If you don't want to take this category quite as literally as we did this time around, previous year's winners are still great bets (the Salvation Army on North Fourth Street has a particularly large selection). But why pay fifteen bucks for a halfway decent couch when you can get one just as good for free? Around the change of the month, city curbs and alleys become the dumping grounds for former furnishings of recently departed residents--why not help those people out by saving the garbage pickup fee? You'll need a scavenger's eye, a decent-sized vehicle, and no sense of shame, but freebies are abundant during spring's busy moving season, and even throughout the year there are treasures to be found. Though some risks are involved (were those people really just too lazy to move or sell that perfectly good chair, or did Scruffy mistake it for a fire hydrant?), careful inspection before carting pieces away should calm most concerns. Minneapolis's densely populated Uptown and U of M areas are prime for scrounging, as their contingent moves often; the abandoned property in the former is slightly more upscale, "donated" by people who just can't be bothered.


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