It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Dumpster Diving for College Students’ Used Furniture

Don’t knock it before you’ve tried it.

Here’s a little background on how I became a person who would even consider dumpster diving:

Basically, I come from a long line of super cheap people. I grew up on the $5 dollar takeout deal from Little Caesars. My family didn’t have reliable internet before my junior year of high school so my study areas were the public library and Panera. We hoarded ketchup packets and plastic cutlery in our cars because who knows when you might need them. We saved money on dinner by making a round or two around the samples at Costco. My parents to this day have a drawer in the bathroom completely dedicated to collected hotel travel shampoos and conditioners. The answer to “Can it be fixed?” was always duct tape.

And, I might have dumpster dived a time or two.

We’re not poor or crazy hoarders either, we just have a gene that makes us take the cheap way if it exists. It’s not in my blood to turn down free anything.

So you can imagine the restraint I had to exercise this week when the college kids moving out of my neighborhood started leaving their belongings on and near the dumpster. Which, I might add, is right by our townhouse. In the past two days, the dumpster outside has become a humongous heap of used furniture and appliances, mixed in with the usual trash. My first thoughts were, boy, my landlord will have a cow. My second thought? I need to go check that shit out.

I’m proud to say I lasted 1.5 days of staring at the dumpster before I couldn’t help myself. Somebody dropped off a perfectly in good shape desk and well, now I have a desk to set my laptop on when I write. Now I have a free desk and I no longer have to suffer back spasms from hunching over my laptop on the couch. And I re-used something that just would have ended up in the dump.


Yes, you leave your pride at the door when you saunter out to dig through the trash, but you gain it back tenfold when you walk back in to show your boyfriend how thrifty you are with your almost new desk.

Like I said, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

But wear gloves.



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