The popularity of decluttering shows such as Marie Kondo's Tidying up with Marie Kondo (Netflix), and renovation based shows like Better Homes and Gardens, has caused a surge in households getting rid of unused stuff, or replacing it with newer furnishings to keep it fresh.
Gone are the days where a cushion or a coffee table was for life. If you follow any Facebook Kmart Decor Hack groups, you'll understand the pressure to update your living area or bathroom and show it off every few months.
Of course, all those old goods have to go somewhere and whilst plenty end up on eBay or Facebook Marketplace, charity shops are now pickier about what they accept and so much of it ends up in council cleanups, eventually making its way to landfill (not all but a lot does).
A recent street bounty haul. Image by Jade Jackson.
For everyone else, this means you can furnish or restyle your house for free knowing your choices are saving perfectly usable goods from going to landfill.
Rummaging through other's unwanted goods may not be a new enterprise, but it has a new name, Street Bounty and along with it, a dedicated group of Street Bounty Hunters who post photos of goods they find on Facebook groups, in-case others may wish to collect it. Likewise, it's an easy way to get rid of unwanted stuff.
In the past, sites like Freecycle tried to do the same thing but social media has made it easier. So before your next IKEA trip, a quick search on street bounty groups might provide exactly what you're after, for free.
A solid wooden cabinet, free on the street in Katoomba recently. Image by Jade Jackson.
Once the property is on the street, (unless marked otherwise for charity pickup) it is free for the taking. However, it's always best to ask as rules vary by state. Some goods will come with a 'free' sign but this isn't always the case.
Make sure you leave the pile as you found it (i.e. tidy) and leave nothing else behind.
Each household is entitled to one or two free cleanups per year, depending upon the council you live in. Sometimes you'll find an entire street will have a council cleanup on the same day.
With today's throwaway society, it's often cheaper to buy a new item than to repair, resulting in much unnecessary wastage.
Some recent free furniture from the street bounty Facebook Group.
In the past few months, I've seen IKEA bookcases, leather lounge suites, metal kitchen stools, entire DVD and CD collections, kids toys (including working battery-operated toys), bikes and scooters, cabinets, chairs, tents, barbecues, tv's, gym equipment, esky and cooler boxes, succulent and floral plant cuttings along with plant pots, baby furniture, beds and bedding furniture, IKEA drawers and tables, working fridges and washers along with plates, glasses and cutlery. Literally enough to furnish an entire household. All free. All in perfectly usable condition.
So far, I've collected a mini IKEA greenhouse, a storage trolley, a brand new photo frame, an IKEA bookcase that matched my desk, and a beautiful white wooden rocking chair. All free and all would have ended up in landfill.
A mini IKEA greenhouse collected from street bounty. Image by Hailey Catacutan.
Alternatively, to find out your local council regulations and allowances on council cleanups, type your address and search the Local NSW Government Site. It has website links and phone numbers for your local council.
An outdoor seat and storage set, recently posted on street bounty. Image courtesy of Facebook street bounty group.
Tips to ensure you end up with quality street bounty
Obviously more affluent suburbs like the Hills District and Northern Beaches have better street bounty hauls. However, suburbs with transient residents like Bondi and Surry Hills have regular piles of stuff for council collection.
Suburbs with a higher portion of families result in excellent street bounty like Gregory Hills, Emerald Hills and Oran Park. You often see toys and kids' furniture here.
The Blue Mountains have had a lot of quality country style wooden furniture thrown out, as it's no longer in fashion.
If you're the handy type, you could pull the wood apart and build something else, like a bench seat or a storage box.
If you see a pile, stop and take a look, you never know what you may find. Part of the fun of finding street bounty is being in the right place at the right time. Having access to a spacious car or trailer helps so you can nab your bounty when you find it.
It's a good idea to keep a pair of gloves handy as some stuff may be dirty. Bunnings sells several styles of gloves for under $5.
There's also TikTok videos like the one below highlighting street bounty.