Are You a Trash Picker?

Elizabeth writes for us again…


I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a trash picker, but I do follow the mantra of “one person’s trash is another’s treasure”. I honestly do not see anything wrong in stopping and picking something up curbside if it interests you. Most cities have the law that once it is placed in the garbage it is fair game to all, so no illegal activities are involved.


Not only is trash picking (also known as dumpster diving) good for the environment by saving an item from the landfill, but it is also frugal. Finding something that you can use for free is as frugal as can be. I have seen bookshelves, desks, toy sets, and more all set out on the curb. Around here many people will put a “free” sign on those items, letting others know that it is okay to take them. I, myself, have gotten rid of a lot just by placing items on the curb with “free” on them. So it is a win-win situation. One of the best places to find really good items in the trash are in college towns right around the time that the students are moving out of their apartments for the summer. Everything imaginable can be found in the garbage then as many students don’t want to lug furniture or appliances or odds and ends back home or don’t have the room for them. If you live in a college town count yourself lucky!

Another great time to find goodies is if your town has a city-wide cleanup day when you can set out anything and the garbage trucks will take it away. Our town does not do this (I wish they did…we have to pay when we have something big that needs to be thrown out) but a neighboring town does. A rich neighboring town. We were lucky to have found a nice bench for our porch by driving around the day that town was having their clean-up. My mom was even luckier by finding a box of retro toy kitchen items that sold for $100 on ebay and an ugly cat cookie jar that also sold for around that price range on ebay.

One of our best finds was this television:
My husband saw this television ready to go out into the garbage at work. It apparently stopped working but my husband asked his boss if he could take it home. We took it to a repair shop just to see if it could be fixed and we were able to get it fixed for just $75. You can not find a flat screen television anywhere for $75 and it works perfectly now. My husband has been wanting a flat screen tv for quite some time now so he is thrilled and I like the fact that since it is mounted on the wall it saves us a lot of space in the living room, especially compared to the huge ugly console television that was previously in there. (Sorry for the bad photo but my flash kept showing up. You get a round of applause if you can name what older show my husband was watching as I snapped this photo.)

Other finds have been a nightstand that is now in the kid’s room. It was sitting at the curb with a desk (which I wish we could have gotten but didn’t have the room in the van) and was an ugly yellow color. My hubby painted it a pretty purple with black knobs and it is as cute as can be now. A great space for their clock and to hold books.

I found a wooden bar stool as well. It was lonely on the curb so I brought it home. No sooner than a day later I saw a magazine photo which showed a lonely bar stool as a place to put towels in a small bathroom. This was perfect for us as we have a teeny tiny bathroom with very little counter space. There was no where to place our clean clothes to change into or towel to be used as we stepped out of the shower. Now we have a little stool that is perfect for that and it looks nice when guests arrive with a few towels and washcloths and a bar of soap arranged on it.  Don’t be afraid the next time you see something on the curb that attracts your interest…stop and pick it up!

Have you found a treasure in the trash? Please share your find with us!


Find this post on Elizabeth’s blog as well.

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