Adventures in Dumpster-Diving

Apparently some of my neighbors were in such a hurry to move out yesterday that they didn't have time to sell or even properly give away about half of their household belongings. When I went to toss the trash in the dumpster early in the afternoon, it was overflowing with plenty of Perfectly Good Stuff, and surrounded by more than a roomful of decent furniture. I really liked the three-drawer dresser, which was in fine condition but couldn't think of a place to wedge it into our apartment. There were also two beds, a desk, a bench, a pile of empty three-ring binders, a box of assorted glasses and bowls, and a bunch of other stuff.

It was a hot, muggy day, and I had someplace to be, and the flies were amassing around the real garbage, and I wasn't wearing the right kind of shoes or arm protection, so I limited my scavenging to the margins of the dumpster-turned-treasure trove. I found, among other things, a quilted knapsack, two cute little beaded handbags, and a laptop case. (My current laptop case has pockets for books, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but my back doesn't agree, so I rarely use it anymore.)

I checked again when I got home last night, and the furniture had been picked clean, but there was even more stuff ("stuff" being distinguished from "trash") crammed in around the edges of the dumpster. Whoever winds up with my gift at the PCF gift exchange this Christmas is advised not to think too hard about where it might have come from.

Last week, I fished a metal planter out of the dumpster at Chez Madison. I had been semi-shopping for such a thing for weeks, but kept rejecting the ones I found for being both too small and too expensive. Then I found just what I was looking for in the garbage.

The week before last, I re-found my favorite little black jacket, which I left at my sister-in-law's parents' house after her bridal shower, and turned up in her sister's closet after the wedding. The jacket was originally found several years ago on a grand dumpster expedition during move-out week at Yale College. It was my first major dumpster operation, but I was in the company of seasoned veterans. I was expecting that furniture would be the major category of findings, but discovered soon enough that small appliances, books, office/school supplies, household cleaning products, clothes, and even food (still sealed in the original container) were among the things that privileged college kids discard when they can't fit it all in their SUV.

Seeing as how I had gotten it out of a dumpster in the first place, it wouldn't really have been a major loss to not recover my little black jacket. But I'm glad I did, because I suspect I would have attached inordinate symbolic importance to the loss and mourned it excessively. (I've lost my baby brother ... and my cute little black jacket! Woe is me!) Also, it looks really good on me.


Sarah said...

Rachel, you're a hoot!!

I went to your sidebar and saw no Ultimate Brian link, and thought, "Oh, NO! How is that gonna make him feel?!"

And then I saw where you did put him. Brava!

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