Urbandumpsterdiver's Blog

May 13, 2012

Scavenging Economy

Filed under: Uncategorized — urbandumpsterdiver @ 1:40 am

This is where we are today boys and girls. Scrapping, scavenging, dumpster diving, picking up aluminum cans, you name it, it’s all a way of making money. I read in a blog that 100 million working Americans are not working right now. I believe that, based on what I see on the road.

On a 800 mile road trip, where I’m now in the country, the backwoods, I’ve seen quite a bit in the last few weeks.

An older woman scavenging for potted plant holders and rocks for her garden. I stopped her to talk. We had a good conversation. I gave her a brand new bottle of perfume (found it in the trash, a tester) and a nice little pocket purse I had found. She was thrilled.

Another elderly woman in her 70’s dumpster diving (behind a local dollar type of store) for scrap metal, aluminum, food in cans and any other items she can sell to supplement her social security check. My husband helped her grab out of the dumpster some heavier items she could wheel home.

Garage sales are making a big comeback. Garage sales put money in your neighbor’s pocket. Many of these items are those of folks who are downsizing from a large home to an apartment or curbside recyclers who are picking up other folks discards for resale. That may mean the difference between paying your light bill or not.

We had set up a tent in our backyard for 5 months. It could house 6 people easily. In it, we put in a small cot, a blanket, a few pillows and a TV tray. One could live in it, no problem. Now since our sewer drain pipe goes all the way back, we could literally house a family in our backyard if necessary.

We purchased a massage table and a EZ-UP canopy for use in garage sales (need to keep out of the hot sun all day). The massage table is something you could sleep on OR someone could lie down on it and be worked on (i.e. massage or bodywork). It could also be used for pilates lying down.

If things fell apart we could easily help 15-20 people in an emergency situation (housing and other things) and not be crowded out of our home.

I’ve attached a picture of our tent in our backyard. It’s pretty cool.

Many of our dumpster diving finds go to our preps and the other to those in need.



  1. I do believe you are so right. It’s a big scary world out there for so many. I have been out of work for almost a year. With No unemployment,,if not for others I have leaned on for help I have no idea where I would be right now, I sold so much but also donated where I could, I fear it will only get worse as time goes on for us in the USA. There is just too much waste from those who have too much and from GOVT spending. Nice tent!!

    Comment by CAROL — May 13, 2012 @ 3:38 am

  2. I gave away a tv last week (tough to sell these days) and am sure the guy who picked it up was going to resell it – all the power to him. I couldn’t and I wanted it gone so if he is able to get a little rent money out of it good for him. Things are much better in Canada but nothing like four years ago. We are taking our house off the market this week and going to rent it out so we can start our new life on Vancouver Island. Hopefully in a year or two things will be better for everyone. If anyone has the ability to come to Canada there are lots of jobs in Alberta right now – most of them are for either those with technical skills (oil field work) or minimum wage jobs (which here that means $10 per hour) but rents are quite high so it makes it tough for people to come without a place to live lined up. It makes me so sad that the government is not doing more for the USA to help get back on their feet. The trouble is the politicians are not the ones hurting.

    Comment by Cheap Chick at Living Rich on the Cheap — May 13, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

  3. I am amazed by your finds. Where did you find your wonderful spouse? It is hard to find one like that working so hard and all. If you did help someone what would you charge them to live in your tent?

    Comment by Lisa Smith — May 13, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

  4. I met my spouse online, in a survivalist website. We talked online and then moved to talking on the phone. We talked for almost 6 weeks before we met in person. I’d been single many years. Tried the online dating thing (match and others) and it was an abysmal failure. I tell women and men, find what it is you enjoy and meet your S/O through those channels. I find it easier for women to meet men through organizations where there are tons of men, gun clubs, hunting clubs, survivalist forums and expos, etc.

    The charge to live in the tent would only be their portion of the water and electric bill, nothing more.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — May 13, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

  5. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about dumpster diving and what not. My husband recently received his last unemployment check. Luckily he was able to get a farm managing job that came with a free place to stay, but at the same time, bills still need to be paid so we are relying on just my income. I’m going to go home tonight and talk to him about the possibilities of making money and supplementing with free stuff.

    Comment by Keri — May 14, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

  6. Dumpster diving is a GREAT way to supplement your income. I’ve been doing that for many years and it’s worked out fine. I haven’t had to buy cosmetics, perfume and many of my shampoo conditioner products for 4 years. Garage sales are a good idea as well. If you live in an area that don’t have zoning laws you can set up shop for the day and sell used stuff. It’s better than nothing. If you have a garage sale, put up balloons in various colors so people can find you.

    If you’re low income, please apply for food stamps. Lord knows my husband and I have paid plenty of taxes in our lifetime. I certainly don’t begrudge those who need it. If you need it, take it. If you have children get them into a free lunch program at school. There are so many free programs out there, you just don’t know they exist. Check your local library for upcoming events for your area. Many small towns do not use the internet, they use the local newspaper. Find out what works in your community.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — May 14, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

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