MADAM Ghim Peck Choo, 48, earns $15 a day working four hours at McDonald's, but it is not enough to support her and her jobless husband.
She started collecting discarded items six years ago, selling them to a scrap collector who comes twice a week. She earns between $5 and $20 each time, depending on what she manages to sell.
But the rest of the items have found a permanent spot in the living room of her three-room flat in Yishun Street 11.
There are paint cans, newspapers, shoes and crossword puzzle books.
She cannot bring herself to throw out things that have remained unsold, in the hope they may still be sold.
Town council officers have visited her flat and taken photos twice this year, but she has not done anything about clearing her collection. But she does throw away items such as torn clothes that are beyond repair.
"Wow, people are so rich, they throw away so many things that can be used," she said, adding that the polo T-shirt and shorts she had on were among her finds.
Madam Ghim suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes and her husband is unable to work because of a leg injury.
Their daughter, 27, lives with her mother-in-law.
She said they do not have enough money to pay utility bills, and depend on goodwill.
She acknowledged that her collection was unsightly.
"I don't want to make a mess, but I need to eat," she said.
JALELAH ABU BAKER