Saturday, January 24, 2009

January Dumpsters

I have been looking for a long time for a small wooden drying rack.  I have regulation sized ones that I generally use for drying clothes but I have wanted a small one to sit in front of one of the heat registers for drying gloves and hats.  With two boys and snowy weather we generally have an abundance of wet winter outerwear at our house.  The register we use to dry things is in the dining room by the china cabinet. We have used the large rack because we needed something, but it was always in the way, sticking out into the room, reaching out to grab you as you went by.
But not now!  The dumpster gods have smiled up on us!  V went downtown yesterday on some errands (to the bookstore to get the latest APA style book since he has to take a test for an editorial position he has applied for) and on his way home he saw a lovely little wooden rack poking out of the top of a dumpster,  It had a crack in one of the dowel rods but with a little wood glue and duct tape it is perfect for our needs.  It's only about 8 inches wide and two and a half feet tall, so it fits almost perfectly into it's space. I tried to put in a picture but Blogger is having 'issues' this morning.
Crunchy Chicken has a post today about dumpster diving.  It is something that V has done for years (I'm a mere amateur compared to him).  We have so many wonderful things that others, generally students, have thrown out.  We have 200+ music CDs that have come from dumpsters, a trumpet, a tux, our oak TV stand, and come to think about it, the oak bookshelf headboard on our bed (queen sized).  He has scavenged computers, plants, cleaning supplies, clothing (I have a lovely green silk shirt that he found - still in it's dry cleaning bag with tags attached).  It's amazing that some people throw out.  But it's all good- well, sometimes it is garbage.  You can really tell how the economy is doing based on how good (or slim) the pickings are every year.  In a college town it is cyclical.  The big times are May (graduation) and July when most of the leases expire.  If you're not too proud to pick something from the garbage you can find some great stuff- for free.


  1. We have friends who own some campus apartment buildings, and they've pretty much furnished their house from the dumpster, not to mention finding almost full boxes of laundry detergent, etc. It's amazing what the students dump when they realize they can't fit it all in their parent's minivan!
    Fortunately, our campus Y now has a "Dump and Run" program in the spring, where students can leave usable items with them. They store it over the summer, and then have a giant "garage sale" of those items in the fall when everyone comes back, so new students caan get furnishings very cheap, and the Y makes money. It's a great idea, and makes a little dent in the amount going to the landfill.

  2. we dumpster dive too, when we see something visible. I have no problem with doing it, though I may feel a bit sheepish while "in the act" if someone comes by. We live near a Univ., too.

  3. We "curb shop" as I call it in our neighborhood. In IL we have a townhome. None of them have basements so when people buy something new, they have to throw out something to make room. Last Monday I got a box fan that looks like it's never been used. I also picked up a computer monitor (which they aren't supposed to just throw on the curb) but it has no power cord so I'm not sure if it works. I figure if anyone asks what I am doing, I'll tell them about Freecycle & how I don't like to see things go to the landfill. We have curb shopped so many things! Since we need things for the farm in WI, I just take stuff up there where we have a barn to store stuff. I hope to have a greenhouse some day & have so many pots from the curb I'll never have to buy any.
    Love your blog. Stay warm!

  4. We had one of those small racks when I was a child, but I've not seen them lately. Wonder about that....

    Some of the best pieces of furniture I've had come from "curb-side" finds (I've never actually "dumpster dived"). I remember getting a wonderful dresser in grad school from the curb of the garden-style apartment complex where I lived. The bed I still have was another find left by a woman moving out of her home. It is lovely, at least 70 years old, and has carved pineapples on the 4 sides. Its a twin bed, and many have asked how I use it, why not a new/bigger one, etc... but this is my fav. :-)

    Good eye V has to spot the rack out of the dumpster - the finds that you listed he's gotten are jaw-dropping - especially the records. You are right, so much can be learned by what people do/don't throw away. I remember reading a book (the title escapes me) about sociological analysis based solely on garbage. Considering the food waste, the furniture, clothes, paper, etc.... it can speak volumes.

  5. I remember all the stuff we left behind in college-it makes me cringe now to think of it. The Dump and run idea is a GREAT one!

  6. I absolutely loved those candied grapefruit peels! Mom and I just made them, and YUM! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Joyce- the 'Dump and run' sounds great. This year for the first time, they had a 'rummage in the ramp' taking donated/abandoned items, selling them and donating the money for flood relief.
    LisaZ- My hubby goes right in if he has to. The only time he won't is if he sees questionable items- one year he came across a dumpster that had a bag of bathroom garbage with syringes in it- he left that one alone- nothing in there was worth a needle stick!
    Barb- glad to hear someone else 'curb shops' I'm always amazed at the things that I find. I picked up a beautiful market basket from on top of a pile of garbage last spring.
    Localzone-Your bed sounds beautiful! I once helped a friend carry home a rocker that we found on the curb (we were walking home from work) It was beautiful! I think I saw that article as well about what you can tell from a culture from it's garbage. In fact, there is an entire archeological study of a landfill somewhere in the southwest (I think).
    Hickchick- live and learn. Some of the things I did in my younger days make me cringe as well. Glad you liked the grapefruit peels!

  8. I live very very near you in another small college town and it is amazing what you see thrown out. :)

  9. I've curb shopped for years - and have found lots of great stuff!


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