Dumpster diving without the dumpster

Maybe you’ve heard of dumpster diving. If you haven’t, here’s the definition from Wikipedia:

dumpster divingDumpster diving is the salvaging of waste in large commercial, residential, industrial and construction containers to find items that have been discarded by their owners, but that may prove useful to the picker. It is not confined to dumpsters specifically, and may cover standard household waste containers, curb sides, landfills or small dumps.

Depending on how you look at things, dumpster diving might sound like fun or it might sound gross. Some say it can be profitable. I don’t know about that but I do know that dumpster diving can save money if you find something useful that’s also free. I guess dumpster diving is popular too; Amazon sells at least a dozen books on the subject of dumpster diving. I know, hard to believe… Some people will take food from dumpsters, but I’m not quite ready to go “there” just yet. I’m mainly interested in discarded stuff I can use myself or maybe sell.

Downsides to dumpster diving

Dumpster diving can be fun, maybe even profitable. It might get you arrested if you do it in the wrong place. If you dumpster dive in an urban area you could be competing with homeless people who might not be friendly (or non-violent). Maybe it’s just cold and snowy outside. Whatever, traditional dumpster driving might not be something that’s your thing. But all that free treasure…

Dumpster diving without the dumpster

You know what? You can dumpster dive without ever touching a dumpster. It’s called craigslist. All you have to do is go to your local craigslist site (for example fresno.craigslist.org), go to the “for sale” block near the middle of the page, and click on free. Most of the stuff you’ll find is junk (just like real dumpster diving) but if you’re patient you can find some really useful or even valuable stuff. Like what?

In the past week on my local craigslist I’ve foundĀ  a stackable washer/dryer set (working), brass door hinges, wood pallets, hay bales (great for garden mulch or “green manure”), tin cans (useful for lots of things), and a 65″ projection TV (the TV is useless but not the fresnel lens in it). I’ve even seen free pianos and free haircuts (from a cosmetology school).