Dumpster Diving! Find Your Treasures and Dive Like a Pro!
Dare to Go Dumpster Diving!
You can learn to dumpster dive like a pro. Bear with me here...
Being the tightwad, cheapskate that I am, and living in a busy household, any opportunity I encounter to save money, up-sell, reuse, and re-purpose is going to get my full attention.
It could be age related, but I find the older I get, the less I care what people think of this particular behavior. I work hard; I’ve never been on welfare, food stamps, disability or public assistance! I don't consider myself poor or underprivileged, this is just another activity to supplement the richness of my life!
I love finding usable items that are FREE! The thrill is not only in the cost, but in the actual search and hunt. You just never know what you’ll find!
I understand many will argue this is crossing the line of frugality. But if you have no shame, then you have game to dumpster dive! And I'm going to tell you how to do it!
Waste Not, Want Not
Americans are grossly wasteful. Most are snobby and pretentious; they feel entitled to "new" things and are unreasonably afraid of germs. Think about it, you're more likely to get sick or catch the flu from riding the local bus or subway. Because of these generalizations, most people will be repulsed at the thought of dumpster diving. However, anyone brave enough to overlook these fears can be greatly rewarded when exploring these forbidden urban crevices, caves, caverns and well to put it bluntly...GOLDMINES!
Pros of Dumpster Diving
- It can be highly profitable. Fnd clothing, furniture, toiletries, jewelry, electronics, pet supplies, toys, antiques, other treasure, even food and medications!
- It's fun.
- It's environmentally responsible.
- It's a great activity for city dwellers.
- It's fun to do with a friend!
Cons of Dumpster Diving
- It can be time-consuming.
- It's messy.
- You can get in trouble if the dumpster you dive is located within a gated space or marked "no trespassing," so be mindful of that! If you have any doubts about diving in a certain dumpster or location, call the business owner or the local police department and see what they say.
The Law About Dumpster Diving
Freegan.info (interesting site) discusses the history of the law about dumpster diving.
Supplies for Dumpster Diving
Some basic supplies should be used when going on a diving expedition.
- A flashlight, screwdriver, and folding knife.
- Heavy yet flexible gloves.
- Non-descript, durable clothing.
- A bag, backpack, or satchel to carry treasure away.
- Always wear thick-soled shoes or boots.
- A diving stick or thick broom handle to push and pick through the dumpster with, because when you find a dumpster full of treasure, you want to search it thoroughly. Or a stick with a nail attached for poking and prodding. Antennas and walking canes work great too.
- A comfy well-fitted hat, or hair ties to tie hair back with.
- To keep in the car: boxes and bags for sorting items, and a can of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes or other disinfectant. When a dive ends, thoroughly wash your hands and clean treasures.
Tips for Dumpster Diving
- Dive in the early evening, or at night. The reasoning behind this is because households normally put out their trash at night, and business owners put it out at the end of the business day.
- Become invisible. You are most likely going to encounter strangers on your dive. Pretend they do not exist. Your activities will more than likely make them uncomfortable, so don't engage and make them more anxious.
- When possible, go with a buddy for safety.
- Do NOT take items located outside of a dumpster, or other items not clearly labeled as trash. It's okay to take things that are clearly abandoned or discarded, but items that have not been so classified are off limits.
- Do NOT make a mess. Leave the dumping site cleaner than you found it. Throwing items out of your way when diving is still littering.
- Have fun!
- Stay open minded! Don't go looking for particular items, you're unlikely to find them.
Scout Your Location Out
Stay ahead of the expedition by scouting dumpsters you plan to raid. All dumpsters that are emptied by the refuse department have to be accessible from the road, so use the road to scout them. Take advantage of Google Maps, virtual resources, and even physically viewing your dump ahead of time!
Safety Suggestions When Diving
- If confronted by a store owner or manager and asked to vacate, consider just relocating to a new diving location. There are plenty of uncharted waters to find treasure; after all, you're seeking treasure, not trouble. If confronted by strangers, a simple "I'm looking for boxes" should send them away.
- Keep an eye and ear out for animals and other scavengers; mice, rats and raccoons could be lurking.
- Be considerate of other divers you may encounter.
- Never get into a dumpster, this is just unsafe and a big bad idea. If you can't reach an item solo or with the help of your buddy, leave it.
- Finally, do NOT dive barehanded. Because objects such as glass, chemicals, and even potential bio-hazards can be found, ALWAYS wear gloves.
Where to Go Diving!
Residential dumpsters in apartment complexes and dorms. If you happen to live in one of these locations you can also have a quick dive when depositing your own weekly trash. As for dorms, go 2-3 days before the "move-out" date; call the university to get those dates, or look online. Many students throw out brand new items simply because they lack space to take it home! Schools with higher tuition often produce better finds!
Residential homes. Drive-by diving. Find furniture, appliances, even scrap metal. The treasure is endless.
Motels and hotels. Endless free soap and toiletries.
Discount stores. Unopened vitamins, medications, household goods, clothing, and cleaning supplies.
Wholesale florist shops. Greeting cards, craft supplies, and quick bouquets for loved ones.
Candy and toy stores. Great for gifts.
Garden centers. Many plants, seeds and supplies can be revived with a little TLC.
Bookstores. You'll never be without a cheesy romance novel again!
Grocery stores. Dented and bent canned goods, boxed goods, bakery items, bread, recently expired prepackaged food, even fruit and produce! However, anything leaking, bulging, or obviously opened should be avoided.
All of these locations can be absolute goldmines during holidays when people are more wasteful than normal.
Why Do Households and Business Owners Throw This Stuff Away?
Most of the time the cost to repackage, resell, reuse, or dispose of outweighs profit. Individuals, especially younger people, are lazy and less likely to recycle or donate. One man's trash is another mans treasure.
Are You a Dumpster Diver?
Would you go dumpster diving?
© 2014 Rebecca