Trash Pickin' Tutorial!

Good morning everyone!  I've had a few requests for tips on "trash pickin" or "dumpster diving" so here's my 101!


When are trash pickup days in your community?  For my area, it's Monday and Thursday, but just a mile down the road it's Tuesday and Friday. 

What time does the trash get picked up in each neighborhood?  I try to hit the early 7:30 pickups the night before.  All others I have timed and I hit the neighborhoods in time order.  I pick in some neighborhoods that pick up as late as 9:30 am.

What are the best days to trash pick?  For me, it's the first day after the weekend.  People clean their garages out on Saturday and Sunday and I usually find the best stuff then.  With that said, sometimes it's worthwhile to drive around Sunday evening to see if they've put a pile out on the curb.

Other hot spots - People that are moving will usually put piles out before they move.  Know which neighborhoods have a lot of homes for sale and visit them often.  These are also good night time or early morning drive-bys.

Be aware of houses with workers or saws, etc outside.  They may be remodeling or replacing floors.  You can score cabinets & trim or even a good piece of carpet that you can have bound for a rug.

Types of neighborhoods good for trash pickin - I've found that the really ritzy neighborhoods (with the $1M plus homes) are often NOT the best places to trash pick.  I guess they hold on to their stuff!  The best neighborhoods for me are the middle-of-the-road additions, nice but not shi-shi.

Times of the year great for trash pickin - Right after Christmas is a great time and as soon as the weather turns nice people start cleaning their patios and garages and get rid of stuff.

Things to look for - I really don't have a rule here, just anything that catches my eye.  I typically don't dig through people's garbage cans.  I just look for things that are placed out on the curb.  I usually grab and run, instead of inspecting.  If I don't end up wanting it, I just put it back out with my trash.

Keep an open mind.  Accessories and furniture can be repaired and/or painted.  Upholstery can be cleaned.  Items can be repurposed.  My best finds are the things that people were too busy to fix!

DUMPSTER DIVING...Not for the faint of heart!

I haven't done much dumpster diving, but occasionally I'll look.  I know many people that have found great stuff in the dumpster.  Here are some tips if you are brave enough!

Attire - Wear sturdy waterproof gloves, a long sleeve shirt and pants, and closed toe ratty tennis shoes.   You could get dirty!  Bring hand sanitizer!!

Time to Go - Late at night is usually best for business dumpsters but anytime is good for apartment dumpsters.  Don't forget a flashlight if you are going at night!

Bring a friend - It's fun and you want a buddy for safety reasons.

Bring large trashbags or boxes for your finds

Bring something you can hook and grab things out of the dumpster with - a stretched out hanger with the handle as a "hook" works well.  A garden hoe works too.

So have I converted anyone to trash pickin?  Happy hunting!



Aimee said...

Very interesting and great tips. Have not converted me yet but at least if I ever decide to I know where to look :)

Kim said...

Wow. I don't know if I'd make a special trip, but you-go-girl :)

diana said...

i actually have done trash pickin and found a dining room chair i painted black and found some fabric that made a whole different outlook on trash pickin, but not dumpsters not that brave !!

Corie Drane said...

This is interesting. I haven't done trash picking since we have services in our apartment here in NYC. But I think the garbage should be out before 5p.m. 'coz the truck will be picking it up at night. This is done twice a week. I think I'll try this cleaning technique and use the commercial products I got from the store yesterday. It's been ages since the last time I did an actual cleaning. LOL.

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