I come from a very large family. My mother had eleven children and being frugal and saving money was not just a choice, it was a necessity. As kids, we looked forward to spring clean up days. We would go through the neighborhood and find a lot of treasures. Since we had little money for extras, this would give us many items that we could not otherwise afford.
We are a Wasteful World
One would be surprised to see what people throw away. Some people just do not want to take the time to sell something so they just throw it away. I recall finding toys, an exercise bike, a good working TV, and a lot of comics all in great condition. Between my brothers, sister and I we found many great items that would not otherwise have as a child. Is this still possible today?
It is more possible today than ever. People are always giving away or throwing away great stuff. With the wide access to the Internet, you can find sites like Craigslist where people are giving away free stuff every day. Craigslist is also a great place to save money or sell your unwanted goods. Besides the Internet, where can you find good stuff?
Most towns have a day or two a year where they offer free spring pick up on bigger things you want to get rid of. One can still find many treasures by searching the spring clean up piles; however, if you choice to do that there are some rules to follow. First rule is to always ask permission from the home owner. In my experience, if you are polite, most people will say yes. I have never had anyone say no. Second rule is to always be respectful of the property. The trash pile should be left at least as neat as before or neater than before you arrived. Even if you did not make the mess, clean it up. This will tell the homeowner that you respect them and if you return next year, they will continue to say yes. Third rule is, don’t be embarrassed. These people just want to get rid of the old stuff, they do not care who takes it. Last rule is to dress for success. This is the time you wear you old clothes but not so old that you look like you are homeless. Make sure to shower, shave, and wear clean clothes. Most people do not want people on their p[property of they look dirty or they smell.
Another place to search for hidden treasures is on a college campus in the spring. When students move out, they often leave behind most of their furniture and many other great items. They often leave behind mini refrigerators, shelving, beds, and living room furniture. These items are just thrown out by the college campus; free for the taking. One man found enough wood, on one campus, to build a shed for his animals. One can never tell what they might find in the trash. These items are not only useful for you but they can become a great source of earning extra money.
If you live near large apartment complexes, people, these are great places to find stuff to resell and earn money. Apartment complexes tend to have a high transition rate of people moving in and out. When the tenants move out, they often leave things behind which end up in the dumpster. If you are willing to get a little dirty, you can search on a regular basis. Just beware of any trespassing laws. Some complexes have a sign posted forbidding such activates. Respect those rules! You do not what to earn a reputation as a trespasser or worse yet, get arrested for trespass. I have read stories about people who have made five figure incomes from dumpster diving. They have even build solid relationships with apartment managers. These managers alert them when new items are thrown out.
Again I stress, respect the rules! Also, make sure that you are aware of trash pick up day and time. You do not want to waste your time by getting to the site after the trash was hauled off.
Do I need a Truck?
Although a truck is very handy to haul bigger items, many people who do this type of collecting get by with a minivan or even a small car. Just beware that you can only take what you can fit. If you try this as a means of earning money, start small and buy a truck as you make enough to afford it.
With any luck, you might find some treasures in the trash. In the modern days of EBay and Craigslist, it is very easy to sell just about anything. This is a great way to save money and earn money in the same process. You can keep what you want and sell what you don’t. Not only are you helping yourself, you are recycling items that would otherwise end up in the landfill. As I always point out, it should be a win-win and this type of colleting is a win-win.
The sky is the limit so get out there and start looking. Good Luck and Happy Hunting! Please share your experience or suggestions by leaving a comment below.
Please out until the next post!