I love to dumpster dive and not just the outside, but also picking around inside the big green monster, poking around with a stick and grabbing what appeals to me. Over time I have picked up dressers, sofas, recliners, table and chairs, drill bits, ladder, side-tables, lamps, housewares, clothing and toys to name only a few. Of course if you prefer the curb crawling only, that is fine as well.

And if you are new to all of this curb picking and garbage treasure hunting and unsure where to start. Here are some rules that I live by:

  1. Leave the place looking better than when you found it
  2. NEVER take anything that can cause an identity to be stolen. If you found something, rip it up into tiny pieces.
  3. Dress the part. Wear grubby clothes, solid shoes or boots, gloves and a flashlight are good and bring a poking stick.
  4. Make sure you have appropriate transportation. It is hard to bring home the rocking chair on a bicycle.
  5. If you are handy with fixing stuff, bring it home. If not, leave it there as it will probably just clutter your place up.
  6. Check for water damage on furniture.
  7. Have a place in mind for the item. Don't bring stuff home thinking you might use it.
  8. Stop by immediately if you see something of interest. Don't wait, it will be gone. I have learned many a lesson on this
  9. Don't dive in business areas during business hours. Even though it may be legal in your area, it makes the business look bad and they may call the cops just to scare you off.
  10. If you happen to meet up with another diver, be kind. It isn't anyone's territory as you both may be looking for different things.
  11. Dumpster diving is only limited by you. Some are ok with diving for food and others are not.


  1. Bryan White // Friday, December 26, 2008 4:20:00 AM  

    I don't think I could bring myself to dumpster dive, but in Australia we have 'hard rubbish day' where people chuck out some interesting objects. It's stuff that wont fit in normal rubbish bins and it's all fair game, not sure if you have the same thing over there?

  2. ~Dawn C // Friday, December 26, 2008 11:19:00 AM  

    That is called 'curb crawling' in our area- people put the large items or items they think others would like outside the trash bin for people to grab.

  3. na0 // Sunday, December 28, 2008 3:23:00 PM  

    i can only dumpster dive while my boyfriend is not looking.
    he gets REALLY embarrassed by it.
    but i've gotten a lot of good stuff to furnish my apartment with out of dumpsters.

  4. Anonymous // Wednesday, December 31, 2008 1:39:00 AM  

    I've done a little salvaging, but there are some places that throw out solid, excellent stuff. My friend in a nice Hollywood suburb (Los Feliz) picked up an functional, solid wood lacquered futon, clean and proper. Used, but damn near perfect.

    Recycling and re-purposing is fantastic, and isn't for bums.

  5. Anonymous // Wednesday, December 31, 2008 10:47:00 AM  

    Where are usually good places to dumpster dive? like outside of stores?

  6. ~Dawn C // Wednesday, December 31, 2008 11:33:00 AM  

    I find the best places to scavenge is around apartment complex and near university housing. Then retail stores, but many of their dumpster are locked up.. so that is hit and miss

  7. Anonymous // Sunday, January 11, 2009 1:12:00 PM  

    Another idea is if you live near a military base. Quite often personnel have to transfer quickly and don't always have time or inclination to pack up bigger items and they will leave them at the curb. I have gotten entertainment centers, good/decent furniture of all kinds, fans, radios, etc. The base near me only allows items to be placed one day of the week.

    Also, when diving together always remember that if your hand ain't on it, it ain't yours ;)

  8. na0 // Wednesday, January 21, 2009 2:21:00 PM  


    just a note to let you know that i recently added this article to my blog love roundup.


    thank you for all of your great tips! i look forward to reading so many more. :)

  9. Anonymous // Wednesday, January 19, 2011 9:20:00 AM  

    A good time to visit apt. complexes is the last day of the month when people are moving out, or the unit is being cleaned. Also, keep a small stool in your car in case you need to get into the dumpster, and have a "snatcher" to grab items you can't reach.