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[personal profile] zdashamber
Seriously, dumpster diving is a lot of fun. You get to apply all sorts of body skills that don't come in handy all that often, there's the thrill of the hunt, the chance of doing good work and getting filthy (come on, you miss that in today's world, right?), the recycling, the imagining other people's lives...

I mentioned this on my Facebook page, but yesterday on the way home from work I passed a choice dumpster... Biking is really good for urban gleaning opportunity identification. You can tell good dumpsters because they have furniture poking out of them that isn't too broken. Sure enough, this one was full of the kind of stuff that had been sitting in a dusty warehouse for 20 years, but was otherwise completely fine. Something looked like a rolling metal cart, there was an obvious working folding table (albeit battered, but what, you're going to use your folding table without a tablecloth? Pssh no)...

I came back with the car, because hey, folding table! Can support things for a garage sale, could be supplementary workbench, otherwise out of the way! It was vertical with large boards loosely piled around it.

This is the fun part: you climb up, perch, and assess where you can stand to get an angle on the thing you want to rescue. Obviously there's the danger of standing on something that will shift or break, or slipping onto broken glass, or getting crushed. Exercise your assessment skills! And then you're one person fighting a 30-pound 6' behemoth out of a crowded 4' hole with no place to stand... Edging it around, wiggling it, shifting things to ease up on the pressure on it, using your legs to hike it up a bit, forecasting vectors...

And every thing you move, you see more stuff that might be interesting. I mean, who the hell throws away perfectly good clothes? I've seen it before, and I still don't really get it. That's what the Goodwill is for! I mean, shoes, with laces? Come on, can't you find a bum? I know they suffer from shoelace theft.

Anyway, success! I get the table out. And after all that time, I'm like, Eh, this table is dusty and heavy and too big for my car. If I still had the Volvo... But I suppose it's good to resist large furniture. And the hunt was entertaining enough. Upper body stuff and mental space assessment stuff, seriously, yay, made my day.

I've gotten some good things out of trash. High-class-looking multiple bits of wood patio lounge chairs... A multi-level pillar lamp... A slab of marble... Oh! Let me tell you this hilarious story I got from my parents. You're probably not surprised that dumpster diving is genetic/cultural: I got it from them. So, one Sunday I'm chatting with them, and Mom is talking about how she left for work in the morning and drove past an ironwork arched grape arbor sitting out with someone's trash, and marked it in her mind. But when she came home, it was gone! And she went to Dad and was all, "Man, it's too bad, there was this great grape arbor up the street, but I missed it..." And Dad is like, "When I left the house after you, I saw it too, and stopped and picked it up!" Hee! It's like the Gift of the Dumpster Diving Magi!

And a couple moves back, I got rid of absolutely everything I didn't want within half an hour by putting it out on the corner with a free sign. I mean, random stuff, like 3" thick cotton batting! And I once pulled a partially piranhized bike out of a trash can, took the bottle holder, and then left the bike out with a post on the free section of Craigslist, and it too was gone in hours.

So, once I was done rescuing 5 mil acetate sheets and examining everything else in the dumpster, I went back and washed up and posted it on Craigslist. And at least one other person was happy and got a free table.

I'm not saying that you need to take part in this level of the economy. It's just always weird to me what gets thrown away.
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