true story

Dumpster Diving Stories

This is the land of a thousand words
But it seems so few are worth the breath to say
Except I'll be looking after my own world
And you just keep on saving the day

Today at my new church I heard a speaker

You've probably heard that the saying is Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Most people don't do a lot of anything except that last one. And I'm thankful to be living in a city that actually does the last one pretty well! But I'm on a mission to try some of the other two more often in my life.

I started dumpster diving while Paul and I were dating and he lived in a condo in a nice family-oriented part of town. People would leave very nice stuff beside the giant garbage bin, since the city wouldn't pick up the garbage if they put it inside the bin, making it easy to dive for. Three things I rescued that first summer of dumpster diving. Free stuff pretty much can't be beat, particularly when there's NOTHING whatsoever wrong with it.

Glass Table Top, absolutely perfect, not even any scratches: $90 new.
Large purple inflatable exercise ball, doesn't even leak quickly: $17 new. Got the pump from a friend who didn't need it anymore, also free.
Perambulator-style metal 2-tier plant stand: $60 or so new.

Our current building is a dumpster diver's dream. Beautiful and nearly fully functional furniture, Ikea products especially, piles up in a 20x20 foot square space in the parkade by the dumpsters. I hadn't found anything fully to my taste yet, with the exception of cardboard boxes, but today that changed. I went down for cardboard boxes to help me in my quest to tame the 6 months worth of filing I have to do. By the time I do it, it may be 7 or 8 months, but at least I'm starting the battle with some slight organization.

Almost as soon as I rounded the corner I found the first thing - a light blue plastic shelf box from Ikea (lekman is the name) that fits our tall, square-sectioned Ikea cabinet - with just one tiny piece chipped out, otherwise nothing wrong with it, worth $10.

I rounded the corner and ducked under the danger tape to check out what was floating around the neighborhood freecycle area. The first thing I saw was a clean, probably barely used Family Size George Foreman grill, with the little tray beside it: worth $45, and great for cooking when guests are coming. Then I rounded the corner and saw something else I wanted. I spent about 5 minutes testing things about it, and then came back upstairs, thinking I'd talk to Paul about it, but then I reconsidered - it had wheels, and I might as well talk to him about it up here.

So I just toted a beast up the elevator: a rolling kitchen island with a half marble, half wooden top that requires some cleaning, sanding and maybe a coat of stain, screws, a wooden handle, and glue - maybe two, three hours of work, maybe a little more. Probably worth $250-300 or more? It's a nice one. All the drawers and bottom wheels roll nicely, there's almost no damage - honestly the biggest problem is that it's dirty.

So total value of my dumpster diving so far, with current new prices? $472. So basically, I have dumspter-dived half a grand of great stuff, and there's always more coming.

Time to reuse. =)