Urbandumpsterdiver's Blog

January 20, 2013

Dumpster Diving is a fringe lifestyle

Filed under: Uncategorized — urbandumpsterdiver @ 9:13 am

We got quite the booty the other night. We couldn’t get it all. When we came back the next night to the same place, another diver had gotten most of what was left. That’s fine, you snooze, you lose, right? Inside was Christmas T-shirts for the little ones, shoes, jewelry boxes, beach bags and lots of OTC supplies. Most of those clothes and bags will go to charity.

But diving IS a fringe lifestyle. Which leads me to the title of this article. Fringe lifestyle.

My family and my husband’s family are embarrassed by it. Before I met my husband I’d tell my family my tales. They would politely change the subject. My brother felt my life was in danger by diving, even though I had eyes in the back of my head when I went alone.

My family felt guilty that their single relative was living out of the trash can. It’s not something they can deal with. And now upon reflection, they feel guilty. Guilty they didn’t call me to see if I needed any help. I would have loved the help, but I would have never asked.

When I met my spouse and eventually he started diving with me, he didn’t flinch. It didn’t bother him at all. But his Mom was uneasy about it. A couple of times she’d ask if we were still dumpster diving. When my spouse told her yes and we give a lot of the food to the local food bank, she’d conveniently change the subject.

My family and my in-laws are embarrassed by what we do. They feel a sense of shame that their children, sister, brother, etc…is digging into the dumpster, finding trash, eating it, giving some away and stashing the rest for future preps.

They’re of the opinion that if we just vote all of the scumbags out of office or just pray all the time, we’ll be fine. It’s not that simple folks. It’s a far deeper problem than they want to admit. And maybe not fixable.

My husband and I are not embarrassed by what we do. Ever. That’s why I have this blog. To show my booty and to show others how it’s done. I love free stuff. I love helping and feeding the poor and I love my planet. I love it enough to keep unnecessary garbage out of it.vitamins (2)



jan18th (3)





  1. I would be proud learn HOW to dumpster dive from you. WherenInlive most dumpsters are either
    Locked or behind a fenced in area.

    Comment by Kathi — January 20, 2013 @ 9:34 am

  2. I can totally relate to family members not understanding your unusual lifestyle. I have a very kind mother who would take me into her home but I choose to stay in my van and .so I can live near my grown daughters. I don’t tell her about it because she wouldn’t understand and it would
    make her feel like a bad mother.
    Our folks don’t seem to understand that things have changed and we can no longer depend on big companies to pay us a living wage and give us a nice pension after 40 years of service. Americans are going to have to become increasingly more scrappy if they are going to survive.
    I heard a lady the other day who was talking about how her and her husband’s retirement monies had been wiped out by medical bills. What are they supposed to do now?
    I think what you are doing is just great. God Bless!

    Comment by Maureen — January 20, 2013 @ 11:13 am

  3. Me too.. I would dive in an instant if there was great pickin places like you have there. Most everything up here is LOCKED the heck up. Grrr..anyway.. I am over 60 and not in the greatest of shape..very short too..so have a lot against me doing it.. but
    Yes I shop the dollar store and the GOODWILL and the Salvation army..any store that is really CHEAP you will find me there.
    I have to scramble a lot to make ends meet and someday others will see the way we do things really does work. Keep it up and stay safe.. 🙂

    Comment by CAROL — January 20, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

  4. It is easy not to care what other people thing generally, when it comes to family it is much harder. I don’t dive but admire you. You are a master re-cycler. You give to others. You save perfectly good things from the garbage thus keeping less out of the landfills. They just don’t understand.

    Comment by Cheapchick — January 20, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

  5. Nor should you be embarrassed. I have worked in the stores throwing out that stuff. Perfectly good and we couldn’t sell it because of liability. Couldn’t place it beside the dumpster b/c that wouldn’t look good. Good work!

    Comment by Ryu — January 20, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

  6. Blessings for all the good you do.

    Comment by tess — January 20, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

  7. My only embarrassment is that I have crumpled under pressure to stop or be arrested. My local supermarket now has CCTV and has warned me off saying they have caught me on camera and will arrest me if they do so again. Shame on them really, but embarrassment that I haven’t stood up to see where that would take me. Maybe when the time is right and I am not needed and being arrested would be a new adventure I will start where I left off. Love to you and I am so very very proud of you. Namaste

    Comment by eclectic X — January 21, 2013 @ 1:49 am

  8. Reblogged this on eclectic X and commented:
    Joyous to share this post to get us all on the right track about waste.

    Comment by eclectic X — January 21, 2013 @ 1:53 am

  9. The thing about my tiny town is that there are 3 places marked “free stuff” where people drop off usables for others to take as they wish.
    Our dumpsters don’t have anything but trash.
    I’d have to make a 40 mile trip to get to a place to dive.

    Comment by John N — January 21, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

  10. I too find it difficult to dumpster dive but I as I walk at daylight most mornings I usually check out lots of household bins on collection day and you would be surprised what people throw out. Unit (apartment) blocks which are usually rented especailly throw out useful things. I also live near a university and often walk through the accomodation area and check bins. The best time is at the end of term and people moving out. I found a large bottle of washing detergent more than half full so carried it home. Like you I use what I need and rehouse the rest. I also collect aluminum cans and often find money and no amount is too small to pick up, mainly coins but often notes.
    I tell very few people what I do on my walks and husband accepts what I do.
    I love reading your blog and keep up the good work you do. I live Queensland Australia and have different terminology but I hope you the ‘idea’.

    Comment by Melinda — January 23, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

  11. I’m 26 I have been diving since I was 10 years old. My father introduced me to this way of living and I would have to say it’s probably one of the best things he ever taught me. I can provide for many on some occasions and I live in a large city where there is much competition. It was like this always to have competition the way there is now however I will say nobody knows the city like I do. I have my dive times scheduled almost to a t. If it weren’t for dumpster diving I would not know what to do. It’s just that simple.

    Comment by ChimiChanga — March 8, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

  12. God bless you dear. What a lovely comment. I understand your heartfelt comment. A few years ago, when I was going back and forth between bouts of employment, scarce jobs, money was really tight. I laid awake many a nights worrying if I would have enough. That feeling never leaves you.

    After I started diving and finding lots of stuff, the money issue stopped worrying me. I knew I’d be OK. Lots of time if I really needed something and couldn’t afford it, like for instance shampoo. I’d buy the smallest bottle I could get away with and usually days later I’d find 3 bottles, new.

    This economy is not by accident. It was planned. And we dumpster divers will survive any apocalypse. Whether it’s Planet X, solar flares, dollar collapse, etc. We will make it. We certainly know if food is something we should eat or toss. We follow a specific route in various parts of the city. We know the trash days, when to go by (i.e. what time) and what areas are safe and not safe.

    Now since I’m a confirmed diver, I notice EVERYTHING. I notice things I never noticed before. Diving sharpens your street awareness like no other activity.

    Please come back and comment as often as you like.

    Comment by urbandumpsterdiver — March 9, 2013 @ 1:27 am

  13. Is there anywhere in Ipswich, Queensland area that is good to dumpster dive. I am swamped by bills and paying off home. With everything going up, I need to dumpster dive for food. Any ideas anyone?

    Comment by Dolly — May 28, 2013 @ 6:24 am

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