Lots and lots of stuff. Especially when you add expeditions to “Curb Mart,” as well
There’s much to be had out there, especially if you’re not afraid of a smudge here and there. Neighborhoods have their share of curbside furniture, out for the nearest scavenger. (Reminder to self: a couch is out on the next block. I should check it for loose change, a la Donna Freedman.) Some of the best places for Great Stuff are dumpsters by college dorms and frat houses, especially at the beginning (“Mom made me bring this – yuck”) and end (“Can’t be bothered to drag this home”) of the semester.
We’ve personally rescued everything from gas grills (two of them, in fact) and comfy chairs to bookcases and rugs. I even found a cross-stitched quilt once, folded on top of a garbage can. Those items, after a good cleaning and scrubbing, went into our household — and let us spend money on other items, instead.
What — you don’t need that perfectly good wing chair or dresser? Sell it at your next garage sale, or put it on Craigslist. Other good dumpsters to investigate are drugstores, chain stores and that cornucopia of bountiful pleasures — a store going out of business. (Apparently they can’t be bothered to sell the leftover merchandise any other way.)
One of the best books on the subject: The Art & Science Of Dumpster Diving by John Hoffman. A little scuzzy in spots, but it gives you lots of ideas for productive scavenging. More enthusiasm for the subject, too, considering how many people are participating in this interesting sport.
While you’re looking for household goods, it’s always a good idea to check for food items, as well. If they’re canned or wrapped in wax paper, who cares if they sat in the dumpster for a while! Or, in the case of grocery produce, you can peel or cut away spoiled areas. Cold weather acts as a natural freezer. Some hipsters even make a game of feeding themselves this way.
And if you’ve got pets — we’ve 19 chickens that (sort of) fall into this category — they’ll appreciate any edible you can find. Assuming, that is, that you’re willing to share your goodies with them.
Cindy Brick is a personal property appraiser, judge and national teacher who loves to write about frugality and other personal finance topics. She has written six books and hundreds of articles, but often focuses on quilting, her teaching specialty. She lives in Colorado with her husband, two golden labs and a flock of very suspicious chickens. Find out more at Brickworks, http://www.cindybrick.com, or visit her personal blog: http://www.cindybrick.blogspot.com