why dumpster find of the week?

I posted the first “dumpster find of the week” blog in March of last year. What started as a post to show off a mother load of old wooden boxes that we had found (that I later turned into Frankenshed) became the (almost) weekly series that you know, and maybe even love.

But why bother? Why parade random objects before your eyes on a weekly basis? I’ve never stopped to explain the whys and wherefores, and I thought, well, no time like the present. With all this parading of objects, it seemed like it might be easy to get the wrong idea, the idea that this whole dumpster diving thing is more about materialism than anything else. And it is about objects in so far as dumpsters are full of objects that can help you out. But! Lo! It is so much more.

I show you pictures of dumpster dived objects every week because I want you to know what it is possible to find in the trash. I want you—whoever you are, however you live, and whatever you do with your time—to know that almost everything you need can be obtained without money. I want you to know that the silver lining to the dark cloud of living in an incredibly wasteful time and place is that you can feed yourself, clothe yourself, and shelter yourself by dumpster diving and scavenging, that even if society has disowned you or pushed you right over the edge you can live like a queen on the scraps.

I want you to know that you could work less if you satisfied some of your material needs and desires through objects scavenged rather than purchased. And I really, really want everyone to know that dumpster diving and trash picking are nothing to ever be ashamed about or embarassed of. Don’t wrinkle your nose at the lady rooting through the trash. That lady is you in another set of circumstances.

One of my favorite quotes on the subject of dumpster diving comes from the CrimethInc book Recipes for Disaster. “Burdens lift and scarcity is averted when the mountains of trash produced by this insane society become supplies and sustenance. Everything that sucks about capitalism is inverted when the dumpster diver scores. Poverty becomes abundance. Loss becomes gain. Despair becomes hope.” Glory glory hallelujah.

Photo © T. Holste

0 Comments on “why dumpster find of the week?

  1. I live in a small town in Southwest Missouri. I am trying to not buy much of anything new. I yard sale and go to thrift shops all the time. I don’t dumpster dive here because there is not much to find. But, when I lived in Columbia, MO I would drive around and pick up the college students discarded household goods when they had to move back to their home countries, etc. So, I’m all about not buying new! I outfitted my oldest daughter with enough clothes for her first 18 months from yard sales before she was even born. I would bring in bags of clothes, and my hubby would sigh and act like I was spending too much money…lol. He apologized the first time that we had to go buy her a new outfit from a big box store. He realized that I was bringing 3 or 4 bags worth of perfectly good baby clothes home for the price of one new outfit. Yay! It was a defining moment in our relationship, and he puts up with my thrifting now, and I’ve converted him also. I can’t wait to hear about your meeting with Lloyd Kahn! I think he is pretty awesome too. Patty Squirell

  2. Hey Patty! Way to go on your thrifty-ness! Haha, it is really insane how much baby clothes cost new isn’t it?!! I’ve been loving getting them all second hand myself. The last time we were in the States, I dragged the Beard into every thrift store in every town we stopped in. Haha. Luckily he likes that sort of thing too, and every Saturday morning we take a stroll through the fleamarket down the street.

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  4. We call it “The Junk Pile Mentality.” When our (6) kids were young, we lived in a rural area and about 1/4 mile from our house, a neighbor had a weird pile on the back of their property where they would throw all kinds of good stuff and our kids would drag it home. Great fun, AND some great finds! I remember once they came home with 2 home crocheted afghans. We used those for years! And one time there was a purse with some coins in it. Can you imagine how thrilled they were? So… now they are all gone, but I am still always on the lookout for free/cheap stuff. Just today – I’ve been FREEZING at Church the last few weeks, and shawls and sweaters weren’t cutting it. I went to our local Goodwill store. I spent $32 (gasp!) But for that, I got a beautiful, fully lined skirt (NWT), 4 coordinating tops, a warm blazer to go with it AND a Christmas sweater (NWT!!!) So, I thought I had spend my money well. I’ll have many ways to switch all of that around and the blazer will keep me very warm. The tag on the skirt said the price was originally $32. Not bad!

    I walk for exercise and I pick up odd bits that I find on the road. Like the chain and the rusty metal hook I use to hang a thermometer in my cheese making pot came from the road. lol

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  9. there is absolutely nothing wrong with digin in trash. the lap top im using to post this was found in a dumpster near my place. it needed a new power cord. ($25 US) so for 25 dollars i have a working computer found in a dumpster. cheers!

  10. It’s exactly why I do it too and show off my finds on my blog. I’m absolutely thrilled I found you today!

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