Sift Through Others' Garbage Like A Pro

Even if you’ve never done it, you certainly must have fantasized about it. We’re talking dumpster diving, and Wise Bread has a comprehensive guide on how to refine your trash-picking skills so you can reap the bounty of free new-to-you stuff abandoned by others.

From the post:

3. Courtesy Counts

Diving is a community activity and its devotees come from all walks of life. I never forget that what is an eccentric hobby for me may be the sole means of support for someone else. Courtesy is key — not only for the property owner, but for the next diver. Leave the spot better than you found it; items strewn about only create a hazard for cars, give diving a bad name and show lack of consideration for the next guy. If a spot is particularly good, some divers flag it by setting something on top of the dumpster to differentiate it from the rest. Little acts of forethought and kindness are important to divers too.

4. Select and Reject

Not all objects survive house-to-curb equally well and I’m not above the ‘gross factor’ when it comes to certain items. My personal rule has always been to avoid anything that can’t be washed or disinfected easily. Upholstered furniture, mattresses, and some clothing immediately fall within my “no thanks” category. A thorough look-over and quick smell test can usually tell you all you need know. Remember, knowing what to reject is just as important as knowing what to grab.

Reading the story brings back fond memories of my 20s, in which 75 percent of my furniture was discovered abandoned on the streets. Some of it was infested with bugs, but they were no more messy than my roommates.

Dumpster-Diving 101: 6 Strategies for Success [Wise Bread]