, Stockton's was, and the one up here in Trinity County, to say there aren't many people up here, is active. Good luck with the purge. It is difficult.
Comment by Anonymous Wednesday 06 October 2010 21:30 UTC