I was searching around the blogosphere and I came across this interesting article at Dollarish asking if readers would be willing to dumpster dive to save money. I especially like what one of the commenters said
My husband found six boxes of someone’s travel memorabilia from the ’50s and ’60s in a Dunkin’ Donuts dumpster. Old stamps, letters, receipts, postcards, souvenirs from all over the world, a passport… can’t believe anyone would throw that away! We’re still trying to figure out what to do with it.
I couldn’t help but laugh at this one. If you are picking up other peoples sentimental stuff (6 boxes of it!) and then “still trying to figure out what to do with it” that might be a sign that you have gone too far. I can see diving for items to sell or items you need, but diving to save sentimental items that others have thrown away just so they can sit in your own basement? Hmm.
I thought about it and I just couldn’t do it. However, I do think we (as humans) are wasteful and I have a lot of respect for the people who can. That said, when I hear “dumpster dive” I tend to think of something that happened back on my college campus.
College campuses are generally great places to “dumpster dive”. When the students leave they tend to throw out almost everything they own, some of it is new and some of it is in great condition. When I moved out of my last college place I just put an ad in craigslist that I had a house full of free stuff. I got plenty of takers, from newlyweds to new students to townies looking for anything from kitchen supplies to furniture. The only thing I actually threw out was a broken fish tank that oddly enough was taken from my trash.
I guess that wasn’t “dumpster diving” since the items were never put in a dumpster, but if nobody had responded then that is where they would have gone. Almost all of it was great stuff so it stands to reason that there would be other people around town who would just automatically throw their stuff out. So, you might be able to find plenty of great items in a dumpster.
But, then I saw something that made my stomach turn. The landlord of the house across the street from mine showed up with his pickup to do his check on the house. The house next door had two mattresses in their dumpster. They were both stained with what looked like both urine and blood and looked 50 years old. He picked them up and threw them in the back of his pickup, where they sat for three days, it even rained one of those days. After he finished whatever painting he needed to do in the house he lugged those mattresses into his rental house. The students before had left their living room furniture (I have no idea what condition it was in) and now he just needed to put these mattresses on a frame and… Waalaa – a “furnished” apartment. That means a good $50 or so more a month for him.
Lesson learned, if you are heading off to college be sure to check under the sheets of your “furnished” bed and mattress. Some people aren’t as honest as one would hope. I guess even “dumpster diving” can be dishonest.