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Dumpster Diving: Make & Save Money

Updated on May 9, 2011

Dumpster Diving

Dumpster Diving is the practice of going through retail and commercial dumpsters in search for new, unused products. You can find bulk food products that haven't even been opened, but one the experation date comes to the present, companies can no longer sale the goods, even if they are still edible. You may find art, furniture, technology equipment, etc.

When you decide to take part in dumpster diving, you can find yourself finding great gifts for friends, family, and co- workers. You may even luck out when redecorating your house, and find unused paints and supplies.

Watching TV, one day, I stopped to listen to a many describe the various decor around his apartment. Most of his sculptures, tables, chairs, and other decor, came from retail dumpsters, and not one of the items looked like trash to me. So, if you worry that you're being cheap around the home by dumpster diving, don't worry, most of your friends won't notice.

Before you continue reading, you need to make sure that you know and understand the laws and regulations about dumpster diving in your area, because most dumpsters are on private property, you may run into trespassing laws; there's no since getting in trouble for free products.

Anyone Can Dumpster Dive

Teenagers (Newbie Divers)
Teenagers (Newbie Divers)
Middle Aged (Practiced Divers)
Middle Aged (Practiced Divers)
Aging (Seasoned Divers)
Aging (Seasoned Divers)

How Do I Get Started, Where, and When?


Easy. You may want to scope out a few different dumpsters in order to figure out which ones may serve as the best source of loot. Once you're there, it's not that hard to figure out what you're supposed to do...


You want to look for dumpster that are free- standing and non- compacting dumpsters.

Look for non- locked dumpsters; you don't want to get in a bind where you broke into a dumpster. Remember breaking and entering is illegal.

Look for dumpsters behind offices, retail stores, and residential areas. Believe it or not, you can find some pretty nice things behind apartments and condos.

Find stores that you may be interested in- craft stores, book stores, house- ware stores, electronic stores, toy stores, even grocery stores.


You want to wait until the store is closed. Try early night time hours or early morning hours.

No matter what time you choose to go, you're going to look a little suspicious going through the trash.

Save and Make Money

If you really want to save a little money by searching through dumpsters, you have to be persistent. If you don't find anything the first time, try again, and once you find a nice provider, stick with it. You may not find anythign in a particular dumpster if you only go once a week, so you may consider every day or every other day. Remember that bigger retail chains, such as Wal- Mart, may have multiple pickups a week.

You'll save a few bucks on gifts and whatnot once you're able to unlock your true dumpster diving eyes.

You may even make a few bucks by selling what you find on Ebay, Craig's List, or other various places. The money that you make dumpster diving will depend on your persistence and seriousness for the "sport;" the more you work at it, the more you'll start to find, which means the more you have to sale.

Remember to be frugal with your money and to spend the money you earn wisely.


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    • daisydayz profile image

      Chantele Cross-Jones 

      6 years ago from Cardiff

      I really want to get up the guts to try it but I am always worried about getting caught!

    • profile image

      d-mart ftw 

      6 years ago

      d-mart is the place to shop. can get loads of nice stuff:]

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i just got a felony for dunpster diving a store was being demolished and we wanted a lil bit of the metal out of the dumpster a cop pulls up and we are in jail it really sucks stay away from the dumpsters yall bad idea

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I went on aol and was looking at the videos. There was this one video of these girls dumpster diving. So I was like what??? But when i watched the whole video I was astonished to see all of the fresh produce! So I also went on youtube and typed in Can Dumpster diving save you money? So I did and found fresh produce computers! ect. its awesome. I plan to go Dumpster Diving someday and save my family some money!! =)

    • imatellmuva profile image


      8 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

      I thought I was the only person unashamed about dumpster diving! I have some really cool wrought iron chairs on my porch from a dive.

      I don't know if there are alleys where you live, but alley shopping is the awesomest! We have, what's called Bulk Trash Pick-up. You won't believe what people get rid of. I have a large African inspired painting on my accent wall. I just repainted the frame, to give it some life. I also have a Singer Sewing machine WITH Cabinet, that was made in the early 1900's.

    • Just_Rodney profile image

      Rodney Fagan 

      10 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      I had heard about this firstly in England and did not think that it had spread or jumped across to USA. In South Africa, becouse of the poverty that we have here, the majority of the large Supermarkets, actually dont "dumpster" but donate to organised charities for distrubution.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      This is a great idea. We have pick up on front verge. And the amount of (we call it) ssavengers its amazing. Although in actual fact it is on council property so it really belongs to them once owner dumps out the front. Can find great things there though.

    • Raven King profile image

      Raven King 

      10 years ago from Cabin Fever

      Some places in Reno you can by past due date products. Once I bought ice cream that expired a year ago by accident. I realized something was strange when the ice cream was crumbly. :0

    • sunstreeks profile image


      10 years ago from Western Washington

      I admit that when I was young (10 to 12ish) I used to dumpster dive with my neighbor friends at the high school accross the street. We brought home notebooks, all sorts of writing supplies, etc. We even carried home a student desk once.

      It's alot of fun if your in one that is essentially pretty clean. As long as there isn't a bunch of rotten food around, they aren't so bad. Clean up well though afterwards ;)

    • Olive S. profile image

      Olive S. 

      10 years ago

      wow, hmmm. . . I knew a family who did this, went to their house a few times for a playdate. Their furniture was pretty nice. =) good hub.


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