How I found my gun, my furniture, and my microwave.
October 1, 2002 3:11 PM   Subscribe

I just took a network security course, and dumpster diving was part of the homework. 15 minutes of recon, and we came up with credit card numbers, salaries, even medical records.

crosscut shredder = yay.
posted by esch at 3:14 PM on October 1, 2002

I like the idea in principle, but my time is too valuable to root through garbage looking for hidden treasures.

The exception to this rule was the time I found a Garfield stuffed animal someone had tried to light on fire. I finished the job.
posted by hipnerd at 3:16 PM on October 1, 2002

Wow. Dumpster diving information AND a Pissing Calvin on his web page? Ladies! He's available!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:21 PM on October 1, 2002

Haha welcome to my world. My friend John has a massive reel to reel back up containing a good 15 thousand social security numbers. I only snagged what I would actually use, harddrives, monitors, printers, what have you. I've also furnished my house this way, with sofas, dressers, tables, etc that I've found on the street.

For some more tips on living for free (or cheap) check this nice little article: Off the Grid Urban Living
posted by atom128 at 3:22 PM on October 1, 2002

I've come across a great number of useful things on the side of the road... we used to grab all kinds of things and fix them... and if they weren't easily repairable, we'd just smash 'em or burn 'em!
posted by FiveFrozenFish at 3:39 PM on October 1, 2002

crosscut shredder = yay

Does this mean I should upgrade my non-crosscut shredder? I shred pretty much anything that has my name on it, and even some of the stuff addressed to "Occupant" just to be safe.
posted by illusionaire at 3:43 PM on October 1, 2002

crosscut shredder = yay

Does this mean I should upgrade my non-crosscut shredder? I shred pretty much anything that has my name on it, and even some of the stuff addressed to "Occupant" just to be safe.

Bah, get a chipper. You know, the ones that make confetti. Your information is secure and your kids will love you!
posted by Plunge at 4:45 PM on October 1, 2002

I live in a college town so a very large percentage of the popluation leaves in the summer. I get new furniture every May. You'd be amazed at what some people throw away... nice leather office chairs, fancy glass tables, even the occasional entertainment center. I haven't paid for a single piece of furniture ever since I started going to my current school.
posted by spungfoo at 5:44 PM on October 1, 2002

You found a gun in a dumpster? Maybe I've seen too many mafia movies and cop shows, but generally guns don't end up in dumpsters because the old owners decide they don't want them anymore.

Did you ever check with the police to see if it was the missing weapon in an open case?
posted by Kellydamnit at 6:09 PM on October 1, 2002

Bah, get a chipper. You know, the ones that make confetti. Your information is secure and your kids will love you!

Just don't let them watch Fargo.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:17 PM on October 1, 2002

a gun?

I don't think keeping a gun you find in a dumpster is a good idea....
posted by delmoi at 8:59 PM on October 1, 2002

Thrift stores. People throw out stuff they can't sell to the store.

OOOH!!! You mean to tell me that if I go dumpster diving I might find treasures such as those a thrift store won't accept? Fantastic!
posted by milnak at 11:24 PM on October 1, 2002

OOhhh the joys of living in a wasteful society of generous people. I started dumpster diving in 6th grade. We used to climb into this dumpster behind the toy store. What a rush. Getting free toys was the best thing as a kid. As I grew older, my fondness for junk developed even more and I am still finding cool stuff. I think the most interesting outcome of this for me is that I am able to identify 90% of the junk I find. Broken handles, TV knobs, GI joe limbs, computer memory chips, car parts, etc. In some ways I am very proud of my skills, but sometimes you find a diaper or kitty litter. :(
It been over twenty years and many tetanus booster shots later but I love the excitement of finding something of value tossed into the trash. thank you eBa
posted by lsd4all at 12:32 AM on October 2, 2002

In the recent issue of 2600,there is also a nice article that goes into great detail on diving. It also gives handy tips on how to deal with the cops if the need arises.
posted by dr_dank at 7:18 AM on October 2, 2002

Yep, a gun. I was just a little kid, so I just thought it was kinda cool - I put it on the wall in my tree fort as a "decoration," until my mom found it and put it on the living room wall in our home. It was an old, old pistol-y thing - probably an antique, and our family has had some pretty lame interior design decisions in our lifetime.

Is dumpster diving illegal? I seem to remember some journalist back in the 80s going through some politicians' garbage, and a subsequent court ruling saying that garbage is in the public domain. But I don't even recall enough to do a productive google....
posted by DenOfSizer at 8:33 AM on October 2, 2002

Since I'm mostly anonymous here: A friend and I in my university days used to slink behind the Tim Horton's right after midnight to steal their garbage bag full of leftover doughnuts. We'd bring them back to our residence and feast like the gutter kings we were, sharing our booty with whoever was brave/foolish enough to sample from the refuse buffet.

I look back on that time with a mixture of shame and gleeful satisfaction.
posted by picea at 9:03 AM on October 2, 2002

It's good training for the apocolypse, isn't it, picea? In college I lived in a militant commune where it was a requirement to forage for the house pantry behind the Food Lion once a week. We lived quite well.
posted by DenOfSizer at 9:08 AM on October 2, 2002

I used to dive outside the dorms after finals every may. Kids who couldn't fit things in their cars would toss them out instead of shipping them to their parent's houses, so I'd come away with sacks of clean clothes I'd sell at consignment shops, working VCRs, working 13" (dorm-sized) TV's, and tons of books.
posted by Kellydamnit at 10:31 AM on October 2, 2002

With the exception of my couch (which I bought new and thought I spent a sufficient amount of money on to ensure longevity but which is already falling apart after only two years and is slowly becoming a giant blue cat scratching post) and a bed frame (just the metal part) all of my furniture is hand-me-downs, thrift purchases, or trash scores.

My big interstate move before last, I was intent on shedding as many materials possessions as possible and knowing that I lived in an area that people regularly combed for cast-offs, I set a coffee table, an ancient but functional TV, and a chair out on the curb. I went back up to my apartment to get the bookshelf, and when I came back downstairs about ten minutes later, the TV and the chair were gone and a couple driving a Mercedes coup were loading the coffee table into their trunk.

And so the cycle continues...
posted by jennyb at 10:54 AM on October 2, 2002

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