Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Dumpster Diver's Gift To A Catholic Priest

One time while I was dumpster diving, I found 5 pocket sized Polish language Catholic prayer and religious study books that were at least 50 years old, but in excellent shape.

I then found out that St. Rita's Catholic Church, which was right down the street from where I lived at the time in Dundalk, Maryland, had a young Polish immigrant priest named Roman working there. I walked down to see him.

Father Roman told me that he did not get to bring any kinds of books or any religious type items at all out of his country with him, because the anti-religious commies still had control back then and they would not let him leave his home country with more than what he could carry in one small suitcase, and no religious items at all.

He did not have to tell me much about the terrible way that Communism stifles religious freedoms, I already knew the basics concerning life in Communist Poland. I have always been well aware of the repressive, torturing and murdering nature of communist bullshit, "know thine enemies", and have hated them commie rats as deadly enemies my entire life. The Polish commies had made Roman's whole life as hard as they could. But they did not defeat his nor his family's religious feelings and activities. It impressed me deeply to see him talk a little about how the communists had done their best to stop him and any other Polish citizens from becoming a priest.

It was a very emotional experience for each of us.

I am not religious myself, but fairly spiritual; it was a very spiritual experience when I gave those Polish language prayer books to Father Roman.

Could it be that we dumpster divers are sometimes being guided in our work directly by the hand of a higher power?

I don't know about all that, but it was at least a mighty fine coincidence that some d-diver saved something from a landfill and delivered it to another person whom it became very important to.

Spiritually speaking, that was cool.

Friday, April 20, 2007

For Many Years, I Have Wanted To Find A Great Big Pile Of Hunting Gear and Guns In A Dumpster or Placed Out For Trash Truck Collection

There is one thing that I have never found, but which for many years I have fantasized about finding while dumpster diving, ducking down alleys, or curb crawling for other peoples' unwanted, chucked out goodies:

I want to find a great big pile of good hunting gear—including lots of legal guns.

I cannot afford to buy this stuff, but I love eating wild meat and have wanted to live off of hunting for my own wild meat ever since I was a teenage kid. It simply makes good sense to me. And I was once a bear hunting guide in Maine, so I know the woods and how to be a responsible hunter fairly well.

I have thought about this fantasy for so long and so often that I can no longer determine if this following statement is true or not:

One time I heard about an elderly, wealthy woman piling some of her ex-husband's hunting gear, along with some other really good goodies of his, out at the curbside on trash collection day. When the trash truck crew saw that pile, they immediately began going through it and putting some of it into the front passenger side of the truck. Then they joyfully saw the old gal carrying more goodies out to them. They asked her why it was there and why she was throwing it all out.

She explained to those trash truck guys that she had gotten a divorce from her husband of many years, that they had lived together in the house there for many years, and that she had "got rid of the son of a bitch” and now she was getting rid of anything of his that he had not taken with him when he had “left to go live with some bimbo.”

She then invited the overjoyed trash truck guys into her ex-husband’s former den and gave them all of his top-of-the-line stereo and TV equipment and the other heavy stuff that she could not carry to the curb; and then she let them have his rifles and shotguns too.

I have thought out my day dreams about finding such a great big pile of chucked out hunting gear goodies all the way through to encounters with the police seeing me taking guns outa’ some dumpster, worrying about whether they were stolen or not, yelpin’ to the cops about my former Maine Guide thing, along with explaining the true facts about my poverty as a disabled Army veteran, and that I want my load of legal hunting gear to help my life be lived a whole lot better with.

Someday, I hope to luck out while dumpster diving and/or duckin’ down alleys and/or curb crawling by finding enough hunting gear, including legal guns, to be able to keep a nice selection for my own hunting uses and then sell or trade some of the guns, and hunting clothing that doesn’t fit me, for the cost of a hunting license and for the first deer hunting trip.

Include in that pile of found hunting gear some rare old shotguns or rifles to trade for a trip or two to hunt up in Canada or out west for Elk, Moose, and yum-yum-yummy all the wild game that I can legally shoot, skin, butcher, and cure by wood smoke or store in a great big freezer at home, and I’d be one happy, and well fed, hunter.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

There May Be Eternal Rewards For Dumster Diving

Like I said in the one blog post on here, dumpster diving is honest work. And when you dumpster dive you deserve everything you can get from doing it; including the eternal good karma kinda' stuff for being good to Momma Earth—I mean c'mon now, when it's all said and done, and you become a great big snack shack for the conqueror worm, if the sum total of your life actually is tallied up and weighed out for good verses bad, to judge where your soul will spend eternity, then d-diving with its attendant saving of natural resources from being wasted has to count for something in a dumpster diver's favor.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Piles Of Discarded Stuff In Other People’s Yards

I have the word duckin’ in the title of this blog simply because most of the homes in my area have their weekly trash pickups made behind the homes and not out front, as is done in many other areas. Hence, what I call duckin’ down alleys is also known as curb crawling.

I usually go duckin’ or curb crawlin’ right around sunset time. That gives the homeowners along my route all day to set items out for trash pickup the next morning. After it gets completely dark, it is not good to be seen moving slowly behind peoples’ homes and looking towards their backyards, or to be seen moving slowly in front of homes and looking towards the fronts of peoples’ properties. No one wants to see that kind of suspicious activity going on in their neighborhood.

Several times during my life, I have been going down the road feeling fine while casually motoring between some Sunday afternoon destinations with other things on my mind other than looking for piles of good stuff being thrown out when low and behold I spot a pile of good, usable items set out in front of a home.

Whether I am duckin’ down alleys or curb crawling or while I’m just out for a Sunday drive, and I stop to check out an opportunity to score some good items from a pile of stuff placed in front of or behind someone’s house where it is definitely there for the regular trash pickup, I feel slightly anxious while doing it.

When I am looking through the stuff for good items to take, I am always a bit fearful of being spotted by someone who sure as hell don't want no one digging through their personal trash. I also don't want to make eye contact with anyone looking out from inside a house, as this can break an invisible barrier that may be keeping them from hollering out at me. I only look down at what is in the pile of stuff, never at the houses around me. I check through it all very quickly, take what I want real fast, and make sure that the pile is left as neat as or neater than I found it.

The trickiest and scariest shit comes when I see pieces of aluminum or other recyclable metals or good fishing rods or something else that looks good sticking up out of garbage cans full of personal trash that may contain discarded mail, bank statements, S+M or other odd ball type porno or sexual devices, evidence of illegal activities, etc. in there that the home owner does not want anyone to see. They certainly don’t want me to be pulling out any embarrassing porno type items or evidence of illegal activities from where it had been hidden down in amongst other trash and secured inside of tightly closed trash bags or taped up cardboard boxes. Especially out there where any of their family members, neighbors, or any passersby could see it.

But when it is big, bulk type stuff that came from a spring cleanout or a home cleanout after a death in the family or after the house had just been sold then as long as you are not sloppy about it you should be all right. I have hit on two or three of these piles of goodies right after non-long-time-pro-dumpster-diving type individuals, who had just happened to drive by then stop when they had seen an easy obvious opportunity, had torn open trash bags and emptied out boxes, taken what they wanted then left the mess right out there next to a busy road on a sunny afternoon. I cleaned it all up and piled it back up neatly before I left.

When you are treasure hunting through trash and junk left out in front of or behind a home, you face the possibilities of having to deal with either the family members who live in the home, their friends who may happen to pull up to the scene as you are looking for good stuff, or neighbors who will sometimes check you out and ask what you are doing. They will probly be shocked to see you there and a bit pissed off about it—this is 99% guaranteed. When confronted by anyone at all, always smile sincerely and warmly, be ready to quickly return to your vehicle, act humble and grateful to find what you may have found, try to mention something about your dedication to reduce-reuse-recycling ideals, and if possible somehow throw some tid-bit about your solid status as a long time resident of the community into the conversation.

Just remembering the stress that I experience at times while going through piles of discarded items near homes and now writing about it is makin’ my chest feel a little tight and twanged inside. Doing this type of gatherin’ up of goodies is scary at times, but it is the right thing to do when you are politely saving something from a landfill and adding to your personal wealth.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Great Lamp Found While Dumpster Diving

Here's the story about really cool lamp that I found in a dumpster, when I was walking to and from the grocery store one day.

I often go up to the grocery store one way and come back home another way, so's I can check a variety of dumpsters along the way. I walked through the ball field across the street from me and then through the small, local park that borders the village main street type shopping center where the grocery store is. I checked some shopping center dumpsters on my way into the store, and then I came back out and walked through the alleys in the shopping center, and then walked down the alley on the other side of my apartment complex and checked the dumpsters all along the way there. It was mid week and mid day.

Best d-dives on that route are on Sundays. The weekends are when apartments of older folks, who have gone to nursing homes or to the Great Beyond, are cleaned out by their heirs, and also younger people who work all week move on weekends, or garages along the apartment complex alley are cleaned out and stuff gets chucked. Mid day mid week meant that the apartment maintenance crew was around and on duty somewhere in the complex; a few of them were hangin' out by their garage/workshop on that alley, and I walked by them while casually, discreetly d-divin.

So I'm just a scootin’ along down the alley and casually peekin’ over into the dumpsters. All of a sudden I see this cool looking lamp. I did not even stop moving along cause here comes two maintenance guys on a golf cart tooling up the alley towards their workshop. I was surrounded by ‘um; and that's too many witnesses for one of them not to be expected to tell me not to d-dive if they all see me. I swooped up the lamp, held it close to me body so's the ones back up the alley couldn't see it, grinned at the guys on the cart, they slowed down for a second and glanced at the lamp, gave each other who gives a frig looks and kept going, and I happily begun walking faster.

If the whole crew out there in the alley had all seen me grab that lamp then the highest ranking one would have been forced to do their job by telling me not to take stuff out of dumpsters, that I only have a right to put stuff in—I am a resident. The rental office is right up there near the workshop, so if they had all seen me take that lamp then somebody woulda’ hadda’ said something to me as their big boss may've been around there.

As I walked on down the alley with my lamp held in front of me, the first thing I think is that the switch must be bad, but I can replace it. When I got home, I discovered that it works fine.

The lamp is a good looking chrome, swing arm number that fits nicely by my computer and is real cool cause it has a dimmer switch that is great for adjusting the light just right while working here.

Two or three months later, I'm watching an antiques appraisal show on TV, and they did a segment on upcoming values in collectable lamps. They showed one from the 1950s, one from the 1960s, and one from the 1970s, and by jeeeeze mine is the 1960s one. It appraised at $250, and it is going up in value every year. The appraiser said the name of the famous 1960s era designer who had created the lamp, but I could not understand what he said.

I love this lamp, it fits my tastes fine. In fact, it is friggin aye perfect for where it is.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Employees Taking Smoke Breaks Where They Can See You Dumpster Diving

Beware of employees of stores or businesses who are taking smoke breaks where they can see you dumpster diving in their employer’s dumpsters.

They are either:
the management personnel who are responsible for keeping the good stuff that the store chucks into dumpsters in the dumpsters and on its way to be destroyed in landfill;
or they may be mouthy butt kissers who'd love to score some 'brownie points' by ratting you out to management;
or they could be dismal malcontents at their jobs and would enjoy taking out their workplace frustrations on you by rattin’ you out, because they hope that it gets them a free front row ticket to a live action show if their boss goes out there and throws an unnecessary, power-tripping type fit all over some unfortunate dumpster diver (or maybe some malcontent would be hoping to see their boss get the tar whomped outa' him/her by some d-diver—most people do believe we're crazy);
or they are mild mannered tobacco addicted employees who just couldn't care less and won't say a thing.

Several times, I have had a few of the couldn't-care-less-type-lookin’ employees come out the backdoor of a store to take a tobacky’ break when I was back there d-divin. When they noticed me there and realized what I was doing, their faces showed a little fear, then mild disgust, followed by a tangy bit of contempt. Can’t blame them for the fear at all; it mattered not that I was only d-divin and minding my own business, and that I am a nearly normal, long time, fairly well known local citizen, because they didn’t know me. And I was a large man standing in or walking through an area where usually only a few delivery driver type people or store employees ever go. Consequently, I was a kind, considerate gentleman and got the heck outa’ there real fast.

Had I stayed and continued checking the dumpsters back there for goodies, those employees could have became so scared or bravely disgusted that they would loose their couldn’t care less attitude and yell back in through the door or go back inside and say something to their boss about what they had incorrectly begun to believe was a no-good, low down, dirty, stinky, scary, dangerous, worthless, ‘boil on the butt of society’ who should be lanced by the law and removed to be safely secured in a prison cell by a judge, where I wouldn’t be a danger to normal citizens anymore. But because I had immediately moved on, they just lit up their cigs and maybe casually watched to make sure that I kept movin’ on.

Whenever I am d-divin and see any employees of any businesses out there taking smoke breaks, no matter what I may perceive that their attitudes towards dumpster divers are, I nix the d-divin and move on.

Even women dumpster divers should never let any employees witness them d-divin. Ya’ know how some women enjoy being rude, mean beatches’ to other women? An employee like that might just get their jollies by verbally kickin’ one of you reduce-reuse-recycle dedicated gals around. And then because some men get off on abusing women, you ladies do not want to give some scrotum scratchin’ screwball any opportunities to practice his power-trippin’ on you.

Whether you are a male or a female dumpster diver, do your best to never be seen d-diving by any employees of the business which leases the dumpsters you want to dive. It simply isn’t worth the risk.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Dumpster Divers Are Usually Good Citizens

While dumpster diving, I have torn up a dozen or so check books, even though the accounts were probly already emptied. It often happens when I find old family photo albums and losta’ stuff that came from an elderly person who had probly died and their heirs had cleaned out the dead persons stuff and chucked most of it. Other check books were in the dumpster with a bunch of cheap, worn out crap that showed me the person who had the checks was not doing so well financially. Their stuff had probably been chucked out by an ex-roommate or lover whom the check owner had been living with until they had screwed up too many times on paying their half of the rent and/or had gotten themselves put in jail or run outa’ town by drug dealers they owed money to. It's just that way in my area; hard core, actively using alcohol and drug addicts walk by my front door everyday and are living in apartments here. They are not the majority, but are very visible because they walk round lookin for hustles and highs.

When the long time owner of the old shoe repair shop in my town passed away, the shop was closed forever. The shoe shop man was a nice guy. My family had been customers of his for decades. I had walked past that shop 100s of times, and when the door was open during warm weather he and I had often exchanged genteel greetings. When the shop was being cleaned out, a dumpster in the alley behind it got filled with all kinds of shoe repair tools, small equipment, and supplies; and I made out good d-divin it. In that load, I found the recently deceased shop owner's Army discharge papers and social security info. I knew that his sister was still taking care of selling off the big equipment in there, so I took the shoe shop man’s pertinent personal records and went over and found her there; she was ecstatic that I returned the paperwork; she needed it to be compensated for her brother’s funeral expenses etc.. (Dumpster diver to the rescue!)

She asked me what size shoe I wear and offered me a nice pair of cowboy boots that had not been picked up by the customer who owned them; the boots were in a bag full of good repaired footwear that had been left in the shop for many months, and she offered me any of them that I might want. I looked but said none in there for me, but the weekly soup kitchen is on in the church basement across the street, and they can use ‘um. She said to go ahead and take them, because they had all been left in the shop well past 90 days and it was her last day to ever be in there. It felt good to return that paperwork than make a donation to the down and outers. And I did real well in the dumpster too.

Although most people freak out when they see dumpster divers at work and think that we are a menace to society, we d-divers are basically honest fellow citizens in this society. Anytime that we can return any personal papers which were obviously thrown out by accident, we should. If we can, we should destroy any personal or business papers that would cause another person problems. Who ever threw the paperwork out did not realize that a dumpster diver would find it. And we normal d-divers know that some scumbag d-diver may come along later and take that paperwork for all the wrong reasons.

I have never found any wallets or pocket books in dumpsters that had ID cards in them along with all the other regular stuff that a person carries with them everyday. But other d-divers have, and they have sometimes turned the items into the owner or the police. If it looks like a criminal had stolen the items then taken out the cash, or that it had been placed in the dumpster by accident, a d-diver is pretty well obligated to go outa’ their way to turn it in.

Sometimes people, especially elderly individuals, can accidentally scoop up their wallet or pocketbook with the trash in their car or their home and throw it out. If that happens, don’t take out any cash that may be in there, just be honest.

What goes around comes around, and bad karma can get ya’ when you least expect.

If we find whole wallets or pocket books full of all a person's IDs etc., anywhere at all, then we honestly have no other choice but to turn it in to the owner or the cops.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

When Dumpster Diving, Beware Of Items In Or Near Dumpsters That May Have Been Stolen By Employees

Sometimes employees stash something in or near a dumpster that they have stolen from their employer’s business, and they come back and finish stealing it later.

I have heard or read about several instances where d-divers were accused by the police of taking items from dumpsters that the cops believed had been placed in there by a thieving employee and that the d-diver either was that employee or was in cahoots with the thief. There is so much great stuff thrown into dumpsters that is so unbelievably good and plentiful that most people would never believe that it had actually been chucked in there to be taken away for burying in a landfill. Consequently, it is easy for d-divers who are seen taking some of that great stuff outa’ dumpsters to be mistaken as being involved in an employee theft situation. This is a must know factor when dumpster diving.

Never touch any items that are obviously in or near dumpsters due to employee theft. The only problem is, I don’t what clues to tell you to look for, just be aware and hope you make the right decision at the time.

A Pair Of Good Pocket Knives From Two Different Dumpsters

One time I found a toolbox full of tools turned upside down and dumped into a Bad Willy dumpster. I got the box out and filled it back up with most of the tools--some had slipped down too far in the junk there, but the box got heavy fast cause I got plenty of them. They were old well worn doubles of wrenches and things I already have, but I kept the stuff for over a year then gave it to my nephew--all except one good pocket knife. That knife is an Old Teeemer brand (brand names of d-dived goodies are usually changed for Internet postings) American made good grade tool. It is a one-blade knife; the blade is 3 1/4 inches long with a brass liner lock. The handles are in perfect shape and are made of good 1950s era type plastic.

I had that knife for almost a year, then I found a smaller version of it in a dumpster that was out in front of a house over across the baseball fields from the house I grew up in. An old guy who had died had lived there, and I had spoken to the man on several occasions, but did not know him. A Realtor had bought the house to fix it up for resale, and had paid workmen to clean it out. I got a well-worn portable drill that works and other stuff, but the little knife is the coolest thing from that load. It has a 1 3/4 inch liner lock blade and its handles look exactly like the one on the bigger knife. As a pair, knives like these sell in an antique store or flea market for, oh, $8 to $15 for both of them. Nothin special to any knife collector, but they are good American made knives that I like having. One is for my front pants pocket and the other for my jacket pocket when I go to places where I don't want to wear me good ole Bu#k Kanife on me belt.

And dig this; I just measured the knife blades using an old wooden meter/inches stick that was made prior to the 1960s. It has a great antique patina. It's from:

Sch@@r & Company
Laboratory Apparatus and Chemicals
Chicago Illinois

I find yard sticks, 12 inch rulers and tape measures so often that I only have to keep the ones made in the USA for myself and give the cheap China made crap away.

The Box Of Nearly New Toys Sitting On A Dumpster

One Sunday, while out working my long time, regular dumpster diving route, I found a cardboard box sitting on top of a shopping center’s dumpster that had good, barely used toys in it. The toys are for a 5 to 8 year old boy; I help to raise my grandnephew, so he now gets to play with the toys here in my home.

The box had obviously been placed there where it would be found by someone, so that the toys could be reused if any finders wanted them. The person who placed the box there had probably thought that either some store employee chuckin’ out trash may find it, anyone walking by there could have found it, or most likely they thought that the trash truck workers who emptied the dumpster would have to see the toys in the box when the driver or their helper got out to place the box into the dumpster, with the trash in there, so that the dumpster could be lifted up and emptied into the truck. It was very considerate of the toy buyer not to place the box inside of the dumpster, but they probly had no idea that a dumpster diver checks that dumpster for good stuff every Sunday.

As soon as I saw the excellent, barely used condition of the toys and the particular variety of them, I figured that the person who had purchased the toys had recently ended a short but very close relationship with the single parent of a small boy, whom the toy purchaser was not a parent of. There was just the right amount and selection of nice, not cheap but not expensive, toys for a child to be very happily occupied with during long and/or overnight visits to someone else's home.

I believe that the toys were discarded after the little boy's parent had broken off a romantic relationship with the person who had purchased the toys for the boy. Then, the boy’s mother’s or father’s broken hearted ex-lover had discarded the toys after it was clear that neither his/her ex-lover nor the boy would ever be returning to the toy buyer's home. The toy buyer either had no one close to him/her who could use the toys, or she/he did not want to ever, ever see the toys again and thusly be reminded of the painful breakup every time that he/she would visit the relative or friend or neighbor whom the toys may have been given to.

So that toy buyer had done the next best thing and placed the toys in a clean cardboard box then had placed that box on top of a dumpster where anyone walking near the dumpster could see it and possibly take it so that some other child could have the toys to play with.

I took the box of toys home and set it down on my living room floor. Even though they were definitely real clean, I was going to disinfect them with Lysol spray anyway.

A half-hour later a friend of mine comes over. He knows all about my d-divin but has only done it himself when he throws his own trash out at his apartment complex. His best find was a great little, new looking toolbox full of small sized, top of the line hobby tools that he sold later. So as he is walkin’ in my front door, I say, "Hey man, check out what's in that box there that I found sitting out on top of the ‘wrong raid’ dumpster." He glances down into the box and says, "Looks like a good relationship gone bad to me."

It was that obvious.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I Have Wanted To Write About Dumpster Diving For A Long Time

I have wanted to write stuff about dumpster diving and post it on the World Wide Web ever since the first time that I ever went on the Internet.

In 1999, when I was first learning how to use a computer, I attended a free Internet beginner’s class at a local library. After the first 1/2 hour of introductive instruction, the instructor said to type some words into the Internet search box that relate to something which you are very interested in. I used to live in Maine, so I put in Patten Maine; and wow was I surprised at all the hits I got and how there are web sites showing all about the places where I lived and worked up there. I had expected to see that all web sites were all just plain text and general info kinda’ deals. The Maine web sites are beautiful, and I was sitting there feeling absolutely amazed and pleased that I had finally found out just what the Internet actually is, when all of a sudden, from across that library room full of computers and other people, I heard a loud voice say, "DUMPSTER DIVING! DUMPSTER DIVING? IS DUMPSTER DIVING A SPORT?" In a room full of that many people naturally one of them had to type in "sports" as their first main interest for web searching.

My second Internet search was for dumpster diving. I had been a serious and successful d-diver for around 7-8 years previous to that day at the library, and when I saw what was posted on the web by other d-divers, well I tell ya, it was exciting. Then I read a web page where it was open for all dumpster divers to post their best finds. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord and Dive That Dumpster! Ole Dave done found a mighty fine thing!

Ever since that first five minutes on the WWW, I have been waiting to get myself and my writing skills together enough to write about dumpster diving and share my d-divin skills and adventures with the whole freakin' world.

Keep yur’ eyes open, yur’ nose closed, and DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Furious Fur Ball’s Mexican Standoff In Dumpster Land

I got a dumpster diving safety tip for ya all.

Raccoons and other furry critters eat in dumpsters.

In all my years of dumpster diving, I was only surprised by one Raccoon in a dumpster one time, and luckily it did not run outa the dumpster over top of me. That little sucka only ran about 30 feet away though and turned around to see if I was chasin it cause it thought that I was a huge predator comin after it to make it my yummy little prey. But when it saw me just standin there lookin at it, that crazy critter musta figured we was both after chucked out food and was competitors. The dumpster was behind a small office building, so the only food ever in it was from unfinished lunches. Local homeowners doing home and garage cleanouts and chuckin the stuff in there illegaly was my best source of good reusable items found in that dumpster, and I wasn’t gonna leave till I checked it.

I stomped at zeee Raccoooon, but it stood firm, stared hard at me, and angrily hissssed. It wouldn’t back down. I could not safely turn my attention from it and dumpster dive.

It was like The Furious Fur Ball’s Mexican Standoff In Dumpster Land.

Zee hungry crittaah stood its grouwwnd firmly and tried its most natural best to back me down and scare me away from its snack shack. There was just enough light shining down from an overhead streetlamp for me to see that thee Raccoooon’s itty-bitty dark eyeballs were psychically sending out near-vicious vibes that were meant to convey this message, “Back down yerself ya tall dumb critter, I got strong, sharp teeth and wicked fast switchblade claws and know how ta use um.”

Beins I’s an old ex-Maine Guide and knows that ya gotta stay clear of rabid Racoooons, I looked at the critter’s hisssin, sorta snarrrlin, sharp toothed little mouth and its overall general appearance and watched its movements very closely for any of the signs of that mind and body ravaging disease named Rabies. Nope, no foaming at the mouth or anything, it did not aggressively move in towards me, it was just an ornery critter. So I stomped at it step by step and over a fence that lined the alley there and up a tree on the other side of the fence it went. What a tough sum beechy that Coon was.

Now look, I wasn’t being unfair to a fellow dumpster diver. It was after dark and about 10PM, and I had to get the d-diving done before it was time for the reasonably more suspicious night shift cops to come on duty. I wanted to get home before 11. The Raccoon was just beginning its natural nocturnal wandering’s, so it had plenty of time to come back and eat. There wasn’t ever much food scraps in there anyway, it just smelled sooo interesting in there to the Coon, and I wasn’t taking what the critter wanted and vice-a-versy. Plus, there is an apartment building right there over that fence that the Raccoon climbed over and there were plenty of dumpsters full of sloppy, juicy kitchen waste there and therefore much better d-divin ops for the Coon.

Watch out for them furry critters when dumpster diving at night. Beware of Raccoons, and definitely Opossums too. Possums have long, nasty, pointy-sharp teeth for tearing flesh, and they will, at rare times, turn on you and hissss angrily too. Foxes are all over cities and suburbs now, and Coyotes also. These critters have all been seen and photographed digging in trashcans, so that means they all probably hit dumpsters too. And you should see how a Fox pops way up and over a backyard fence, like it is bouncing on an Electric Pogo Stick; that means that they can get into some dumpsters. Heh, heh, hey, oh jeeze, now come to think of it, there's a big ruckus on in New Jersey between some local politicians and citizens about whether certain small town, suburban type municipalities should begin paying for and distributing bear proof trash cans and dumpsters. Whooweee! Watch out for them bears!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dumpster Diving Song

Here is a link to a dumpster diving song by a guy named Raccoon. I have a copy of the song on a cassette tape that my nephew bought at a live music festival, but I can't find where you can buy Raccoon's music on the Internet.

Here is where you can find the words and guitar chords to the song titled Dumpster Diver.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sanitary Dumpster Diving

One thing that you need to know is that the majority of items which I remove from dumpsters had been placed inside of them in new, clean, plastic trash bags or clean cardboard boxes.

I take great care not to mess with anything in dumpsters that has been contaminated by kitchen waste/rotting food type garbage. But, believe it or not, some dumpsters where we frequent dumpster divers find our most valuable treasures have rarely ever had any rotting, germ ridden garbage thrown into them.

Technically, you could say that the trash bags or boxes come out of the dumpsters and the stuff I take home comes out of the bags and boxes.

Except for clothing, I sanitize any items that I take which have sat in a dumpster where just a mild breeze could blow germs onto them off of the dumpster walls or any actual garbage in there. Large, hard surfaced items are thoroughly doused with disinfectant spray. If such an item has touched anyplace where germs always thrive, it is thoroughly washed, wiped dry, and sprayed with disinfectant. Smaller items like kitchenware are rinsed, soaked in soapy water, rinsed, washed with soapy water, soaked in a water-bleach mixture to sanitize it, then rinsed again. Eveything I take from dumpsters that may remotely need it is cleaned and sanititized before I use it or pass it on, PERIOD.

Most clothing that I get while d-diving is already clean, but the small amount that I have ever kept for myself is run through the washer before I wear it. If it ain’t clean and dry, it stays where I find it. The only exceptions where I have taken dirty clothes are the few jackets or coats I took to wear while doin' more d-divin' later, and they got washed down in the shower, soaked in a tub of real hot water and detergent, and then rinsed, rung out, and run through the washing machine.

If it has rained onto a load of good, usable stuff in a dumpster, and the rain water has washed down upon the goodies from over top of some of that awful looking and smelling kitchen waste/rotting food type garbage, that most people think is the only thing found in a dumpster, then the only reason that I would take a seriously contaminated item out to keep it is if it was so obviously valuable that any darn fool who saw it in there would grab it and go.

The psychology of knowing that the items came out of a dumpster does bother me a little, but the science of how I choose, remove, then handle the items and determine which ones need cleaning and sanitizing is squeaky clean.

There usually isn’t anything unsanitary about most of the good, usable stuff that you can find in a dumpster. Because, it is protected by the brand new plastic trash bags, cardboard boxes, or some other clean containers that it might have been placed in before it got chucked into the big, green, sometimes filthy-stinky-unsanitary, magical treasure chest. If I didn’t have a bit of an aggravating anxiety disorder, I’d be able to skip on a lot of that detailed cleaning and sanitizing d-dived goodies that I do.

So keep yur’ eyes open, yur’ nose closed, and DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!

recycle ranger
dumpster diving

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Here’s What I Do With Stuff I Find While Duckin’ and Divin’

Here's where the good stuff that I get while ducking down alleys and dumpster diving goes:

First choice on goodies gotten while duckin’ and divin’ is for me. I often need the stuff. It frequently adds to my home as nice decorations—if you watch Antiques Road Show on PBS TV, like I do, you’ll see some of what comes out of dumpsters that ya’ might not have ever thought was possible.

I find good audio-visual equipment and other electronics; the best such find being a nearly new, $400, top of the line Denon cassette deck that I desperately needed to play my substantial library of recorded music tapes on. When I pulled that Denon deck outa’ the dumpster, I only had one, very moderate quality, medium fidelity tape deck. But that Denon deck is high quality and has superb fidelity—you can hear every sweet, and rockin’ nuance of the thousands of well crafted, recorded songs that I love listening to. To top it off, I have a Denon tuner-amplifier that is the perfect mate for the tape deck, and the amp’s remote control has buttons for operating the deck. Yeeehaaa! What a fantastic find!

I take only nice, newer clothing for everyday wear, but sometimes I keep a few somewhat worn out jackets or coats for wearing while d-divin.

For many families today, when “the old man died” they cleaned out his garage or shed, loaded it all up in a car or pickup truck, quietly drove to the nearest shopping center or apartment complex after dark, and illegally threw it all in a dumpster there. Hardly anybody can work on their own car anymore, because you need too much very expensive computerized equipment to do it. The average furniture sold today is too often not made well enough to be worth fixing and it’s cheap enough to simply replace with newer stuff. You know how it usually is today, if something can’t be fixed with the right commands typed onto a computer keyboard then most of today’s young people aren’t interested in learning how to repair a thing. Consequently, Dad’s-Granddad’s-Uncle’s home workshop gets hauled away and dumped after he dies. From those welcomed sources, I get tools, tool boxes, and losta' nails-screws-glues-paints-solvents-cans of oil and so on for use in my own, closet based, home fix it up shop.

I find video/dvd movies and music concerts plus record albums/cassette tapes/cds for my viewing and listening pleasure.

There are many older retired people living in my neighborhood. When some of the neighborhood’s elderly widows get sentenced to life in a nursing home or pass away to The Great Beyond, the bulk of their possessions often gets chucked into dumpsters. And their heirs ain’t so much into home cooking as the old gals were, so the amount of good old American made kitchenware, including the best Corning and Pyrex Glass goodies, that I get from dumpsters is amazing. My personal collection of neat old kitchenware is right nice, if I do say so me’self.

My little grandnephew is a big part of my life, and he spends, not enough for me, some precious time with me. He has seen me d-dive and knows that some of the perfectly good toys, games, Disney Movie Videos, cartoon videos, children’s’ books, etc. that we enjoy together here in my home came from dumpsters (but I have instructed him not to mention this to most people, as they wouldn’t understand).

Serious, sanitary, duckin’ and divin’ helps me a lot, has made me some kinda’ richer.

After I have chosen the d-dived items that I need or want, I give stuff to family or friends. One long time friend of mine is a d-diver too, and for over 15 years we have had an informal swap thing going; we know what the other guy and his family can use and always share some of the stuff we find when we can.

I find plenty of various kindsa' memorabilia, some antiques, and losta' other collectables that I love giving to the right collectors or other worthy, appreciative persons. Extra, girls, or age inappropriate for my grandnephew, toys, kids' books, games, and videos/dvds/cds/cassettes go to the right children.

Some clothing and other stuff often goes to homeless people and other down and outers who eat at the local soup kitchens.

Then there are donations of local memorabilia to our local historical society.

Next in line come donations to second hand stores. Very limited donations, because they throw too much in dumpsters themselves at times. Fortunately, I both shop at them and d-dive behind the stores, so I know to give what sells best in each store.

When I have to, I sell things that are valuable enough to work with, and I have a ready buyer for them; and due to the fact that I'm a low-income disabled veteran kinda’ guy, the money I receive almost always, immediately, goes towards groceries, carry out food, or that rare scrumptious meal eaten in a good restaurant.

On two occasions, I did bring in a little desperately needed cash by selling some d-dived goodies when I rented a table at a flea market, but my sprung spine won't let me do that anymore. And that means not putting on any yard sales either. That is due to the way that you have to be constantly bending over your sale table and stretching to place the for-sale items nice and neatly so the customers can see what you have. I can pick up 20 pounds of merchandise and carry it close to my chest without a problem, but constantly picking up a bunch of 2 ounce items and repeatedly bending and stretching over a table to place them on display can throw my back all the way outa' whack. All bad backs have different limitations. It's a bummer, but life goes on, and I'm still duckin' and divin', I'm still doing the Reduce Reuse Recycle Ranger thing.

After I decide what to keep for myself, give to my family and friends, what might be good to donate to a charity and then what to sell, after all that redistribution of goodies gotten while duckin' and divin', I just think about who can use the excess finds and give it to them, no strings attached. One thing that works well for me, around here in this low income apartment complex I live in, is to take the excess stuff and neatly place it on or beside of the dumpsters out back when it is at least two days before they are due to be emptied. Most times, the stuff I place out there is gratefully taken by other residents. I’m not the only conscientious person who does this, so I get to receive as well as give at the dumpster based ‘free exchange’.

Here's a big tip for all you duckers and divers who want to sell some stuff=cut “wanted ads” out of newspapers—printed or online versions—to build up a file of phone numbers for contacting buyers who advertise for specific stuff, this works real well. They do only pay wholesale, low-ball prices, but they usually come to you.

99% of the time, I tell people where I got the reusable stuff that I give or sell to them, or own. I'm proud of what we duckers and divers do, of the work we do as reduce-reuse-recycle types, which benefits the ailing health and welfare of this little ole rock wrapped in a blanket of air that we are riding through space and time on.

So keep yur’ eyes open, yur’ nose closed, and DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!

recycle ranger
dumpster diving

Finding Personal Journals or Diaries In Dumpsters

Some dumpster divers find personal journals and diaries while d-divin. I have not. If I ever do find any, then there will be the question of whether to read it or not.

Reading another person's chucked out journal or diary is not too cool to them, but I might do it if the chance arose. I would still know it to be a possible emotional violation against the journal writer. But, if it got chucked out intact and you or me read it that's the breaks.

I have to confess here that I do look at some personal papers and have read portions of notes and letters from dumpster loads, but it did feel a bit creepy. The strangest time was when I found printouts from graphic emails exchanged between two twenty some year old women who had some serious desires to tie men up and torture them for sex thrills. They also wrote about their fantasies to get the government to have contests to see who can come up with the most unique torture techniques to use when executing convicted criminals on death row. And the contest winner gets to do the torturing. When I read that the piece of paper dropped right outa’ my hands and back into the dumpster--but I was laughing inside at the time. I got that stuff from a dumpster in my apartment complex and was aware of who the woman was who threw the stuff out. She could have walked out her door and seen me there. I'd never tell anyone who she was, unless it was buddy of mine who was about to go have sex with her.

I did realize right then and there at the dumpster that evening that it was some great material for a scriptwriter or novelist. But I threw it all back in the dumpster anyway.

I got some cool stuff in that load though. She was moving out at the time and had thrown a bunch of Rock n' Roll memorabilia in the dumpster. I'm an old Rolling Stones fan type of guy, but she had Aerosmith type tastes, so I sold her collections of Rock n' Roll buttons, pins, knick-knacks, photos, and posters at the flea market. I did give my twenty some year old niece first choice on that load though; that’s my style of dispensing d-dived goodies. Me first, family and friends second, charity next, what’s left is up for sale.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Previously Best Dumpsters For Frequent Lucrative Divin’

We used to have a Goodwill Store in my neighborhood that had two dumpsters where I did extremely well when divin’ them. There was one or two Goodwill donation loading dock workers who knew me and looked out for me to give me donated stuff, but there was male store manager there who was a real S.O.B. about us dumpster divers. When the S.O.B. came out back to where the store’s dumpsters were and angrily told me to leave, I quietly did so right away. But another regular d-diver—an older local guy with a nice retirement check coming in every month—gave the manager a lot of back talk. That mouthy retired guy told me about this several times, and he thought that he had every right to dive them dumpsters, “ I ain’t hurtin’ anybody,” he’d say.
I explained to him that we were indeed trespassing as soon as we stuck a hand inside of a dumpster, and if we were not all cool about this then the steady flow of good stuff to the dumpsters might stop (at one point in time later that flow did diminish considerably), and I told the old retired dude that it was my policy to simply leave and come back later whenever that manager was even seen around the corner there on the loading dock. The old dude and I both shopped in the store, and we had a general idea of when that manager was working in there. I used to ask the friendly dockworkers if the S.O.B. was in there. The retired guy was lucky that the cops never got called on him when the mad manager had threatened to do so. Or maybe it was just that the cops never got there in time to catch the old dude.
The S.O.B. caught me standing at the side of the dock one afternoon waiting for a donated computer that a friendly, fair minded dockworker had gone to find for me; I just made up some lame excuse for being there and walked away, cause I wasn’t gonna’ burn the dockworker who had gone to get me that old computer.
I don’t feel bad about asking the dockworker for a free computer from Goodwill, because I was and still am a low income disabled veteran. There isn’t any non-bureaucratic reason that an old donated computer shouldn’t be passed on to me. And for years I have donated good stuff to Goodwill that I got while d-diving else ware or helping someone clean out a deceased relative’s home. Check out all my work on the Internet that is linked to this blog, I’m no lazy bum.
Most people believe that there are disabled persons being trained by Goodwill to fix all those donated electronics like computers, this is not true. That local store had a real bad reputation for selling worthless computers, non-working TVs and other electronics, but they only gave store credit for returns. The workers at that Goodwill never checked most electronics to see if they even turned on. I saw some heated arguments between disgruntled customers who had purchased worthless electronics in there and Goodwill store personnel. It was explained very loudly that the customer has the responsibility to plug it in and check it out before they buy. You can agree with that policy, but most folks think that any electronics put out for sale in a Goodwill Store have been checked out by employees first to see if the items actually work or not.
There were too many divers hitting that Goodwill dumpsters at times; some where regular d-divers, tried and true Recycle Rangers, who hit lotsa’ dumpsters all over town, but most other divers were only out there for that one continuously lucrative spot.
One time, as I drove up to the GW dumpsters, I saw the mouthy retired guy and his wife leaving in their car while 3 other men were standing around looking over what they had just pulled out of the dumpsters. That standing around dived dumpsters is bad because you got to get what you can and move on to avoid confrontation with employees or police. And I knew for a fact that the neighbors who live in the homes around the store did not like seeing people divin’ them thar dumpsters. Anyway, even though the two big-green-magical-treasure-chests had just been hit hard by 5 other d-divers, and the best stuff taken (I had assumed), I hit them dang dumpster loads too. Man o' day! I came up with two of the neatest little finds ever==a nicely framed and painted, 1950s era Japanese tile with a really cool, comical figure of a Japanese character happily strutting by on it and a little antique, pre 1940 maybe, celluloid plastic San Pan boat with little passengers on it. They are worth at least $35 each in a local antique store. These two items are on display with other decorative Asian items in my home.
The Goodwill store had a lot of well-publicized trouble with jackasses dumping junk by their dumpsters and on their donation loading dock. Because of that blatant ignorance on the part of John Q and Jane P Public, the store had to move to a more secure location with protective fencing around the back of the building where the dumpsters and donation loading dock are. It cost them too much to pay to haul that large amount of junk away every damn week. And I mean junk, not anything that anyone could figure would be fixable and reusable.
Sometimes, when I went there on a d-dive, I used to help out at the old store by dragging any junk that was spread out around the dumpsters over against the wall where it was slightly out of sight. There were scattered pieces of wrecked furniture, rolls of old rusted fencing, bags of grass cuttings and other yard waste, etc.. Why the hell not pitch in when I can, I’m a concerned local citizen.
One day, as I was slowly driving up to the dumpsters, a uniformed inspector from the Baltimore County Fire Department, who happened to be an old high school buddy of mine, pulled in at the dumpsters from the opposite direction, in his official fire department car. Right away, I knew what he was there for. He was there to see what the problems were with awful messes that the neighbors had been complaining about to his department, other gov’ment agencies, politicians, and the local media. So, I got on out of my little old pickup truck and put in some good words in defense of the GW donation dockworkers who had seen the Fireman from where they were working on the loading dock and had come out back to talk to him. I let my old buddy know that the Goodwill workers were not to blame for the messes at all, it was some jackass, home owning, taxpayers living in the county for most of their lives who were to blame.

There were several well-written articles and letters to the editor in our local weekly newspaper about the frequent dumping, and then it was reported that the reason the Goodwill Store had to move was they could not make a profit while paying expensive heavy junk removal costs.
Witnessing all that ignorant dumping on a world-renowned charity agency’s second hand goods outlet was one of the rudest experiences of my American life.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Few Reasons Why Some Good Stuff Is Chucked Into Dumpsters

Sometimes there is a sad reason why it is that good, usable stuff has been chucked into a dumpster. Whenever I'm dumpster diving and I find big loads of someone’s personal possessions in a dumpster, I do a little detective work to figure out why it may have been thrown out.

When you see trash bags full of clothes along with lots of other personal stuff in a dumpster it often indicates that a person:
has died,
has been put into a nursing home,
they may have gone into alcohol/drug rehab or jail, and their bridges back to their family or friends are being burned for them--due to their addictions, they have done too much wrong to too many people,
or someone has been kicked out of their ex-girlfriend's or boyfriend's or estranged spouse’s home, and they never went back to get all their stuff within the legally allotted time.

That all means that there will usually be plenty of other good personal items further down in the dumpster, too. Then it's time to really concentrate on the task at hand and to DIVE! DIVE! DIVE! I’ve done real well with this knowledge.

For certain individuals, chucking the perfectly good clothing and other personal items of someone, whom they are angry and/or thoroughly disgusted with, into a big ole’ knarly lookin’ dumpster gives the clothing and personal possession chucker the chance to angrily say later, "I threw your stuff in the dumpster you lousy such and such and so and so!!”

On two separate occasions, I found big loads of clothing and personal possessions in dumpsters that included high school year books less than 5 years old, along with framed—recently taken—photos of a 3 to 4 year old child, and heroin or crack type drug paraphernalia. It was evident by the fact that it was obvious that all of some young person’s prized possessions had been chucked out that some young, 20 something year old parents had been kicked out of their parent's home or somewhere else where they had been living while being given one final opportunity to get their lives straightened out by kicking the drug habits, being responsible for taking care of their kids whom were pictured in the framed photos, and maintaining a good paying job. Unfortunately, their addictions had ruined the young 20 something parent's lives, and they had been rendered hopeless in the eyes of their family and friends; they had either become homeless, been locked up in prison, or sent to long-term rehab.

I sometimes find files of personal papers along with family photo albums in amongst the clothing and other items in a dumpster. I always flip through the personal papers in the files to look for hidden cash. I never found any cash yet, but I like to peak at some of the paperwork and it shows me where the person lived, maybe where they had worked, and sometimes I find court papers which show that the person led a troubled life. It is then discernible by info on the paperwork, and/or the style of clothing and other items in the load, what the gender and approximate age of the former owner of the stuff was at the time their stuff was chucked out. This is how I come to reasonable conclusions about the owner’s recent death or placement in a nursing home.

Because of where I live and who lives around me, I often find loads of items in dumpsters that contain many personal memories of what an elderly person once held near and dear to them. There are many older, retired, pensioned Bethlehem Steel Mill employees and former Chevy Auto Plant worker kindsa’ folks living out their lives in inexpensive apartments all throughout my blue collar neighborhood, and one at a time, month by month, one or more of each of them either dies or ends up in a nursing home, a lot of their personal possessions sometimes ends up in dumpsters.

The retirees' heirs have to clean out their elderly parents’ or grandparents’ or aunt’s or uncle’s apartment. The heirs go through the stuff in there and take what they know as obviously valuable items, then, about a half-dozen times a year that I know of, they chuck the rest into the dumpsters out back. The family photo albums that I find while d-divin those loads get to me the most. I also find mementos from vacations taken long ago, high school graduation ceremony stuff, plaques telling of many volunteer hours given to various organizations, diplomas, framed photos from many years ago, old post cards (the front of my fridge is decorated with some), and so on. I see these things in dumpsters and always wanta’ say to the people who chucked the stuff, "Hey, man! I know ya only got so much time to spare to clean the place out and a deadline from the landlord to get it done. But couldn't ya have found some cousin or someone else in the family to give those photos and the other lifetime memorabilia to?"

All of these detective type conclusions about how some big loads of good stuff end up in a dumpster will be apparent to most of you if you ever see the same thing when d-diving.

Then I can't figure out why all the new bars of soap, new light bulbs, containers of floor cleaner, bottles of Lysol, etc. couldn't have been taken home by the heirs who cleaned the apartment out and used by them in their own homes. And some of that sh#t should not be dumped into landfills in such concentrated forms.

One lousy-human-nature-aspect of these tales of good stuff chucked into dumpsters is that in most cases there was a second hand charity store real close by where the stuff could have just as easily been donated to.

These kinds of experiences have happened to me, 5 or 7 times a year, every year, since the early 1990s. It all bums me out to some degree, but fills my home with d-dive scored daily necessities and, yeehaaaa ya gotta love it, goodies that I like owning now but couldn't have afforded to buy.

A Tip Here for Prospective or New Dumpster Divers

A tip here for prospective or new dumpster divers: whenever I find a lot of clothes or some blankets thrown out in a dumpster, I take one of the most worn out looking pieces and drape it over the edge of the dumpster to lean on, for protection from any crusted crud, as I dive harder and sort through the clothing and other items in there.

Place Good Stuff On Dumpsters Where Other Dumpster Divers and Homeless People Can See It

When I’m dumpster diving, if I find any real good blankets or coats that I can’t use or take with me to give away, I leave those blankets or coats draped or hung neatly on the dumpster. I place good pairs of shoes on the top of the dumpster.
Please consider doing this yourself when d-diving; do it for any passing homeless to see, or so that it can signal to other d-divers that there is good stuff left in there. This helps to keep usable stuff out of our landfills that are filling up fast.
In case no one takes the stuff that I leave out on a dumpster for others to take, I always try to leave it on the dumpster so that the trash collection truck driver or their helper won't have any problem scooping it into their truck as they lift and empty the dumpster.

But also consider this: leavin’ items out in plain sight will look messy and offensive to some passersby, police, neighbors or employees of the business who rents the dumpster, or residents of the apartments/condos who can see their dumpster from the windows of their homes. Consequently, this leave it out for others to see activity is best done only when you know that the dumpster is due to be emptied early the next morning.
I know which days and the usual times when dumpsters on all my regular routes are emptied.

That Darn Anti-Trespassing Law When Diving Dumpsters

That thing about being an arrestable trespasser when dumpster diving is always in the back of my head when d-diving. That's why serious divers don't make messes or other problems for dumpster owners or renters when we d-dive. All you new and prospective d-divers out there need to understand this. That trespass law is usually only used when a d-diver causes problems, or someone like a cop or store manager wants to take out their day's frustrations on someone who seems less powerful than them. And most people who see d-divers at work tend to automatically see us as down and out, no good, filthy, homeless, lunatic bums.
There are postings on the Dumpster World Forum about women d-divers dressing in their soccer mom best to avoid this unwarranted attitude of onlookers. This makes perfect sense to me.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

It Ain't Free

Dumpster diving is legitimate work.

It is a business.

It takes time and effort and a well honed set of skills to do right. It does substantial good both for modern society and Mother Nature. It serves a purpose.

Be as proud as you can when you d-dive. Ya' can't tell everybody ya' know or meet that you d-dive, but be assured that you are doing them and their loved ones a great service.

For us dumpster divers to be successful:

we must develop a good set of working skills, self disciplined safety habits, and fix 'um up skills for some of the items we find;

we have to deal with a work environment that may stink, sometimes looks nasty, and there's a lot of germs to avoid;

we have to deal with stressful situations like adolescent kids throwing rocks at us, teenage punks yelling insults at us and wanting to start trouble, 20 something year old assholes in their cars yelling shit at us and threatening to do us physical harm, older people looking at us with disgust and muttering threats of calling the cops on us;

and we have to deal with stressful situations concerning police, security guards, and employees of the businesses that own or lease dumpsters;

we must get to know when to pass up a dumpster, when to take a peak inside of one, when to grab something out of it and get gone real quick, and when to start taking a lot of stuff out to go through it to find the treasures tossed in there like they were actually worthless garbage.

Items taken possession of while dumpster diving are not free. It takes some serious work to be successful at what we d-divers do to supplement our incomes or to flat out survive in this hard, cruel world.

My Most Ridiculous Dumpster Find

The most ridiculous thing I ever found in a dumpster was dog food behind a pet store that had just tried to solicit a dollar from me to feed homeless dogs and cats. On two occasions, I had gone d-diving behind the pet store right after purchasing a 20 pound bag of primo dog chow and then I had found another bag of the exact same size, brand, and flavor in their dumpster, along with some other dog and some cat food. Each bag in the dumpster had a rip or hole in it like where maybe rats or mice had gotten to them in storage--so the store had thrown them out. I can understand that most store customers wouldn't like to buy their beloved pets any food that had been nibbled on by rat's, but homeless dogs and cats eat what the rats and mice do everyday, sometimes side by side with some rodents. For that store to ask people for money to feed homeless animals then throw out good food was a real kick in my gut. My dog ate it all just fine without any problem; she knew no difference between what I paid for in cash and what I paid for with a little time and effort.
After those two times the third time I went to the pet store the dumpster had padlocks on it. I wasn't the only one who hit it for pet food. The fourth time I went to that dumpster the lock had been cut off on one of the small side doors. I didn't like that as it was vandalism and I didn't want to be blamed for it by a pet store manger, so I kept going on through the rest of my d-diving route back there behind the shopping center. The sixth time I swung back there to do some divin' there was the pet store manager cutting open large bags of dog food and pouring it into the dumpster so that it was right well impossible for us d-divers to recover it.
What an emotional roller coaster that was==I felt good because even though I am low income I bought my dog the best food, then the store clerk makes me feel bad because I could not afford to give a measly buck to help homeless pets--I needed every dollar in my pocket to feed me and my dog, then I felt real good to get two bags for the price of one on the best dog food plus some average dog chow, then I get real pissed off when I realize that the food in the dumpster could have gone to homeless pets. That made me wonder whether the pet store charges retail or wholesale prices for the food bought with customer dollar bills and fed to homeless pets. And does the store take a tax deduction for the food given to the local volunteer organization that goes out and feeds the pets.
I see family photo albums and plenty of other stuff that I say is ridiculous to throw out, but wasting that dog food like the pet store did was about the most ridiculous thing I ever found while dumpster diving.
A note to all you homeless pet advocates: there were times when I did not know where either my or my dog's next meal was coming from, she had to eat part of my supper at times, I had little choice but to keep the food from the dumpster for her.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I Have To Average It Out

This is somethin' else! Four Sundays in a row I went out dumpster diving but found not one good thing. I really can't believe that I went on another Sunday duck n' dive but got skunked again--I did not find a thing that was even worth setting out beside the dumpsters for other people to see and take.

I have to average that out with the duck n' dive on five Sundays ago when I hit it real good at a dumpster where some woman's possessions had been discarded by someone who had obviously cleaned her home out after she had died or entered a nursing home. I see this type of dumpster load often. The conclusive clues which tell me that a person has died or gone to a nursing home are when I find old family photos, and then their personal keepsakes and memorabilia of all kinds and files full of personal papers. When this happens I think, "Jeezus kryst there you lousy, lazy, rude relative of the deceased person or victim of old age dementia, you couldn't have found someone else in the person's family who wanted those personal, family artifacts?"

In that Sunday load I came up with $43.75 in quarters. Money I desperately needed for food shopping. The money was hidden in a Noxema skin cream box which had been scooped off the woman's dressing table, or whatever, along with all her makeup, hair curlers and such and shoved into a garbage bag.
All of the woman's shampoo, rinse, bars of soap, and talcum powder supplies were in that load too. I did not need the talcum and hair care stuff, but I got me 3 new bars of Dove Soap which I did need--I was down to the end of my Ivory Soap supply and almost out till first of the month payday. When I run out of big bars of soap that I bought, I use my supply of the small, motel-hotel soap bars that I get from dumpster loads. I got a few small bars in this load too. Why someone would throw out good personal cleaning products I never know, but I usually see that in these types of dumpster loads.
I also saw some good household cleaning products in that load, but could not take it, as I ended up with all I could carry.
When divin' dumpsters, I often get stuff which we all use in our homes such as kitchen and bathroom cleaning products, light bulbs, etc.. It saves this low income, disabled veteran a considerable amount of cash each year. Beats me why someone would rather go buy that household, and also personal, cleaning stuff new when all they have to do is keep it in their vehicle till they get home, instead of dumping it.
There was about 20 pounds of costume jewelry in that load. I went through it as best I could and came up with 50 bucks worth of gold I sold at the pawn shop and also a few pieces of costume jewelry that are worth something to collectors. I haven't sold the costume stuff yet, but I sold some about 7 years ago and the 35 bucks that I got from it went right across the street to the grocery store right exactly when I needed groceries.
I also found a 1970 Dundalk High School graduation ceremony program which I donated to our local historical society--I always tell them where I get stuff that I donate to them even when it came from a dumpster. I graduated from DHS in 1968, and I got a kick out of seeing names I know on that program's list of 1970 graduates. The historical society has many yearbooks and other memorabilia from local schools for anyone to take a look at. I love adding to that collection of treasured, local memories.
That load was in a dumpster behind the local shopping center. It had been illegally dumped there. While I was divin' that load the shopping center's outside maintenance man came by to get something out of a little, locked room back there right next to where the dumpster is; that room is where the shopping center keeps its lawn mowers, rakes, shovels and such; but the maintenance man knows me as a considerate, conscientious pro-diver and just waved and smiled to me as he drove off. His teenage passenger looked a bit shocked and confused by the sight of me divin' that dumpster though. I had to take a number of trash bags full of stuff out to search them and those bags were all around on the ground when they saw me, but as always, before I left that dumpster it was all cleaned up around it.

I have no motor vehicle, so I had to take only what I could carry the 4 or 5 blocks it is from there to my home here. And I had all the weight I could manage in trash bags I had refilled to carry my stuff home in. I can't remember all that I got, but it was a real good, reasonably valuable load to strain my degenerative back diseased, aching, aging spinal column on while hauling my reusable goods away to my home. It is scary when I do that, because the medically unsanctioned strain could cause me to fall down again and not be able to get up for the 8th-9th time and put me in a friggin' nursing home myself for the rest of my life. I have had three stays totaling 5 1/2 months in hospitals and several other incidents where I was stuck in my house for days or weeks at a time when I re injured my back. But I can't just sit home all the time not doing much to bring in extra income, be it good, reusable stuff or cash. I truly need some of the things I find in dumpsters for my day to day survival.

Before I left, I placed all items such as the other 18 pounds of costume jewelry, personal care products, and such truck out on top of the dumpster and garbage so that it may be found by others, but not be a hassle to the trash collector who has to empty the dumpster in the morning. Then I walked down the alley and around the corner to where some homeless people hang out and told one of them about the remaining stuff. I hate it when they walk by and nose on into my load when they would never have found it on their own, but I also hate it when they are in need and good stuff that they can use is going to go to waste if I don't tell them about it. But then they are often the ones who make a mess of it around a dumpster, but then they are out there freezin', starvin', and stinkin', so I have to do what I am compelled to do and that is to help them when I can.

I often find good, usable items in dumpsters which I cannot use, or take with me to give away or sell. I always either set those kinds of usable items outside of the dumpster where they can be seen and taken by anyone passing by, or I place them on top of the garbage in the dumpster where the next dumpster diver can find the stuff. I never set the good stuff outside of a dumpster when it would make a mess.
One of the very most, awfullest, ignorantist thing that a dumpster diver can do is to take garbage out of dumpsters and throw that crap on the ground then leave it there. One time, when I was diving an apartment complex dumpster, a lady stuck her head out of her apartment window, took a photo of me and hollered to me that she had just done that because some ignorant pig of a person, on a previous day, had taken much of the garbage out of the dumpster and thrown it all around while dumpster diving and then had left the mess for her and her neighbors to look out their windows at and the maintenance personnel to clean up in the morning. I assured that reasonably concerned apartment resident that I would never, ever do that because, "I'm a professional."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I Got Skunked!!!

For over ten years, on almost every Sunday afternoon, I have gone out dumpster diving.
On the past three Sundays I got skunked, I didn't find a thing.
I mean skunked like when you loose at a game of Cribbage real bad, not when you end up smellin' like a Skunk after bein' exposed to funk.
This is the worst string of bad luck at duckin' and divin' that I have ever gone through.
I did not want to have to say all this, but I wanted keep up a blog published account on what my duckin' and divin' finds are, when I get them.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Duckers and Divers Are From A Wide Variety of the American Population

There are far more dumpster divers out there than most people ever know of.

Many of America's d-divers are retired individuals who have a long life of hard work comfortably behind them and are living on a good pension. They take stuff out of dumpsters for their homes, to enjoy giving away, or to sell cheaply. They often specialize in picking up non-working electrical, mechanical items to spend interesting, challenging, rewarding time while repairing the items. Then they either keep, give away the repaired items, or sell them cheap.

Some d-divers are like me. I am living on a very small disability pension but have deep driven desires to do all that I am able to. We somewhat disabled individuals who d-dive are not willing to just sit around the house watching TV, reading good books, listening to music, blankly staring into space, or just wasting away doing little or nothing. We need stuff for our homes, to enjoy giving away, or to sell cheaply. Other d-divers have full or part time jobs. They want to gather useful items for their homes, to give away, or sell cheaply. Some d-divers are homeless, jobless, and living in pure survival mode—they look for anything that will aid them in surviving their tragic situations in any way.

As far as I know, all d-divers, including the some of the homeless ones, give useful stuff to deserving people, institutions, churches, etc..

You never know who that dumpster diver over there rooting through a big-green-magical-treasure-chest may be, or how useful and valuable the stuff may be that they are saving from destruction and burial in one of America's overflowing land fills.

In the parlance of those old double entendre bumper stickers: Dumpster Divers Get Down and Dirty!

Dumpster Diving to Commit Crimes Ain't What I Do

I have been checking out several dumpster diving web sites, and there are some which are only about gathering discarded info which is useful to the diver in an illegal or immoral way. I do not do this type of dumpster diving.

Lord knows I must've passed up many, many chances to gather up info for identity theft, and certainly many, many chances to take credit card and bank account info. I may have had some chances to grab stuff that could have been used for industrial espionage, though I have no idea who would buy that garbage. Fortunately, for my peace of mind and yours, I have no idea how to use any of that info for identity theft or any other illegal, immoral purpose. And I don't wanna' know.

Other dumpster diving web sites are only about recovering tossed out, still perfectly edible food from wholesale and retail grocery outlet dumpsters. That ‘ain’t my thing’, but I respect those who do it and honor their ideals.

This series of blog postings will only be about gathering up good stuff that other people throw away or place where they expect it to be taken away to be dumped in a landfill or gathered up by some passerby for reuse or recycling.

Dumpster diving and ducking down alleys, duckin’ and divin’, to gather up discarded items often has some minor illegal aspects to it. As a side note, most people use the term curb crawling instead of duckin’, but around here where I live most trash collection trucks make their pickups in alleys behind homes, not out front by the curb. It’s all the same though when you are as successful at it as we regular duckin’, divin’, curb crawlin’ reduce-reuse-recycle types often are.

Ducking down alleys sometimes means that you have to reach into other people's yards for stuff; this is tricky; some folks don't care if you are doing a good thing for Mother Earth and our human society, they will chase you away and/or call the police because you're trespassing. My rule on this is to usually only grab what is set outside the yard for collection on trash day. You can rarely ever be 100% sure that any items are going to be set out later on trash day just because the items are setting beside trash cans that are setting inside a yard.

In most localities, by law, you aren't supposed to go into anyone's dumpster, it is trespassing, but I have never had a cop bother me whenever they saw me divin' a dumpster. It is totally illegal to dumpster dive in a few localities. I do not ever intentionally do it in front of any cops though.

That might end up being a rude affront to their police duties, and then they would have no professional choice but to chase me away or arrest me for something.

Nor have I ever had one of the guys who drives the trash trucks that empty dumpsters give me a hard time, even though I have at times told a trash truck driver what I was doing back there behind the shopping center or apartment complex. Even shopping center managers and maintenance personnel don't usually mind me doing it, because I keep it neat and clean as I take stuff out of their dumpsters—stuff that the shopping center would have had to pay for to be hauled away if I hadn't taken it myself.

But apartment complex personnel should be avoided at all times if possible; some have run me off, others have walked by and not said a word to me, or they have said something belittling to me as if I were desperately looking for a meal in there. You are more likely to be run off by apartment complex employees if they see you diving their dumpsters during normal working hours, so dive those dumpsters well after 5 PM on weekdays, well after 12 noon on Saturdays, and anytime of the day on Sundays.

Never compromise someone else's employment when duckin' and divin'. If you see someone whom you can easily identify as an employee who is working for the owner of the property which the dumpster is setting upon, anyone who would be expected by their bosses to chase you away from the property, then leave before they are forced to ask or tell you to do so. Most individuals have a hard time dealing with the sight of other people going through trash, they do not want to speak to you at all when you are doing it, don't make them have to speak to you.

The main reason I have been told not to go into someone's dumpster is because of their fear of lawsuits. And there have been lawsuits won by individuals who have allegedly gotten hurt while diving dumpsters.

My duckin' and divin' may be slightly illegal at times, but it is never immoral.

In the parlance of those old double entendre bumper stickers: Dumpster Divers Get Down and Dirty!