Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thrift Core's Favorite Dumpster Finds: The Top 3 of 2011

As a shameless Dumpster Diver and curbside hunter, many people ask me if I have any favorite dumpster finds. That's honestly hard to answer because I love them all; they were free. I love free. But if forced to choose, here are my favorite bits rescued from dumpsters this year:

1) This vintage Risk game board still holds a special place in my heart. One of my favorite blog posts from this year is about this piece: My Favorite Dumpster Find and a Story of Risk.

2) I was shocked to find this adorable suitcase in a dumpster behind a thrift store. It's brazenly cute, and the cryptic kid's writing scrawled on the inside only added to it's charm.

3) I Cheated: This entire haul of dumpster dived books is my third favorite. Three books from the Guerrilla Marketing set were in this one haul! They were in the paper recycling bin behind a thrift store.

Need Dumpster Diving Tips & Inspiration? Check these posts: 1) Dumpster Diving Tips for the Uninitiated and Helplessly Cheap 2) Let's Pick Trash my Comrades: Live on, Picker Revolution! 3) Dumpster Diving Updates: Inspiring You to Keep Digging

Another question I'm often asked is how frequently I dumpster dive. Very rarely. I've probably only checked the dumpsters about a dozen times this whole year, if that. I'm trying to downsize what I own, not become a hoarder! First, I want to work on organizing what I own. Once that's done, I'll get back to bringing home a selective amount of goodies.

Dumpster Divers, Remember: Take what you want, but use what you find! Happy Hunting!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. I haven't done a dumpster dive...yet. If it was right on top, I would pluck it out. Now if there was a Herman Miller or Eames piece, I would definitely crawl in that dumpster!
    I am more of a 'side of the road, curb diver'!

  2. Dumpster diving virgin here too. But I gotta say Van, I *love* that Risk board. If ever it needs a new home...Seattle awaits. ;)

    Finds like that completely inspire me to dive into the nearest dumpster, or at least peek.

  3. Rachael: I don't pick much at all these days. Even if I see a beautiful piece on the curb, I have no room for it ;) None!

    Dogs or Dollars: It's fun to try! I love being a picker instigator

  4. I am so with you on the lack of space after some major flows of junk incoming this year. I am taking the winter to sort and make decisions and move things along. I have not gone out intentionally diving but can not pass up something that calls to me from the curb or even a well timed ad. I do not check free ads daily, so when I find something calling I think I was meant to see the ad.
    Sadly, the closest thrifts have huge signs and fences deterring checking their cast offs. Afraid of liability lawsuits.
    Even more sadly the retail stores are following suit.(Kmart used to toss such wonderful things.)
    Thank goodness for homeowners who just want their excess gone.

    Thank you for sharing a best of the year post.

  5. Oh I love that you can dumpster dive. I just can't do it. I feel like a thief. I can't even do a curbside pickup. Wait, I did once when there was an old school desk just sitting there that we needed (we homeschool). But again I felt like a thief. Maybe because in my city there really isn't anything left on curbs. Our city has huge black trash bins so most things fit in them. Maybe someday I will get past the feeling like a thief. I admire you for doing it though because if someone can use it, why should it go to the landfill?

  6. dogsmom: That's true, even if all the thrift and retail shops get wise and fence/lock up their dumpster, the curbsides are abundant with treasures.

  7. Karen: Keep picking, you'll get over bad feelings eventually ;) As long as you don't make a mess, people rarely mind when you scoop up their curbside discards.

  8. Heather: It's truly amazing what people throw away! I made a tidy sum and some credit at the used book store with that pile of books.

  9. Free is definitely good! These finds are awesome and they didn't deserve to had been dumped. I'm very happy that you found them and gave them a new home. Have a nice day and happy holidays!

  10. Yadira: Sometimes I'm tempted to replace flea market trips with trips to the trash, too many good things being tossed ;)

  11. i love that risk map! i have one of those united state puzzle maps that i am eyeing on etsy and really want to get it so i can display it on the wall!

  12. I have found some amazing stuff in a dumpster, on a curb, or otherwise discarded. My favorite item, an Original 1980's Gremlin toy, a Gizmo, found sticking out of a trash can. I nabbed him, sent him through the wash and he was as good as new. I saved his furry little life!

  13. cb: 'Twas a lucky find. I'm not sure how to display it perfectly yet ;) Good luck getting a fun vintage map of your own.

    Amber: Aw, that's a rare find! Reminds me of a Roger Rabbit I once saw in the street. But a wash wouldn't have saved him. Rest in pieces, Roger.

  14. the comments weren't showing for your most recent post, van. i just wanted to wish you and yours a merry christmas. thanks for all you do through the year to share your life and inspiration. see you in 2012! :)

  15. Ana: Thank you for the very kind words! I turned my comments off on the recent post, I thought it was a silly post no one would want to comment on ;) Happy Holiday to you and yours, too!


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