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!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Down and Dirty?

In the parlance of those double-entendre bumper stickers which insinuate sexual prowess:


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

I'm A Dumpster Diver

I don't remember how I got into serious dumpster diving. It may have begun after I saw a dumpster diver on the Oprah Winfrey Show tell about finding whole cassette music collections in his apartment building’s dumpster. I am a lifelong recorded music collector, and that Oprah show sure did peak my interest.

I'm A Dumpster Diver

Sometimes I tell people that I am a professional dumpster diver.

I'm A Dumpster Diver

I have been a serious dumpster diver for well over a decade.