Where Should I Take My … ?

By on 1 August, 2012 in City Living, City services, Kate and Stephen with 6 Comments

Photo by Xiombarg

Part of modern life is having things and wondering what to do with them. We live in a world of material items, ranging from the exceptionally useful to wasteful debris. Sometimes these useful things evolve. Sometimes they become obsolete. Sometimes they just break. But it is an ongoing struggle to live in a world that seems to sometimes promote disposibility and consumption.

You’re in Montgomery. You have stuff that can’t keep going into your home’s “stuff pile.” What do you do with it? Here are our best answers on a variety of topics. We’d love to hear yours:

Broken Watch – We just don’t buy the idea that watches are obsolete. Sure, most people have a cellphone, but there are times when you want to leave your electronic tether at home — but still know what time it is. Also, there’s no substitute for a watch when traveling – especially internationally. Finally, watches are just cool. They don’t irradiate you or irritate you with emoticons. They do one thing and do it well – a rarity in a world of overwhelming multitasking. But sometimes, like all machines, they need some tuning or a battery replacement. That’s when you should go to John Durham’s shop in the first floor of the Bell Building downtown on Montgomery St. He’ll fix you right up for very little money, and you’ll get a window into the diminishing past of mechanical craft, complete with dozens of ticking clocks to remind you that life is short. Try getting an experience that prosaic at your cellphone dealer.

Broken Shoes – In an age where new shoes are just a tipsy Zappos click away, it can be tempting to ditch an old pair when the sole gets thin in odd places, or a heel breaks off, or they just look too destroyed to wear among civilized people any longer. Don’t cast your faithful servants aside before taking them to the Cloverdale Shoe Repair Shop (1046 East Fairview Ave). You’ll be shocked at the magic they can perform for just a few dollars.

Unwanted Clothes and Household Goods – When we’re not saving for Cloverdale-Idlewild’s annual neighborhood association yard sale, we take our stuff to the Goodwill out on Atlanta Highway. You have to drive around back, but they’ll help you unload the heavy stuff and even give you a receipt. Keep in mind that you should always try to give clothing in good condition to Goodwill – otherwise it will end up getting sent to fiber recyclers anyway and will take up the time of the folks trying to do good works.

Old Books – We tried selling ours on Amazon, but it was kind of a pain and not profitable at all. If you’d like to trade your books, there’s always Trade N Books out on Madison. We’ve heard good things about the website Paperbackswap.com, but haven’t tried them out yet. We have occasionally sold boxes of old books to Birmingham’s own eccentric Jim Reed, who runs Reed Books and Museum of Fond Memories, but that requires a trip to Birmingham. Old books can go to the Goodwill too, because their book section isn’t that great and could use a boost from your cast-offs. We don’t know about library donations, but the downtown branch does have a great little used book store and might be willing to sell your books, with the money going to the library — always a good cause.

Recycling – We’ve long bemoaned the end of Montgomery’s curbside recycling service, even though the mayor had some pretty good reasons for rethinking it. Until the city can figure out how to reestablish the program, there are plenty of places to drop your cardboard, #1 and #2 plastics and cans. There’s a list of drop points online here. If you have other plastics, you’ll have to toss them or store them with your glass for a trip to Birmingham.

Glass – It’s a shame, but there is no place to take your glass in Montgomery. That we know of. We save ours and drop it at the Alabama Environmental Council recycling site in Birmingham when we go to the Magic City for business or pleasure. What a nice (and effective) recycling center they have. We really wish they’d open a branch office down here.

Dry Cleaning Hangers – It’s not so good for the environment, but dry cleaning does suit some garments best, and if you do a bunch of it you end up with a surplus of wire hangers. Jim Massey Cleaners will take those old hangers off your hands.

Used Electronics – At one time, you could only save old electronics from the landfill one day a year, but the City of Montgomery is now partnered with Loxley-based Ecovery for electronic waste drop-off every Thursday at the McInnis Recycling Center at 4341 Norman Bridge Road. If you have old cell phones, consider sending them to a charity, like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence or Cell Phones for Soldiers.

Junk Mail – We love the Post Office, and have never understood why it should be “profitable” to run a public service as useful and important to civic cohesion as letter delivery. That said, we also hate catalogs and junk mail. And yes, we understand that’s what keeps the Service “afloat” these days, but that’s bad for the environment and for public policy. Call catalogs and get off their lists. Consider signing up for the industry’s “Do Not Mail” list here. Good luck convincing Knology not to mail you those glossy cards.

Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with a cat, a dog, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.

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There Are 6 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Gabbie says:

    That “recycling update” from the city doesn’t include the recycling drop off at Huntingdon College. There are big green recycling bins behind the dining hall that are for the neighborhood to use.

    • Kate says:

      Gabbie, I didn’t even look at that document – you are right, and those are the bins we use, like many people in our neighborhood.

  2. We in Midtown Montgomery are also blessed to have a jeweler/watch repair service right here on Fairview across from Sinclair’s: Cloverdale Jewelers, 1050 E Fairview 269-0001. Rich Bailes, proprietor.

  3. Heather says:

    I also have to recommend the shoe guy over in Normandale. About a year ago I had a pair of boots with a broken heel that I desperately needed πŸ˜‰ for an out of town trip (that was 2 days away). The Cloverdale shoe shop said that it would be weeks. After throwing myself on his mercy he suggested that I try the shop in Normandale. I did, and am now a convert πŸ™‚ He is fast, never busy, very very inexpensive and does a great job. I just had 3 shoes repaired and I think the total was 12.00?

  4. Heather says:

    Oh and as far as thrift stores go, I mostly donate to Faith Rescue Mission on the Southern Bypass. Goodwill is a for profit organization, and that just rubs me the wrong way, despite their job training programs. Besides, Faith rescue is my favorite thrift to shop πŸ™‚

  5. Jay Croft says:

    Heather, I too shop at Faith Rescue Mission once in a while. I’ve found shirts with the manufacturer’s tags still attached. For $5.00 I got a 1950s style popcorn popper that works better than the newfangled kind.

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