Crescent City woman plays ‘trash can Jenga’ with garbage collectors

CRESCENT CITY, Fla. — Joanie Sams’ world isn’t typically turned upside down. At least, not as frequently as her trash cans are.


Every week, she turns the seven trash cans at her Crescent City home into a tower as part of a game with her garbage collectors. You can call it trashy, but it’s in the name.

“Before, I hated taking the trash out,” Sams says, “it was always ‘ugh, I’ve got to take all this trash out,’ but, now, it’s ‘what design can I come up with this week?’”

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Sams has been playing what she calls “trash can Jenga” with her garbage collectors since the start of March, after coming home one day to find her trash cans stacked into a tower.

“At first, I thought, ‘what the heck?’” says Sams, “But I actually caught [the trash collector] in the act the week before last, he was making a huge tower.”

Ever since she realized the workers with Waste Pro in Putnam County were the ones making different shapes with the trash cans, you could say it’s turned one woman’s trash into a treasured tradition, a weekly competition of who can make the best trash tower.

“When do you have time to be a kid like this as an adult? Well, I do every Monday,” Sams says.

Today, Sams showed Action News Jax the new tower she’d made, complete with PVC pipe arms and two blue bins for feet, made to resemble what she calls a “trash monster.”

Action News Jax got this video of the trash collector finding it during his pickup before rearranging it into a taller tower complete with a hard had on top with a smiley face drawn onto it.

Put that smile went beyond the cans, as it has every week since the game started.

“I could be having the worst day ever, then walk outside and see my trash cans stacked in a pyramid or something, and it makes me smile,” says Sams, “it just makes my day.”

As it has gone on week-by-week, it’s become something more for Sams. If nothing else, a sign that whoever said everyone’s got to grow up probably never saw a game of ‘trash can Jenga.’

“You’re never too old to have a little fun, and this is one of the ways to do it,” Sams says.

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