A Family that Dives Together…

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Hector Urquhart

I married a dumpster diver. There-I said it. I’ve been telling The Hubs this for years but this is the first time I’ve ever made this proclamation publicly. When he still had his pick-up truck I never knew what he was going to come home with. Once he found an old guitar in someone’s trash. He couldn’t leave it there to be crushed by the trash truck so he picked it out and brought it home. We still have it. It only has 3 strings and no one in the house plays but that doesn’t matter. This guitar just HAD to have a new home so now it lives in mine.

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The true reason I’m making this public now is that, after almost 35 years of marriage, he’s turned ME into a dumpster diver. While I’m not going to dig through anyone’s trash cans I’m not opposed to bringing something useful home that someone else has left at the curb to be disposed of. Case in point: last week I was on an early evening walk. These walks happen more frequently these days as it’s a wee bit cooler here in North GA at 7pm than it is at 5pm, which is when I usually walk right after work. In the interest of getting it done more quickly, I’ll usually walk in a neighboring subdivision rather than get in the car and drive to one of our nearby AWESOME parks, as the drive takes a little bit of time. Anyhow, during last week’s walk I came upon a home with a “For Sale” sign out front. Also out front was a kettle grill that appeared to be in pretty good shape. It also had a hand written sign attached that said, “FREE!” I called The Hubs to tell him about it, but, alas, got voice mail. I was afraid it wouldn’t still be there by the time I got home walking at my somewhat leisurely pace so I stepped it up a bit and high-tailed it home. As it turns out The Hubs was in the basement when my call came and he didn’t hear the phone (note to self-time to put a phone in the basement!). He couldn’t imagine why I would want someone’s old kettle grill since we already have a gas grill AND a Big Green Egg. I don’t want it to USE, I want it to SELL!! We no longer have a truck and it wouldn’t fit in the Jeep, so he wondered how we were going to get it home. “In the back of my car,” I said. Once he got over the shock of me putting something dirty and dusty in my car, he agreed to go with me to see if it was still there. It WAS! We brought a giant trash bag to put any trash in (turns out there was still a good bit of unburned charcoal in it) and a tarp to put it on. We put the seats down in my car, loaded it up, and brought it home. On closer inspection we found that the mechanism that allows for air flow adjustment is rusted stuck but a little penetrating oil should do the trick in getting it working again. Next yard sale this lovely will be front and center to be sold. Cha-CHING!!

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Now, before you think I’ve completely lost my mind, I’m not getting into the habit of going through people’s trash to find things to use or to sell. However, if something looks to be in pretty good shape and someone is just throwing it away, I’m not opposed to bringing it home to either use if I have a use for it, or to sell to make a little bit of pocket money. The Hubs thinks he’s created a monster-he might be right!

So tell me-have you ever taken something someone has left at the curb home with you? Be honest!! Leave a comment and we can celebrate our thriftiness together!

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…

Author: olderwisermoneymiser

I’m a 50-something wife, mom, and full time accounting administrator sharing my journey from work to retirement.

29 thoughts on “A Family that Dives Together…”

  1. Oh gosh yes. My favorite was an old chair. I stripped it down, reset/reglued the legs. Good as new.
    My father in law was the biggest “curb picker” I knew. He hated to see usable items set on the curb destined for the dump if no one took it home.

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  2. Where we live in Florida, there are people that literally drive through the night before trash pick up and see what people have put out on the curb. I see trucks and trucks with trailers go through and pick up stuff all the time. We have put down things we no longer needed or items that were broken, and find that they are gone before we go to bed or in the morning before trash pick up. Many people down here take used items and fix them up or use the parts and make money off of it. It always amazes me! Good story!

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  3. I can honestly say no. I haven’t. Probably the reason is that I spend my life fending off my mother in her attempts to downsize and give her two zillion extra rolls of curly ribbon, 2 tons of sale wrapping paper, 5 million blue teddy bears that she used to collect and any number of miscellaneous sets of flatware she has to match the endless sets of dishes and decorative table settings she has collected over the decades. My parents don’t entertain. Never have! Why does she buy these things??? She has no answer to that question and my response to “Do you want this?” Has become a resounding no!

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  4. Oh have I!! Haha. It’s become ritual for my mom and I to drive past my favorite dumpsters near my house after church on Sundays. Sometimes (but not often!), I’m in heels and I get the biggest chuckle imagining how foolish we must look digging around in the trash. Oh well!!

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  5. It is amazing how true the saying ‘one man’s (or woman’s) trash is another’s treasure’. We have reguarly sidewalk clean ups and it is interesting to see what people leave on the kerb for collection. It is also fun to put something out and within 10 minutes find that someone has come along and taken it. We can all recycle and it certainly makes your evening walk more interesting doesn’t it? You never know what you might find! Thanks for sharing and it is always a pleasure to have you link up with us at #MLSTL. Have a great week!
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

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  6. I like to pick up old pieces of furniture at the thrift store for next to nothing and refinish them. But I have to be careful, because my project list often outstrips my available time. Until I finish my current projects, I’m not allowing myself to get anything new. You are very industrious to pick things up and re-sell them. I’ve put a lot of stuff out at the curb because I don’t want the hassle of trying to sell them, and they usually are gone in a flash.

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  7. My parents were pros at doing this and made a nice little side income, but it’s just not my thing. I am happy to buy something secondhand if I need it, but I don’t have the time, skills or interest to bother trying to turn someone’s trash into a treasure. You did well with yours. The one time I tried was picking up a large doll’s house that I was going to refurbish for our granddaughter – but then realized that I’d have to make or buy furniture and it would only get used a couple of times a year – I on-sold it and learned my lesson!
    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM 🙂

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  8. Our neighborhood doesn’t allow anyone to put stuff on the curb but I wouldn’t pick it up in any case. lol My mother and her second husband used to go out and dumpster dive. They did the same as you if they could use it they did if they couldn’t they sold it.

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  9. “Free Stuff” curbside is pretty common where I’ve lived and there are professional “dumpster divers” always circling. “Up-cycling” is so popular now and it’s good for the environment! Call it “dumpster diving” if you will, but you’re actually an environmentalist!! This morning’s walk took me by hundreds of recycle bins out for today’s pick-up and I saw so many refundable bottles and cans that I think I will start taking my 8-yr old grandson with me on recycle day and he can earn some spending money!

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    1. I’m not even sure bottles can be returned for money where I live anymore. It’s a pity-I remember when we lived in California, Hubs would take his glass bottles back to the store to get his bottle deposit back. They may have even taken plastic but I don’t remember-it’s been too long! Thanks!!

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  10. Good on you! You made a little pocket money and kept one more thing from the landfill. I haven’t got in the habit of saving other people’s trash yet, but I am trying to get in the habit of not throwing things away so easily. #MLSTL

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  11. What a fun story. I can’t think of anything at the moment that I found on a curve or in a dumpster. But I have gone to garage sales and found things in the “free” box that I’ve taken. I’m at the stage of my life where I’m de-cluttering, so it’s probably in my trash can that others would find gold. haha!

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  12. Oh yes! More than I want to admit to. Coffee tables, book shelves, chairs for the garden, a falling apart bench for the garden (that didn’t get fixed up because I love the old, falling apart look to it), and….
    As one of my thrift store shopper friends posted the other day “There is no shame in saving money!”

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  13. My husband is the king of divers. He comes home from the recycling barn with more than he went with. Last year? It was a 600lb safe. 😬 We had to build a 1700 square foot, 2 story barn to house his … *cue eye roll* … treasures. While I like a good flea market now and then, there really is such a thing as too much stuff!

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