Telluride, like many western communities involved in tourism, believes in recycling and encourages the practice with plenty of options. One of the most unusual is simply called The Free Box.

The Free Box is located downtown in a protected area where residents, or really anyone, can leave usable clothing and household items that still have a little life left in them.

A set of rules asks that you keep all items on the shelves and off the sidewalk, and no trash, only usable items. You leave something and grab whatever looks usable to you.

"It's been around since the 1970s," Kiera Skinner, Telluride Tourism Board told OnTheSnow.  "There's a citizen's group that oversees The Free Box and keeps it tidy, and people are good about policing themselves. They only put usable items on the shelves. It benefits everyone, and there are frequently some good used items left."

Sometimes items may even increase in value. Shannon Lukens, OnTheSnow's Colorado editor, shared this recent story.

"My sister-in-law and I were in town this past November. We were visiting a Telluride Ski Swap while there and she noticed a nice leather vest among the items for sale that looked familiar.  She had put the vest in the Free Box five years before, and now someone was selling it at the swap for $15. We found it quite ironic."

You never know what you may find. Someone's discarded items may be someone else's treasure. The Free Box has its own fan base. It's been written up in the Smithsonian magazine, the Denver Post and even has its own Facebook page.

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