Couch Mound


I was driving by the Loft area on Ave 26 and saw this amazing mountain of couches. In Lincoln Heights you get used to the occasional couch or two on the sidewalk, but this was special. I had to pull over for a pic.  I wonder if a bunch of people got evicted from that Senior housing? Or did they just, uh, move on to a different place? Hmm, I can’t get a good look from this window, maybe I should park and check out this lil’ mound.


One my way back, someone had already pulled over for closer inspection as well.


There’s a few mattresses thrown into the mix.


Most newbie gentrifiers to the area would see this pile of furniture as an example of the dirty, third world ways of those “ghetto” ethnics. If you read enough blogs about this city of Los Angeles, you’ll know that this is not even a slight exaggeration. I’ve left a couch or two on the sidewalk before, and thats because I am a thoughtful and compassionate person that cares both about the environment and the needs of the working people. Yes, the trash you see is an example of Green Compassion.


See? As I just mentioned, the thoughtful person puts unneeded items in the public domain so as to encourage others to reuse said items, thereby extending the life cycle of the stuff humans make from the various elements that come from the earth.  In communities with money, they waste shit like crazy, throwing out perfectly-usable-but-now-unfashionable items as if there is an unlimited supply to the collection of trees and metals that get turned into that latest commodity. How come they don’t get some derisive, denigrating terms to call them out for this wastefulness? If we are ghetto, then what are they? Wasteoids? Serial Konsume-illers? La Mara Shopaholica?


As you can see, these Environmental Activists were considering their actions in regards to an item headed for the landfill; maybe they can find a home for this lonely and unappreciated commodity? You can see in the previous pic that this guy was calling his phone tree to see if he could place this decent, if a little worn, couch into some needy living room. They do the world a real service. Too bad they’re so ethnic looking though, that doesn’t help. And they probably don’t have friends in the media or a grasp of the appropriate lexicon to turn this natural practice into a green ideology, one to which others can subscribe. If it weren’t for those key factors, then LH would be the birthplace of a certifiable movement! Instead, they’re just “ghetto”.

When are people going to realize that “stuff” is a responsibility and not something to be taken lightly? Before you buy more crap, ask yourself these questions:

– Are you ready to commit yourself to this thing for at least most of its projected life?

– Do you have the time to care for and occasionally mend this thing?

– If you get tired or bored of this thing, or if the magazines decide it’s no longer a must have item, you can’t just return it or give it away like a common pet. Can you love it despite having public opinion turn against it?


Think of the sidewalk as the sofa pound, not unlike the dog pound. If nobody claims these old couches within a set number of days, then they go back to the garbage. Just like old unwanted dogs. There’s always newer and prettier ones to be had at the stores! Just like puppies.

As I was walking away, that black leather couch was being loaded into a mini-van, to survive another day.

Earth First! would be proud.

This entry was posted in Analysis, Fotos, La Politica es un desmadre.., Lincoln Heights. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Couch Mound

  1. moon says:

    Sofa Pound? I’m still laughing. And it truly would be hilarious if my husband hadn’t picked up a “found” couch for our daughter’s first apartment.

  2. Erika says:

    You know they raised the costs at the “senior housing” location four times in one year the first year it opened? I once spoke with a man who didn’t know what to do. I did what I could to give him some contacts who should have been able to help him. I hope he got assistance and put a stop to it. And this was supposed to be affordable housing….

  3. apio says:

    Most houses I’ve lived in have been furnished by things left for free on the side of the street… where would we be without this sort of anonymous generosity? But for those willing to goout on the night before trash day in the right neighborhoods at the right times (near universities–if the neighbors aren’t the sort quick to call the cops–at the end of semesters can be good) even the wastefulness of fools can be turned into genuine recycling… I’ve even known people who’ve been able to put together fully functioning stereo systems and computers from the non-“state-of-the-art” components others were throwing out…

  4. chimatli says:

    The street is my shopping palace. In fact, I’ll be putting out an item today, I’m a practicing member of the “green exchange movement.” The item originally came from the street too!

  5. Ha ha my friend was telling me how everyday on the way home from work he walks thru the allys to check out what interesting thing he might see, he mentioned he always sees abandoned colchones on all kinds of positions even some on top of each other subliminal for like people having sex or something and all those couches and one colchone look like a bunch of hippeis on some crazy orgy ahhahahah after my friend said that now am thinking crazy lol he was seeing it as an art installation lol

  6. Edith says:

    Even if you don’t need a couch they are great resources for fabric, wood, and stuffing. Take one apart and make something else with it!

  7. meekorouse says:

    I personally don’t have issue with couches on the sidewalk.. I think of them as urban resting places.. In Berkeley, I’ve seen couches conveniently located next to bus stops. I think it’s awfully thoughtful of someone to leave a couch near a place one might have to wait a while for a ride.

    Also unlike LA (unless someone can tell me) they have special clean out days once or twice a year where it’s quite normal to see mattresses, chairs, random couches, and lamps etc.. out on the sidewalk up & down the street. The city will come pick them up on those special days. Otherwise people leave stuff out for unofficial ‘free cycle’ It’s been known to happen.. that’s a good choice of furniture there. I’d leave the mattress though. =)

  8. Steve says:

    Some of those look like like they were purchased at IKEA. Any destitute, college-aged kids around?

  9. esme says:

    Dear Chavo,

    I love you.

    You are the “friend in the media.” The one that sends sly f-u!s to “sustainable” and “green” posers! You’ve got your eyes open where as most “greens” don’t.

    You show us people that are brown on the outside with the un-seen green on the inside.

    Thanks for reminding that some sensible people also re-purpose the streets. They aren’t just for cars, or getting from point A to point B. No utilites or rent need be paid at this open-air street market.

  10. EL CHAVO! says:

    Oooh, I’m blushing! 😉 Thanks for the comments everyone.

  11. rolo says:

    living la vida sofa

  12. gm says:

    yeah, forget that call 311 stuff. Just bring a dumpster every first Saturday or some such plan

  13. apio says:

    I am visiting a friend in Detroit right now, and yesterday he took me on a bit of a tour of this battered and decayed city. A highlight of the tour was the Heidelberg Prroject (on Heidelberg Street in Detroit) where Tyree Guyton and a few of his neighbors show that even the apparently most useless trash can be savaged at east for making public art that adds a certain surreal beauty and whimsy to their otherwise “blighted” neighborhood.

  14. apio says:

    I should add that the project started out as a spontaneous endeavor that had to contend with the city authorities. (There is info about that in one of the two surrealist issues of Race Traitor). But the city authorities came to realize that it was an exploitable art project, and now it has been institutionalized. I think this is unfortunate, simply because institutionalization both tends to put a damper on creativity, and because it means the project gets funding and could easily move away from its use of freecycled materials.

  15. Julio says:

    My mom recently found a perfectly good gabinete near her work. Surprising that she spotted it because it was under a tree in the dark, with no lighting around. Immediately she got my dad to pick it up. Some of the rails were broken and needed a hinge or two. $20 dollars later it was in perfect, working condition and even now has a light to illuminate the platos it now houses.

    So often the things we do to be resourceful because we have to are overlooked because they don’t have the stamp of the greenwashing of any sort of environmentalist sentimentality.

  16. TacoSam says:

    The recycling idea is good, but most of those couches are not in usable condition. They are missing seat cushions, dirty and torn. Looks like trash to me. I doubt anyone reading this blog would willingly take those old dirty and torn couches home and put them in their living room for their kids to sit on. They hauled the only good couch away that was in usable condition. Ok, as for sleeping on an old dirty mattress thrown in the street or an alley, well, that’s not for me. But hey, if someone wants to do it, more power to them.

  17. esme says:

    dear Taco,

    I think you are missing the point. Of course you are not gonna sleep on a “questionable” couch if you can afford an unquestionably new (yet often quite toxic) couch. Nothing like spending half your life breathing in the offgassing of factory chemicals!

    I think the more important point is the one about committing to something as massive and resource consuming as are couches and matresses. Or at least to rethinking their current use/dump design. I mean these are just a FEW couches that perhaps are not useful for sitting but they have materials that could be re-used or re-purposed (life-cycle design) instead of just used, abused and landfilled in the unquestionably massive quantities that they are.

  18. TacoSam says:

    Esme, thanks for your comment. I’m all for recycling and repurposing. I do get the point. I agree, leaving the good couch out on the sidewalk, it would probably get a new owner in less than 1 day.

    But leaving useless, dirty, destroyed couches and mattresses on the sidewalk is just creating more garbage and disrespecting the community. A few months ago, *some* commenters here went bananas when a certain “yuppie outsider” shopkeeper left a small mound of trash on the sidewalk outside her shop without picking it up after she swept. My guess is that there would be complete outrage and a nuclear meltdown on this blog if these old useless couches and mattresses would have been left outside the yuppie art shop instead of outside the senior housing center.

    To *me*, this situation with the couches and mattresses is much worse than the yuppie shopkeeper (whatever her intentions were). Those dirty and torn couches and mattresses-which no one could use in their livingroom or bedroom- should have been taken to the recycling center or garbage dump, not left on the sidewalk. This just shows disrespect for your community-treating the streets just like a dump. Just my opinion and I respect others point of view.

    Or just an idea, maybe the Yuppie art shopkeeper can make some art with the old dirty couches and mattresses.

  19. Sofa pound! haha…Sabes que, out here in the desert we don’t find my couches out in the calles and if we do, we put it to good use in the winter time. The madera and fabric are really good for starting bon fires during the holidays or cold weekend nights when friends and family get together. This reminds me of my “Very Creative” entry on my page. I guess you can say that we all think “Environmentally Green!”

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