Dumpster Diving - Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller
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Surviving on Shoestrings by Donna Miller

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Dumpster Diving

dumpster-CC-okayedReally? Who would go dumpster diving?  At one time, I might have turned up my nose at the thought of it... but after losing everything material that we'd worked for years, I have to say, I've a new found admiration for this humble and lost art.  It can be done without disgrace. 

In this episode of Surviving on Shoestrings  I go over some of my favorite finds that would have been considered 'trash'. I've found things from a high-chair that served all of our kids (and later a stuffed teddy bear) to recycle bin diving to pack items for storage/moving/selling when we lost our home.  I also go through some do's and don'ts if you're new to the adventure that is dumpster diving!

I hope you'll listen to the show because I tend to talk more from the heart when I speak and it's my desire to help others who may be struggling and barely getting by... it does get better...even if it's not financially much better...things do get better and you can have FUN in this process.

I'd love to hear from you - please comment below.  I may read your comment as an update on an upcoming radio show!  Who knows who else YOU may encourage and inspire!

Have you ever gone dumpster diving?  Was there something that drove you to this choice or did you simply have a light bulb go on in your head that it was a viable idea? Please share your story!



Fru-gal Lisa said:

Yes, dumpster diving is something I've done for years. I've also picked from trash left on the street for curbside garbage pickup. I started this in college, when my friends showed me how. We got stuff left in store dumpsters and sold it in garage sales to earn money. Just last week, when walking my dog, I found a piece of furniture someone had put out by the curb. I quickly snagged the item and will take it to the consignment furniture place.  I have done this for several items found this way, and make a few dollars -- and 100% profit -- when they sell the stuff. So far, I've sold a large framed mirror and various chairs this way. I recently consigned a card table and a twin bed headboard. (I am struggling right now, but in better times, I'd donate this stuff to a charitable thrift store.) I also have kept various dumpster-dived items including 2 floor lamps (sans shades) 2 different times, 2 nice stereo speakers, another tabletop stereo, a lamp shade (it fit one of the aforementioned lamps), a box containing Xmas wrapping paper, bows and gift bags, a plant stand, a crockery pot (probably an antique), numerous baskets for plants, a Martha Stewart shower curtain, a large casserole dish with lid, winter sweaters, books and some side tables. Everything was perfectly usuable, usually in perfect condition. I am shocked that people put good stuff in the trash instead of, say, calling Goodwill to come get it. I live in a college town, near an affluent n'hood, and a lot of students and rich people just toss perfectly good items. If they're crazy enough to throw away good stuff, I'm crazy enough to get it and use it or sell it myself.  Trash picking is big business: we have guys cruising the streets in pickup trucks the night before garbage collection day; if they see anything metal, they grab it and take it away for recycling. My friend, who has a fireplace, grabs logs from brush piles; she puts it in a woodpile for a year and will burn it the next winter. Free firewood!

August 5, 2013 9:10 AM

Millers Grain House said:

Fru-gal Lisa.... I love hearing this testament to dumpster diving! I knew we were in good company!

Would you mind if I read your comment as a follow up to this episode on my radio show?  I'll only say your 'stage name' that you use here on the DS.  Please let me know.  I think folks need to hear this encouraging account!

Thanks for commenting!

Be Blessed!


August 5, 2013 9:31 AM

Juneflower said:

Back when I was a flea marketer, most of my merchandise was scavenged from urban trash piles and dumpsters. I had a competitor/collaborator:  both of us were out of work and we would be up before dawn, trying to be the first into a neighborhood ahead of the garbage man. When we ran out of roads, we would meet at a roadside lot to sell our newly acquired stock. I've had, sold, refinished many a great vintage piece, but my co-seller's find of a pair of African drums still makes me envious:  I could never have let go of them. I'm sleeping on garbage, sitting on it, storing my peripherals in a trashed piece, but no one could ever tell from looking.

August 7, 2013 10:29 PM

oddfox1 said:

I've recently subscribed to a neighboring area's freecycle. On it is a woman who regularly posts her "trash picked" finds. All good items. She rarely has leftovers.

While in college my roomies and I got much of our furniture that way. When a new roomate arrived with better "stuff" we'd put the not as good stuff on the curb, hang out our windows and watch to see how long it would last before some one else picked it up.

I still have some  Art Deco pieces from college days.

August 8, 2013 4:44 AM

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About Millers Grain House

Donna Miller is the wife of almost 29+ years to the love of her life Joseph, the mother of three home-school graduates and has one daughter-in-law. She is the hostess of the radio shows Your Preparation Station, Surviving on Shoestrings and Encouragement in the Kitchen . She and her husband are the Organizers of WNC Preparedness Group in Asheville, NC. She is an Adjunct Instructor for Frontier Christian University. She teaches local classes and ladies retreats for people to learn hands-on lost skills. She is a teacher, author, sought-after speaker and trainer. She and her husband are the owners of Millers Grain House and are the founders of PREPARE Magazine .

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