Thursday, March 4, 2010
With the purse strings being drawn ever tighter among consumers, people are being forced toward more drastic action. Recently, garage sales have been en vogue, as people looking to make some quick cash are meeting those looking to save money by purchasing used items rather than new. But as the recession drags on, there is a new trend sweeping cities and towns. It is known as trash scavenging or ‘dumpster diving’ – and no, this isn’t your run of the mill college version where kids are grabbing milk crates and plywood to make coffee tables. Next trash day in your area, you might want to take a look around or drive through the upscale neighborhoods and see what’s sitting on the curb. People are getting rid of all sorts of good stuff. You might be surprised!
You can make good money if you have the time and know how to collect metals for resale. Recyclable material like soda cans, or scrap metal salvaged from appliances, tools, plumbing materials, and other household items that are set out as trash can typically be turned in at recycling centers or salvage yards for a price per pound payout.
You might be surprised at the types of useful construction material people will throw away, especially after they have completed a home renovation or other improvement project. Wood, cinderblocks, bricks, sand, shingles, metal piping, etc. are often set on the curb for the dump unless an enterprising person with projects of their own comes along with an eye for free materials.
Getting furniture on garbage day can be hit or miss. If it rained the previous night, you might be out of luck when it comes to such items as sofas, sofa chairs, and mattresses. You can find some good home furnishings if you choose selectively and you can always sell or throw out what you don’t want later. You will have to be careful though and use common sense with some types of items, as they can have mysterious odors, stains, or bug infestations. If someone is clearing out their home due to a bedbug infestation, the last thing you want to do is pick up a mattress filled with the little critters and give them a new home.
By thoroughly inspecting items before you take them, you can protect yourself. I tend to leave furniture in the garage for a week or two and take a look at it again before making a real decision as to whether I really want to keep them, resell them or put them back out in the trash. While you’re better protected from issues when picking up dressers, chests, tables, desks, television cabinets, and other furniture made from non-fabric materials, you still can’t assume there aren’t pests hidden inside them.
Children’s toys are probably one of the most prevalent items of good quality found in the shopping center of household garbage. From bicycles to stand up sandboxes, and from ride-in cars to wagons, there is a plethora of kid’s toys that might only need a good scrub down before being ready for play. Youngsters often don’t know the difference between “brand new” and “found in the trash,” and who’s going to know besides you unless you tell them? Last summer we found a water table in near perfect condition that would have cost us nearly $100 if we had bought it new.