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

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