Dumpster Diver Thread

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Hennepinboy, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    I'm a lawyer, and I handle lots of estates when people die. It breaks my heart to see how much people throw away. Throwing it away nearly always makes sense for the people who do it, though. From their point of view, the house is valuable, and they need to get it cleared out to get it on the market quickly. Even if you want to give away the contents of the house, you'll spend untold hours dealing with craigslist fools. Most people don't have the time or patience.

    I'm thankful to work with a real estate agent who is committed to recycling. He often helps clear out apartments when the owner dies, and he tries to find a home for everything. I often help him, because I'm committed to recycling too. Last year the two of us cleared out a home after the owner died, and his kids took what little they wanted. We diverted a whole lot of stuff from the landfill, and I even made good money selling some of it. (A single Porsche 911 wheel that was buried in leaves in the back yard brought over $200.)

    The best arrangement I've found is when there is enough space in a backyard, just post a craigslist "Free" advertisement, then start moving stuff into the back yard, near the dumpster but not in it. Teams of freebie hunters will descend on the place within hours in Denver. They will even carry the stuff out of the house and save you the effort. Once they have gone through it all and taken what they can, the rest is already near the dumpster. Sadly, most of my clients who die live in apartment communities, and the management won't tolerate that practice, not even for a day. Sadly, the freebie hunters often make an enormous mess in the process.

    I'm a freebie hunter myself, so I'll do what I can to keep stuff out of the landfills. I'm glad there are people who can make their living collecting and re-selling other people's trash. It's gives them a far better sense of self-respect than sitting on the street corner begging for money.
    #21
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  2. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    See my post above. Even a lawyer who makes $240 and hour can recognize the societal value of dumpster diving. Besides, the treasure hunting aspect is good wholesome entertainment. If I had kids, I'd be teaching them life lessons like that too.
    #22
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  3. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    I dumpster dive. Probably daily. My current apartment is furnished by dumpster dive furniture. Many tools in my toolbox, someone else was throwing away. I find all kinds of good stuff all the time, and I still can't believe how wasteful people are.

    I have a "Dumpster Dive Find of the Week" on facebook and I've received half positive and half negative responses. People are also blown away with what I find, and some people are mad at me. They think I'm lying or stealing or ... something? They always say, "Yeah, but what's the real story.. how did you get that?" "In the fucking dumpster in the alley." Then they want me to share/give it to them. So, I have the burden and danger of sneaking around to find nice gifts for you? Nope. You can buy it if you really want it.

    That's good to know. I'll have to look it up.

    She should lighten up.

    What's worse than throwing it all away is now these big box stores will damage the stuff so it can't be reused. Brand new pairs of shoes with the sides cut out with razors. Brand new coats.. again, razors. The waste is unbelievable.

    A year ago, my neighbor died. Her family tossed mountains of good stuff. I was honestly a bit heartbroken to see all the old family pictures, vacation photos, family history stuff.. but in the clues I pieced together the story that the grandpa died a decade ago and the grandma just died; they threw away all her stuff to make room in the house.

    I only went over there for a plastic tub that I saw sitting in their trash. I figured I could use another one. I was emptying it out of random trash and old junk mail when I found an old envelope with $450 cash in it. From that point on, I needed to look through the whole mountain of trash and it ended up being an interesting roller coaster of feelings.. Their grandma worked for my current employer for like 45 years and I found a treasure trove of cool history relating to my company, plus a lot of cool old stuff about the history of this little aerospace community. Her husband was in WWII and a local cop for decades. They were both popular, well respected, and active citizens in retirement. This was all mixed in with old lady blouses.

    Her family didn't give a shit about her, so I said a silent thanks as her cash financed a weekend trip to Laguna Seca last year for the World Superbike races. Thanks again, Caroline!

    ...

    Exactly. Exactly. The saying is "Reduce. Reuse. Recycle." People are so quick to do the last one, but that's the least efficient of the three. I'm not a consumer whore, so I reduce. I dumpster dive, so I reuse. What I do actually rarely throw out is honest-to-goodness trash, and the rest I recycle. People always act so offended at someone actually practicing the first two, though.
    #23
  4. vagueout

    vagueout Long timer

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    About four years ago my brother bought a house well out of sydney in a bushland area. The sellers were emptying anything unwanted into an onsite dumpster. my brother pulled out a Fender squier cheapo guitar and a set of cheap drums. Gave the drums to his buddy, the guitar had all its hardware loosened off as though hurriedly reassembled after an attempted fix. He handed it to me i re-soldered broken wires in the harness , set it up thinking it would play and sound like garbage, could not get over how good it was through a good tube amp i have. I later did my first re-fret on that guitar and it has become a "mule" or crash test dummy for any guitar jobs i am learning to do.:bubba
    #24
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  5. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    You'd be surprised how often we find stashes of cash when clearing out estates. That real estate agent I mentioned earlier is scupulously honest. He recently found two boxes full of cash when clearing an apartment. He turned them both over to the estate's beneficiary, who was in poor health, and couldn't do the work of clearing out the apartment himself. The cash didn't amount to much, less than a thousand dollars in one dollar bills, but the beneficiary sure appreciated the honesty, as did I.

    After finding that cash, he was far more careful to open and search every box and container, from an apartment that was a hoarder's collection of "stuff."

    Usually, by the time someone dies, their children are already comfortably settled into careers, with a house full of stuff of their own, so their parents' old furniture and clothes and hobby items just aren't any use to the kids, and throwing it out is just a quick way to get the home on the market. Several times I've posted notice in the "free" section of craigslist that there are goodies to be found in the dumpsters at a certain address after a family throws out an entire houseful of stuff. I usually go by a couple days later and refill the dumpsters, since a lot of dumpster divers make a terrible mess. I'd rather clean up that mess than know that so much material is going to waste. I consider it my contribution to "reduce, reuse, recycle." I'm a true believer.
    #25
  6. Cowboy

    Cowboy Ceteris non Paribus

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    This is one of my favorite recent scores: I found this diamond saw in my neighbor's trash. It's much like a tile saw, with a tub of water underneath for cooling the blade. It has a vise mounted on tracks with an automatic feed, so you can use it to cut a rock into slices. There was nothing wrong with it, except that the particleboard it was mounted on was rotting. It even came with a working motor. I threw out the rotten board and mounted the saw on an old kitchen cabinet (another find from a neighbor's trash.) with the motor mounted underneath, so it has a smaller footprint in the shop. Mounting the motor underneath using a hinged platform allows the weight of the motor to tension the drive belt. I use it all the time. I would have happily paid a couple hundred dollars for one like it. Free is even better!

    [​IMG]
    #26
  7. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    A few years ago, a neighbor across the street moved out and tossed a ton of stuff. It was all disorganized, but as I was going through it and grabbing tons of good stuff, I was organizing and piling things together and bagging them as I went. I came back from work the next day and people just ripped the bags open and spread it all over their yard, with paperwork and junk blowing down the street. Idiots..
    #27
  8. chazbird

    chazbird Long timer

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    Visited friends in Tokyo during '89 when the economy was white-hot. Every Wednesday people would leave the "heavy" trash out, furniture, stereo's, kitchen items, appliances, clothes, most of it a model year of one year or so before. They decorated and furnished the entirety of their apartment with really nice things. One Wednesday night we went out, they just wanted to show me, no interest on their part as they were all set. Good stuff indeed. Nice bicycle - "no we already have those". Same with a Sony TV. Found a top line Luxman amp, pre-amp and tuner. They didn't want that either: "too big". I don't think those Tokyo Wednesday night bonanza's happen anymore.
    #28
  9. sparkingdogg

    sparkingdogg Prisoner In Disguise

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    Very well said, I couldn't agree more! :clap
    #29
  10. muddywater

    muddywater Long timer

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    I work in retirement communities. On trash day in the early spring, every few driveways you will see lawn equipment in the pickup piles.

    As mowing season begins, anything that doesn't start gets tossed.

    Pushmowers, line trimmers, and leafblowers are the most common...bad gas/fuel system issues.

    I've also found a wheelbarrow with a flat tire and even a nice Stihl polesaw.

    I'll fix most of it to keep if I need it, or give it away...a lot of it is big box store stuff, but some is high quality. My neighbor loves the Honda pushmower I traded him for a stack of metal fence post a few years back.
    #30
  11. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    I lost count of how many lawn appliances I've pulled out of the trash, fixed, and sold.. or didn't fix and still sell. Same with my brother. I'd say between us, maybe 50 push mowers, 20 riders, 20 trimmers, 30 chainsaws..

    Allllllmost all were cracked fuel lines/primer bulbs, dirty carbs, or a bad ignition coil.. 5 minutes of work and good as new. Hell, some were just dull blades.

    People have more money than sense.
    #31
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  12. TacocaT

    TacocaT Been here awhile

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    Started my diving career early on building tree houses out of construction dumpster wood. In college i had my glory days. A nearby private college was popular with Asian especially Japanese students. At the end of each semester all the graduates went back to the motherland and put their entire apartments on the curb. Pretty much my entire college apartment minus my mattress was salvaged. Moved on to walking my dog in the alleys of Denver for skis and kitchen appliances.

    Had a buddy recently deceased who was a garbage man. He had a continuous yard sale every weekend all summer long of stuff pulled from his route. Said it paid his food and beer for the year. Also gave dozens of bikes to needy kids
    #32
  13. bandito2

    bandito2 Been here awhile

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    I learned dumpster diving from my dad. He used to bring all kinds of oddities home much to my mother's dismay because regrettably quite a bit of it really was junk; like plastic display racks and such. Their house at the time of my dad's death had approached that of the sort you see on the "hoarders" TV show. A lot of the stuff went into a resale store my parents ran for a time but was kept at home or in storage rental spaces for years and years after they quit the business. Some is being removed a little at a time by my brothers and sisters without my mother's knowledge... she keeps wanting to hang onto that old junk as she gets more weak minded in her old age... kind of sad really. It was embarrassing with all that mess growing up; and yes there were many many "freegan" meals served at home during those years... I vowed to myself to never get like that.

    But like my dad, I've found some pretty cool stuff but I only pick up stuff that I can use myself, give away or sell. Had a motor carrier paper route in Ann Arbor Michigan around the U of M campus years ago and when the students left for the year, houses, dorms and apartments would be cleared out of tons of good, often lightly used stuff. I think for a while some groups would collect stuff to donate to charities like the Salvation Army and/or local charities for the homeless. (though a lot of those folks would make the rounds and help themselves) Of course the students would have lots of beer parties so there was an almost continuous supply of bottles and cans for deposit refunds. Kept tabs one year of all that I cashed in and it came to something near $1300 which paid for a lot of the gas I used while driving my route. Clothed myself with a lot of the latest fashions for freeThose are bygone days now.

    These days, I scan the storage rental space where I keep stuff and some of my bikes since there is not enough room in the garage at home. Lots of the finds there I have sold at the yearly neighborhood garage sales... and some stuff I have kept. Some of my finds are bicycles/tricycles, misc. toys, rice cooker, vintage classical guitar, coolers, DVD players, DVD movies, radios, clocks, vases, punch bowl set, hunting knife, loads of drawing templates, notebook and drawing paper, mechanical pencils and art pencils, older model digital camera, Apple Ipad, 4 working Motorola hand held radios and chargers; 3 of them with remote microphone/speakers, lots of loose change, a nearly new window A/C unit, meat smoker, misc. hand tools, fans, several bottles of unopened liquor, wine and beer, guitar cases, nice medium size pet carrier, plastic storage bins, bunches of clothing (keeping only those in my size) but very few bits of jewelry though. And through all of my episodes, I always clean up after my sessions (and am dismayed by the mess others leave) I've never been injured doing it nor bitten by the raccoons I have rescued (several times) from being trapped in dumpsters so that I could have my turn in there. And happily never finding any dead bodies either.
    #33
  14. squish

    squish Out of the office.

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    So
    California v. Greenwood, isn't so much about picking as it is the expectation of privacy,
    In many places once something is placed into a trash can owned by that entity, it becomes their property. This is especially true for recyclables.
    In may munis scavenging is prohibited by law, and folks support these laws because of privacy concerns and messes left behind by the scavengers
    So folks are quick to call the cops.

    Around here, people just leave stuff curbside the cans

    Good places to look for amazing finds, if you live near a university town, it's amazing what the kids throw out at the end of the school year.
    Bicycles, tv's, stereos, clothes, gaming consoles, text books, kitchen stuff, furniture the list is endless.
    #34
  15. Tmaximusv

    Tmaximusv Long timer

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    Textbooks!!! Those things are like gold. You can flog them on half.ebay.com for near gold prices. Think about it: most college textbooks go for upwards of $250 new and if you put $50 on it, that's pure profit if you scavenged it.
    #35
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  16. 9mm

    9mm Been here awhile

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    As a teen dumpster diving was a hobby. How else was I going to get the Playboys and Penthouses. If is was not under mom and dad's mattress it was in the dumpster.

    My first "real" motorcycle helmet came from a dumpster. I had is sanded, taped, and rattle can sprayed red, white, and blue in not time.
    #36
  17. MikeFromMT

    MikeFromMT Dark Web Dangerous

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    I used to dive at a facility that made hardware fasteners, the kind that come in the small square packs, one time I found an entire display of fasteners, the pegboard loops and about 1,000 packs of screws, nuts, bolts, wall anchors etc, must have weighed at least one hundred pounds, I've still got some. We also had an electronics retailer distribution center on our "route" similar to Best Buy, we got a shit load of car stereos, speakers, amps etc.
    We used to dive at the local Pizza joint too, they'd make a bunch of "personal pizzas" for the bar rush, but would usually have about a dozen left over, they'd be boxed up in a plastic bag and placed in the dumpster at about 1am, free pizza!
    #37
  18. boardrider247

    boardrider247 Weekend Anarchist

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    #38