Pollyanna Dives In

Lyda here. I’m a member of a cultural phemonmenon and I didn’t even know it.

Yep. I’m a dumpster diver. I actually don’t jump right into dumpsters. Because – ew!  I do pick up useful items on the street and from other places, including dumpsters. Some are used for my various art projects. Some are used in my home or garden.

Ya’ll know you can get lots of stuff really cheap at Goodwill and places like that. Garage sales are another good chance to find treasures.

But off the street is free.

Yes, I pick stuff up off the street. The Resident Sith Master is mortified by this, even though he loves some of the things I have recovered.  I’ve picked up baskets, plant pots, construction leftovers, and other useful stuff. I have furniture – 2 patio chairs, an ottoman, and two office chairs – I picked up off the street. I paint or recover or fix stuff as needed.

All I had to do was drive around my neighborhood. Where I live, the custom is to put unwanted stuff on the curb and hope someone carries it off.

I love trolling the streets apres-garage sales.

What? It says “skinflint” in the tags, doesn’t it?

And I’m not alone. There’s a Goddess of Garbage (check out the pictures).

I’m not a Freegan – for one thing, I don’t dumpster dive for food. But I do like reusing and recycling things that would otherwise end up in the landfill.

I collect natural objects – branches, pine cones, and such – as well as manmade things. I make art projects out of found objects. I used a found door panel as a frame for one of my photography collages. I made a mixed media piece with trash found in a university parking garage over the course of a month – I was working there at the time. I was amazed at the trashy ways of the students. I chose not to pick up the used condom. Ya’ll will agree, I made the right decision there.

When I visited Gorgeous and Available Engineer brother a few years ago, we helped one of his friends gather scattered debris in his yard before a party (the house is in the country, and they are restoring it as they can). I wanted to bring many things home with me, but I thought it might be hard to get them through the airport detectors. There were pieces of old machinery and farm implements that had rusted and decayed into beautiful shapes. There was an old mattress that was nothing but the rusted coiled springs, which would have made an awesome trellis in a garden. GAAE brother said I should learn welding so I can make sculptures out of this kind of found metal. Sounds awesome to me.

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6 thoughts on “Pollyanna Dives In

  1. savanvleck

    If you live near a college, try diving the day they move out of the dorm. We moved oldest boy out of his first dorm. He was last of four roommates and we got a great little table, dishes, all kinds of stuff. Of course, we had to clean up the nasties too. You needed a haz mat suit to clean the bathroom and refrigerator

    Reply
  2. lyda Post author

    Ewww – dorm bathroom! And the frigs, yuck.

    Great suggestion – the end of the year is the perfect time to dumpster dive at a college.

    The end of the month is a bonanza at some apartment complexes because of moving. I have friends who have pretty much furnished their apartment this way.

    Reply
  3. annaliza

    Especially the more expensive apartment complexes. A friend of mine got a working TV with absolutely nothing wrong with it that way. His motto was “If it’s free, it’s for me!”

    I think I like the phrase “urban foraging”–it covers all the different forms besides dumpsters. You know, like the drive-by sidewalk pick-up thing.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Pollyanna’s 500th Post! And the Crowd Goes Wild! « Pollyanna Rainbow Sunshine and the Needles of Doom

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