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An Elitists Guide to Dumpster Diving - Now What?

Updated on January 23, 2010

Trash or Treasure!

Okay, now that we have gone dumpster diving or recycling or scrapping and we have a car full of crap what do we do with it! It is a good idea to have a place to put it like in storage or in a garage, and sometimes everything needs to be cleaned. So, how do we clean up what you have freshly acquired? Most of the time it is fairly simple and all it needs is a damp rag and perhaps some lysol especially if you are dealing with dust mites. Perhaps a stiff brush might do the trick to get any debris out of cracks in whatever it is that you found. I recommend washing clothes and if it is worth maybe getting a Hints from Heloise book for tips on getting out tough stains. If you find electronics, check them out and do they work? If they don't and you don't feel like recycling them right away, it may be worth it to dry them out and open them up to see if you can see and glaring issues like rust or erosion or burnt out fuses. You have your screwdrivers right, so why not get in there. I find a little sandpaper or sanding pen, or even a simple pencil eraser cleans up contacts very nicely, and if it never works again it was trash any ways. Now how to clean up food, okay man, thats on you. Now once you have figured out a way to clean up what you have, it is very important to know how to get rid of what you got.

I had a friend, Michael, he was a master of junk collecting, he said he had a lot of stuff. He had everything in the world. Hundreds of speakers, little books, and in fact big books. He had gold coins, art deco figurines, machines of all kinds, several cars, even a cherry picker. He also had a pile of clothes, we called it ‘The pile’. To get an idea of the size of the pile, take a gigantic, the biggest moving van you can find, and stuff it with clothes, then open the back gate and let the clothes out. What would be left is something resembling the pile. Michael lived in warehouse surrounded by barbed wire fences and junkyard dogs to store all his goods. He even stored people in there, drag queens in fact but that’s another story. If Michael had something you wanted he would sort of barter with you, but would never take the price. He never got rid of anything. Funny there was so much stuff that people started dumping right in front of the warehouse. He saw money, we saw junk, and he never turned the junk into money. And, well, a few years ago, my dear friend Michael died, and all his stuff was pillaged by the masses. I think it’s a sad story, he died without completing his task and spending hours worrying about it. And now five years later my other dear friend, Steve, has become the new master of the pile, and is still trying to distribute all of the stuff.

So what is the lesson to all of this? I think it is to keep the cycle of stuff moving. After recycling all that you can from your haul, if you like or need what you have found and it works with you great, put it away. With the rest, get a plan. Can you sell it at a flea market or garage sale and are you willing to put in the effort to do that? What about on Ebay? Do you have any friends off the top of your head who could benefit from what you found. Now here is where I am going to put a special mention of an organization that is dedicated to keeping things out of the landfill. and I am truly fan. You can sign up online to receive email listings of what people are desiring or are giving away and you can make requests for yourself and jump on into all of the fun. If you are having problems with a stuff build up, you can list the things on Freecycle, or even have a special garage sale called a Free Sale where you don't even have to be present, just put the stuff outside with a big sign that says 'Free' – just please be sure to clean up after you are done. Now if all else fails and you find yourself with a heap of junk, just remember where it came from and feel free to put it back there. Some things are just meant for the dump.

With all that said, please use your own discretion out there and be safe, and don't forget to keep it clean, aw, just kidding, dive on in and enjoy the opportunity to get your hands dirty and the opportunity to find some really cool stuff – for free!

Please feel free to read my other posts and to leave comments! I would love to hear about all of your treasures and dumpster diving revelations.

Why not read them all?! Other exciting hub posts that can be found in this series are:


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    • Stina Sense profile image

      Stina Sense 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thank you!!

    • peggypat profile image

      Peggy Patrick Medberry 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Great series -- funny and actually good advice!! Thanks for these hubs!

    • profile image

      Chris 7 years ago

      Love it!!!!!!!!