Saturday, May 2, 2009

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

I think I could be a poster child for dumpster diving. Take a look around my house and you'll see a number of items from the "Curbside Collection," among them:

  • weight bench
  • computer desk
  • floor lamp
    (we had another just like it!)
  • 6' bookshelf
  • kids' dresser
    (where I store my tools)
  • 4-piece patio set
    (on our front porch)
  • 5-piece patio set
    (in our backyard)
  • wooden barrel planters
  • shoe cubby
  • closet shelving
  • card tables
  • patio umbrella
Mostly, these items were found in good condition, needing just a little work, if any. Some duct tape here, some sandpaper there (or, in the case of our patio set, a few cans of spray paint), and you'd barely be able to tell these furnishings apart from their bought-new counterparts. Several were found while trolling the side streets of Chicago's northwest suburbs (Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect) during "unlimited trash pickup" days. But these bargain buffets were first-come, first-served, and the competition was fierce; even my mom would roll through stop signs to beat out the other freecyclers and salvage trucks.

Just goes to show, so many people throw away/replace perfectly good stuff. I've said to Nicole how it'd be nice to quit my job and cruise the streets in search of big-ticket items to refurbish and sell on craigslist...but unfortunately, that wouldn't pay the bills as well as the 9-to-5 does. For now, it's just one of my crazy schemes. Then again, now that the weather's warmer and people are doing their spring cleaning, you can bet I'll be keeping an eye out. After all, you can't beat free! (Linked with Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways)


  1. Looks like a nice patio set and a good place to have a Cinco De Mayo celebration. ;)

    There is a senior asian lady in my apartment complex who cruises the dumpsters everyday. She must be looking for pirates booty or something since I never see her carrying any treasure.

    Selling refurbished ideas is a great idea for supplemental income for now.

    Good job!

  2. PS.
    I have a set of 4 nice bar stools that someone left sitting out in front of the dumpsters. Thanks to whomever left them.