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#1 of 31 Old 11-29-2009, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone shop at D-Mart?

My dh and I have been practicing "aggressive recycling" for almost a year now, and we find incredible things on a regular basis.

There are certain things I never buy anymore: pet food, cat litter, all sorts of pet tanks and cages, soap, toothpaste, many craft supplies like paint and glue and beads, yarn, oranges, onions, apples, candy, expensive gourmet non perishable foods like nut mixes, cookie mixes, juices and sodas, flower bouquets and potted plants, snack foods, pet toys, clothes hangers, bags of flour, almost every big "as seen on TV" buying craze, seasonal decorations and tchotckes from places like Michael's and Hobby Lobby and Pier One, Xmas lights and ornaments, Halloween costumes, picture frames, magazines, cards, candles...

Well, truth be told I hardly buy anything anymore (lol) but these are things I can count on finding with such regularity I have a lot already and I've already passed them out in abundance to everyone I know. Some nights we go dumpstering and straight to the donation box before we even come home.

But, if I am running low on, say, pet food, I know I can just make a quick trip out behind the pet store and choose from several bags with small tears in them.

It's a very rewarding and fun hobby. We never started it with the intent to save money, we started to "rescue" perfectly usable items from going to the landfill. Many of the things we find we share with friends or donate to goodwill. However, the biggest shock to me is how much $ we have saved and how almost anything you could need is out there in a dumpster and in perfectly good condition RIGHT NOW, just waiting for you.

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#2 of 31 Old 11-29-2009, 10:01 AM
 
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My mom and I were all ready to start the adventure of dumpster diving on our weekly get together time, but sadly, every time we went to look in a dumpster, we found that all the stores had big trash compactors instead of dumpsters. It's weird. Maybe it's just the stores in this area. I would love to find some good free stuff. I wish I had dumpsters like yours.
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#3 of 31 Old 11-29-2009, 10:14 AM
 
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I don't see dumpsters around here either, but we used to be able to find some nice things around our apartment dumpsters in the last place we lived.
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#4 of 31 Old 11-29-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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Do you live in an urban area? Do you go under cover of night? Do you actually get into the dumpster? Has anyone ever stopped you?

I used to do "curbside shopping" all the time when I lived closer to a major university. It was shocking what kids would throw out when they moved -- perfectly good kitchen supplies (bowls, utensils, etc.) and brand-name clothing (Gap, Abercrombie, etc.). I even found a jar of change once!

But now we're in a ritzier part of town and I haven't had much luck trash-picking (though I did get our dining room light fixture that way).

Formerly New Mama to Henry, born August 2005 and Silas, born November 2010.
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#5 of 31 Old 11-29-2009, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Big huge stores have compactors, yes. Don't bother with K Mart, Target, Wal Mart, Toys R Us, and big grocery stores.

The stores that don't have compactors are medium-sized ones like Borders, Barnes and Noble, Dollar Tree, Aldi's, PetCo, Pier One, Michael's, AC Moore, PetSmart, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Ollies, Big Lots... the stores you tend to find in strip malls.

Smaller, locally owned stores tend to not have dumpsters at all. so, you definitely want to check out the medium sized stores. Some do, however - I love dumpstering at our locally owned homeschooling store. I homeschool my dd, and we get some cool stuff from there.

I do live in a small city with a large suburban area surrounding it. But, I've dumpstered in every city I've visited in the last year from big huge cities to tiny one horse towns. In general, I think suburban strip malls seem to be the most rewarding.

We used to exclusively go at night, now we like to go either at night or early Sunday morning before the stores open. However, if life takes me to an area where there is a strip mall during the day, I look and get what I can. Night time isn't really only because we are trying to stay hidden, but for the practical fact that most businesses toss out their trash at the end of the work day.

I read somewhere that "dumpster diving" is an inaccurate term because it makes it sound too physical and "dumpster fishing" is a better term for it. Sometimes, if a dumpster is really full of great stuff or something really great is at the bottom I will jump in. Most of the time I just lean in and use my hands and a "grabber".

We've been "caught" a few times but never told to leave. I expect it will happen, and then we will just leave. Anytime we've been caught it's been fine, people have asked what we were doing and we've shown them what we've found and the reaction is usually, "COOL!".

If you leave the area cleaner than you found it, I don't think most businesses care too much. We clean up around the dumpster, throw cardboard from the trash dumpster into the recycling one, and try not to be a nuisance.

Once some teenagers saw us and harrassed us from far away, yelling rude things, but that was the only experience of that type.

Once we got pulled over by the police with a car full of dumpstered stuff (this was a night I went with a group of friends, it was 2am and her headlight was out). The officer shined his light in her SUV full of assorted stuff and asked what it was. She told him we were dumpster diving and he took a second look and said, "really? cool!". (He didn't even give her a ticket for the light, just a warning! )

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#6 of 31 Old 11-29-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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We DD on some regualrity, although we haven't done our "commercail" route in over a year, we do still hit residential dumpsters weekly.

We use to do stores, still have lots of useful items we are using today that we pulled from store dumpster.
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#7 of 31 Old 11-29-2009, 02:42 PM
 
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I used to look down on that but then I got over it when I saw what cool things others can find. But hubby would never appreciate it because that's what his ex does and we won't go into what he thinks of her. My stepkids will sometimes show us the neat things she finds for them. Heaven help me if I ever tried it and my daughter found out. She bought a new and expensive crib for her second baby but the little darling is putting teeth marks on the railing since she's been able to pull herself up. My dd was wondering what to put on the railing to prevent that and I suggested tying towels or something around it. She laughed and told me that was ghetto. She had in mind some nice store bought or made cover up that would be pretty and match the crib sheets. Nothing wrong with that but I don't think there was anything wrong with my suggestion either. Either way its only temporary and would do the job especially because dd doesn't have alot of extra money lying around.
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#8 of 31 Old 11-29-2009, 10:58 PM
 
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I was doing it a lot this past summer, but haven't been in quite a while. I do need to go DD some kitty food soon though. I absolutely could not believe what I was finding out there for pet food. That was the most unbelievable finds for me.

Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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#9 of 31 Old 11-30-2009, 01:13 AM
 
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Thought I would chime back in, as I just finished packaging up some books I sold on Half.com this weekend..... $84 for 2 books, that were brand new college books found in a nice reuseable bag (new grocery store bag for me) in a residential dumpster a few blocks away.
Person who thru them away, was a teacher and books were provided at some summer conference they went too according to the additional literature in the bag..

Brand new, now my bank account is $84 richer for maybe 5 minutes of work in listing and packaging these books.




** I just finished listing another 35+ books on Half tonight as well, they too were all pulled from neighborhood residential dumpster a few hours ago.
We found maybe 125 books in total, most were not selling over $1, so those go directly to goodwill tomorrow morning and kept maybe 10 ourselves.
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#10 of 31 Old 11-30-2009, 08:19 AM
 
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Yup, everytime I go to the landfill I'm pulling things out of the dumpsters. It bugs me to no end the things that some people throw out. Even if I can't use it I take it and sell it or give it away on freecycle or craigslist. I want to go around to the strip malls but I can't get anyone to go with me. My husband will pull things out at the landfill with me (and for me, when he's alone) but he's afraid we'll get in trouble at the strip malls. I think I'll bring it up again (it's been awhile) and see what he says.

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#11 of 31 Old 11-30-2009, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The main thing we are finding a lot of this time of year are christmas lights. Perfectly working christmas lights because the stores are switching to led for their window displays. I want to scream at them - "it's not green if you throw away something that already works perfectly well!".

The saddest find lately - you know how certain craft stores collect knitted squares to assemble into blankets for the needy? We found the box of knitted squares in their dumpster.

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#12 of 31 Old 12-01-2009, 02:28 AM
 
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The saddest find lately - you know how certain craft stores collect knitted squares to assemble into blankets for the needy? We found the box of knitted squares in their dumpster.
Ugh! That disgusts me.
I think I would have to call them out on that one.

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#13 of 31 Old 12-01-2009, 10:45 PM
 
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I'm fascinated. Is there a "how to" on dumpster diving?
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#14 of 31 Old 12-01-2009, 10:55 PM
 
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does anyone know the legalities of doing this in california? i have never done it for fear of being "busted" but know there are some great finds out there.

i go out about once a month "alley skimming" where i drive up and down all the alleys to see what i can find, but i'm too chicken to try the dumpsters
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#15 of 31 Old 12-02-2009, 03:36 AM
 
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does anyone know the legalities of doing this in california? i have never done it for fear of being "busted" but know there are some great finds out there.
It's most likely a local ordinance sort of thing. You could always anonymously call your police department's general (non-emergency number) and ask. I have done that.

Oh, and also there are lots of good websites found very quickly through googling, and many include tips on the legalities aspect.

Anyway, I have not had good luck. I live in an urban area and all the non-compactor dumpsters are locked, as far as I have found. This includes stores of all sizes and varieties. Urgh.

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#16 of 31 Old 12-02-2009, 03:50 AM
 
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My friend just informed me that my local Randalls throws away all their (packaged) bakery stuff every day (doesn't discount them at all) and asked if I'd go dumpstering with her. She thought I'd say no. My only bet is that they have a compacter. I'll have to check.

When I worked at Michael's, I HATED that we had a compacter. We threw away such awesome stuff!! I am betting most of the stores in our strip malls do, but I'm going to have to check. I would really like to start doing this.

I'm Kellie :, married to Chris , and mom to one baby girl (7/12/09).
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#17 of 31 Old 12-02-2009, 01:37 PM
 
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does anyone know the legalities of doing this in california? i have never done it for fear of being "busted" but know there are some great finds out there.
It varies by city, you would have to look up the code in your area.

Denver ... It's illegal to sell food that have been dumpster dived. That's it. However, if you are on private property, you could be cited for tresspassing, but we've never had issues with that.

Englewood ... is a small suburb adjactent to Denver, there it is totally illegal to take anything from the alley's or dumpsters. It technically all belongs to the waste management company if it's in a trash can/ dumpster.

You all can also check out dumpsterworld.com --- it's a forum board, but they are not very "friendly" to new people, but you can read a lot of past posts, etc.


From my last post on this thread, we've sold another 3 books on Half.com that were pulled from a residentail dumpster on Monday. That's another $53 dollars in my pocket and all we did was find the books and list them and will get them mailed off today.
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#18 of 31 Old 12-02-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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My dh used to work for a retailer that shared a dumpster and compactor with a Cost Plus. We would score all sorts of furniture and decoration pieces. We'd fix up whatever was wrong with the furniture and sell it on Craigslist or keep it if it was something we needed. We have a really nice hall table in our entry way that dh sanded the finish off of and refinished and our dresser just needed knobs!

We drive by those dumpsters everyonce in a while, but never see anything good anymore.

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#19 of 31 Old 12-02-2009, 10:36 PM
 
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When I lived in Baltimore, I would go dumpster picking at Panera Bread after closing. I got all sorts of bagels, loaves of bread, pastries, etc.

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#20 of 31 Old 12-03-2009, 06:53 AM
 
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i always think of bagel dumpsters as the "gateway drug" to dumpster diving in full force. bagel dumpsters are usually so neat and clean, the bagels are usually tied in a bag with only other bagels... i have even dumpster dived (dumpster dove?) at bagel places that sorted their bagel trash into vegan and non-vegan bagels. clearly they knew those bagels were being rescued. and once you see how easy it is to dumpster bagels, everything else seems possible. next thing you know, you are trying to climb a fence because there's a perfectly good looking bicycle destined for a dumpster inside a fenced trash area. have you ever tried to haul a bicycle over a fence!? well, it's possible... all because of bagel dumpsters.
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#21 of 31 Old 12-03-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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I too am fascinated. I must also admit that the thought has crossed my mind a number of times in the last few months to try this. I think this thread just might be the inspiration I need to find a 'diving' buddy!

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#22 of 31 Old 01-19-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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This is a great thread! Thanks so much for all of the useful information. I am determined to give it another try. I used to dumpster dive when I was in high school--- the Goodwills in our area throw away TONS of fun stuff, and I used to get all my magazines from the Barnes and Noble dumpster. Now, however, Goodwill uses a compactor, and the Barnes and Noble dumpster is locked. Boo! After reading this, though, I'm inspired to check around at some of the pet stores and craft stores, and see what I can find. My ultimate diving goal would be to get some good food, but all the major grocery stores around here compact, and our food co-op composts and gives its extras to employees (yay for them!). I need to find a friend to go with me, because DP is not interested. We do stop for stuff on the side of the road, though! I have sold many an item on ebay that came from a trash pile -- for example, I sold some vintage bakelit christmas lights (they still worked and were in their original box...1930's I think) for about $90! Amazing.

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#23 of 31 Old 01-19-2010, 11:47 PM
 
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I haven't been dumpster diving, but I've picked things up from the curb many times. I'm inspired to give it a shot though! I even have a friend who would probably be up for a dumpster-diving-night-on-the-town.

I did rescue about 40 loaves of bread that the bread guy dumped in OUR dumpster at work the other day. I gave out most of it to the other employees at work, but I brought home about 6 loaves.

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#24 of 31 Old 01-20-2010, 03:47 AM
 
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I too am fascinated. I must also admit that the thought has crossed my mind a number of times in the last few months to try this. I think this thread just might be the inspiration I need to find a 'diving' buddy!
x2 I have one target area within walking distance that I should check out when DX takes the babe... if a buddy with a vehicle wants in, there are a ton of places within 3 miles that we could hit up!
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#25 of 31 Old 01-20-2010, 04:50 AM
 
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I miss dumpster diving.

It's just too hard to get out with a buddy late enough at night. Plus, I'm pregnant, and I need my abdomen a lot to hoist myself over the dumpster.

Weirdo Mama to amazing Aurelia, age 9 & Ember Roslyn, age 3!
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#26 of 31 Old 01-20-2010, 08:44 AM
 
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I need to get back out there as well. I haven't been since the end of the summer and feel guilty about not going for cat food. I can't afford to buy my cat food as good quality as I could get from the dumpster. I was seriously feeding him the absolute top of the line, and now have switched to the store brand. I might try to get back out again in the next week or so. I am cutting my hours way back at work, so will need to increase my frugality, so dumpster diving, here I come!

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#27 of 31 Old 01-20-2010, 10:16 AM
 
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How do you do this with kids? I can't get to many dumpsters without driving (the ones right behind our house at a strip mall are locked) and I always have the kids. I feel weird as a "newbie" as it is, I'm not comfortable taking my kids with me. Do you usually leave your kids at home? Do you always go with a buddy?

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#28 of 31 Old 01-20-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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How do you do this with kids? I can't get to many dumpsters without driving (the ones right behind our house at a strip mall are locked) and I always have the kids. I feel weird as a "newbie" as it is, I'm not comfortable taking my kids with me. Do you usually leave your kids at home? Do you always go with a buddy?
I would say definitely go with a buddy if you're feeling uncomfortable, or if you're in a strange area. Once you try it with someone else, you may feel better about it. I don't have kids (I am hoping for them though!!!) but my dad always took me dumpstering when I was a kid. We mostly got boxes and packing peanuts to use for shipping our home-based soap company's products out, but he was never shy about stopping on the side of the road to go through someone's trash-- and he has very rarely been hassled for it in the 30 years he's been doing it! Mostly people are supportive and interested, if they even notice at all.

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#29 of 31 Old 01-23-2010, 01:41 AM
 
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I haven't gone diving in probably 12 years but youve inspired me to start again. I still go what I call "trash picking" which means driving around wealthy neighborhoods on trash day to see if anything good is being thrown out.

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#30 of 31 Old 01-23-2010, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I usually go with a friend or my husband just because it's fun. Also, I don't drive, so... My husband goes alone frequently.

We've brought our daughter but she doesn't enjoy it much because it usually just means a couple hours of sitting in the car for her. She's 6. The few times we've taken her we've brought the car dvd player and gotten her snacks but she still complained the whole time. Also, she always wants to get out and help and it's such a "start and stop" kind of activity that redoing her seat belt after every dumpster became a real chore. She's 6. I've gone with friends kids that were older, in the 10-teen range, and it seems like they had more fun.

I found a new dumpster with lots of like-new furniture. It's an agency that runs group homes and when they redecorate (often) they throw everything away. I got this as a tip from a friend that works there.

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