Also see Dumpster Diving.

Permanent Free Pile locations

  • The Domes North side of the workshop - Had a Free Pile until their troubles with the University.
  • The bench at G Street and Sweet Briar Ln. - smaller items and clothing; less frequently used.
  • This spot no longer has a "free pile," as the neighbors have decided to plant flowers and cleared the spot. (Defunct: The southwest corner of 7th Street and C Street at the curb - The main Central Davis Free Pile; frequently used.) The global freegan / foraging map now includes the one current free pile (called "free box" on the map) listed above. The map can be edited, much like a wiki, to pinpoint other choice locations that folks might want to share.

You're riding down the street, just minding your own business, when suddenly you see that thing you've been wanting sticking out of a box of stuff on the curb. You stop and take a closer look, and Behold! On the side of the box is scrawled the word "FREE".

Free piles are a special bit of Davis magic. People put their unwanted belongings, such as clothing, books, kitchen gadgets, food, furniture, or anything else, out on the curb, and they conveniently disappear in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Free piles are not just one-time items or even piles of stuff left near the sidewalk. They are year-round depositories/exchange areas for people to leave and take no-longer wanted items.

Items typically are disposed of if they aren't taken after 7 days.

Transient Free piles frequently occur after yard sales and during move-out time. It never hurts to place a paper sign marked "FREE" on your item, just so it is clear to everyone that it is OK to take.

Free piles can be found throughout residential areas of Davis, they are more common in some areas than others. They are particularly found in older neighborhoods. Sometimes free piles are advertised on Craigslist or Freecycle (though this is against the Freecycle rules). Other times they're unadvertised.

In apartment complexes, the area near the dumpsters frequently ends up being a de facto free pile for items that are still useful.

Free Pile Etiquette

  • Use caution when taking items that are not specifically marked as free. If in doubt, ask first.
  • Conversely, free pile creators should label piles as free if possible, so as not to contribute to confusion.
  • Take what you will use, leave what you don't for someone who will.
  • Leave the free pile at least as neat as you found it.
  • Don't make noise if it's after dark; neighbors may be sleeping.
  • Free pile creators should find alternate disposal for items not taken within a reasonable period of time.
  • Avoid leaving items such as books when it's about to rain - people are unlikely to sort through a pile of sopping wet stuff.
  • Large items such as mattresses often cause more trouble than they help others. The rules of piles vary.