It was a rainy day and I happened to notice that there were some new boxes in the trash cans that are in the alleyway behind my apartment building. There were some bright colors popping out of the boxes and some vintage looking purses that were strewn about and I found myself thinking “Looks like there may be some cute stuff out there…!!!” I haven’t ever formally been Dumpster Diving even though I’ve heard a ton about it and grew up with a mom who was a “Curb Diver”. A Curb Diver is someone who sees something of interest on the curb that has been left out for the trash removal crews and grabs it. It’s the classy cousin of Dumster Diving. I think all of the dining room chairs in my parents house have been re-finished and re-upholstered and were found on the curb destined for trash heap when my mom swarmed in. She might kill me if I told you that so let’s just keep it between you and me. She finds treasures and makes them new again. It’s nothing be ashamed of it’s actually something to be proud of. See her Gettin’ Guesty interview.
After thinking about it for a total of 2 seconds I made my way out to the alley and started picking through the items. The vintage purses I saw were cute but were ruined by the rain and had some weird pieces missing so those were an automatic no-go. It felt a little strange to be out there… kind like a scavenger. But, cute stuff was a possibility so I was wiling to give it a try. Also, my sister owns a Buy-Sell-Trade store out in Omaha, Nebraska called Scout: Dry Goods Trade (it’s similar to Buffalo Exchange if you’re familiar with that concept) so I figured I could wash these items up and sell them to her for some extra money. Always on the look out for ways to make a little extra money. The little extra money here and there really adds up in the long-run!
The images above are the fruits of my Dumpster Diving labor. It’s hard to tell in the pictures but a lot of the clothes are actually for little kids and since I have a niece that is just the right size she ended up with these items once they were washed and re-freshed. I also checked for bed bugs too just in case that was why they got tossed… you just never know… and luckily there were none.
I’ve also taken to indoor Dumpster Diving (this falls into the Shamelessly Frugal category). This is how it works… at your office are there people who constantly through out plastic baggies or other things that could be re-used? Most people unfortunately do this so you swoop on in, pick out the disgarded items and give them new life. Dumpster Diving at work can be a little tricky because you don’t want to have it affect your job. That would be bad. Keep it subtle and don’t tell your co-workers about it because it will weird them out. Also, keep it to the common space trash cans/recycling bins and not the personal ones at individual desks. Because, talk about making people nervous/weirded out/what’s she doing/OMG/cut-it-out… that will do it.
Morale of the story, keep it subtle and keep your eyes peeled. You might find some gems covered in goo that can easily become shiny and new.
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Tips for Dumspter Diving Success
You can even meet up with other Garbologists!
Have you ever been Dumspter Diving? What do you think about it? If you are into Dumpster Diving what has been your best find? Do you use Dumpster Diving as a way to make additional income or do you keep the items for yourself?