The Contents Of A Woman's Entire NYC Apartment Were Dumped On The Street Like Trash After She Died

Our stuff holds the memories of our lives.

older woman sitting by a window Mart Production / Pexels

Anna Sacks calls herself “the trash walker.” She’s built up a social media presence based on her frequent trash walks through New York City, essentially treasure-hunting through household items that people have thrown away.

She tries to “create change, divert waste, and raise consciousness” about the importance of donating unwanted items instead of dumping them.

She recently found a treasure trove of items on the curb, which turned out to be the collection of someone's life.


The contents of a woman’s entire apartment were dumped on the street like trash after she died.

Sacks filmed piles of trash bags full of vintage clothes, artwork, dishware, and furniture that she found curbside in New York City. She captured footage of other people combing through what was left of someone’s apartment — their whole life.



“It’s a really intimate experience to go through the contents of a person’s life,” Sacks said. “We learned this was an 80-something-year-old woman named Diane Green, who lived in a rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan.”


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Sack explained that Green’s next-of-kin didn’t want any of her belongings, and the building’s goal was to “empty everything from the apartment as fast as possible so they could renovate it and then list it on the market for millions of dollars.”

“As a result, all of her belongings were headed to the trash,” Sacks said. She learned that Green was an artist and that much of the art that got tossed was work from her own collection.

The Contents Of A Woman’s Entire NYC Apartment Were Dumped On The Street Like Trash After She DiedPhoto: ullision / Shutterstock


The experience of going through Green’s things seemed bittersweet. Sacks listed off various items she found, including an unopened bottle of champagne, which, she remarked, “Is a reminder to celebrate now.”

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Sacks explained that she rescued as many treasures from being thrown away as she could, but “so much went to the trash, and it’s really a tragedy.”

Sacks believes that going through Green’s discarded belongings is part of honoring her life and memory.

She recounted her interaction with the contractor hired to empty the apartment, saying, “He had a specific job to do, but I let him know that things are worth money and people would pay money for [them], and I could help with that process, but again, I think they were under such a tight time constraint to get rid of everything.”


“This is so common,” Sacks said, outlining her idea for a bill holding that contractors have to try to rehome items before throwing them out. She continued, “My friends and I did as much as we could and it’s just really sad that this is the reality.” 

Sacks ended her post by lighting a candle on the altar in her bedroom as a way to honor Diane Green’s spirit.

The Contents Of A Woman’s Entire NYC Apartment Were Dumped On The Street Like Trash After She DiedPhoto: CoralAntler / Shutterstock


“I hope she would be happy that her items are now bringing many people joy,” she concluded. 

Our belongings hold stories of who we’ve been and what’s held value for us in our lives. As Sacks describes it, rehousing those belongings is essential to ensuring someone’s legacy is kept alive. 

Our physical presence might disappear when we die, but as Sacks showed, our lives continue to hold meaning in what we’ve left behind.


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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture and all things to do with the entertainment industry.