The apartment complex where I live have some dumpsters that rival almost any college dumpster. You can find some pretty nifty things once in while. One year I'd been needing a dresser and had been looking for a decent one for some time, but it hadn't been a priority. When this one was spotted, it was decided to take it home (along with 17 pennies that dropped out) and paint over it.
The Learning experience
We had a sander that we used to clean off the spilled, stuck on stuff and make the top more even. Eventually we decided to sand the whole thing and just stain the wood again. But after getting 90% done, we realized the wood didn’t match real well and went back to our original idea to paint it. That was a frustrating and the most expensive part of the learning experience.
We picked up a mis-colored gallon of paint and got the clerk to give us the color we wanted, for no extra charge, and we also picked up a cheap base paint, along with cheap brushes.
We picked up some wooden knobs, since I didn't like the door hanger look it previously had. All in all, the free Dresser took 66.58 to paint and fix up, plus labor.
I may have been able to pick up one at a garage sale, but then I might have had to buy the paint and such to fix it up anyway.