Trash Trawling

Trash trawling can be a lucrative way to save money. Many people think of trash trawling as jumping into trash bins full of rotted food or horrendously smelling trash bags. While that is a possibility for some people, not everyone has to take this route. For instance, many businesses or people (especially if they’re moving) will leave unneeded, but perfectly good items out for trash collection.


Furniture is usually one of those items left behind. Sometimes a business can’t sell an item or sometimes they have to get rid of it to make room for new stock. In these cases, they’ll usually throw them item away, even when it’s perfectly good! Families or college students who are moving are also known to sometimes discard perfectly good furniture if they don’t have the space or money to ship it. You can find a lot of furniture by checking out the items left behind by people or businesses.


The amount of electronics businesses and people throw out is astounding. So many people will trash an older model of a computer, DVD/BluRay player, television, or mp3 player once they buy a new version – and usually these older models are still in perfect condition! They might only be a year or two out of date, but the previous owner decided it wasn’t worth keeping. Some businesses also tend to discard older models when the new version is in stock. If you’re able to pick up an older, discarded model, whether it’s newly packaged or in need of refurbishing, you’ll be able to save a bunch of money.


Many people believe it’s easier to throw away an item that doesn’t work instead of trying to fix it. They’ll throw away lawn mowers or power tools, for instance. While it might cost some money to fix these items, it’ll be cheaper than buying them new – after all, with dumpster diving, you’re getting it for free anyway!


Trash trawling for appliances is similar to searching for tools, furniture, or electronics. Sometimes you’ll be able to find completely new and unused items that a business is trying to get rid of. Sometimes people no longer want their kitchen appliances. Of course, dumpster diving doesn’t guarantee that you’ll find a new, still-in-the-box appliance – you might find a bunch of very old, almost unusable items instead – but there’s always a chance you can find something in a decent condition. If you’re short on money, check out store dumpsters or dumpsters around apartment complexes or college dorms to see what someone might have thrown away.


Anyone who has tried to furnish a house or apartment knows that carpets are expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, you might be able to find carpeting or rugs that a warehouse or home decorating store is getting rid of. Chances are there will be a lot of carpeting that has never been used and is being tossed out to make room for newer stock. If you find any carpet rolls still bundled up in their warehouse packing, you can save a lot of money!

Construction Materials

Most people wouldn’t think of looking for plywood or construction materials from a dumpster. But people often leave their unneeded wood or metals at a trash site. Anyone who has built or remodeled a house knows how expensive materials can be. Picking up a stack of plywood or some metal sheeting that’s been left near a dumpster, behind a store, or in someone’s trash bin can definitely cut down the cost you’ll have to pay out of pocket.

Books and Movies

People throw away books and movies all the time – especially now that almost everything is offered on the internet. You’ve probably seen boxes of old books or DVDs on the sidewalk before – usually around trash day or with a “FREE” sign attached to the front. It never hurts to take a look through and see what might be inside. Who knows, you might find a book or movie you’ve been thinking of buying. Finding it for free will clearly save you the $5 to $10 you could have otherwise spent.


Occasionally, people who are trying to clean out their closets or who are moving will get rid of their clothes. Or big department stores will, unfortunately, throw away out of season clothes because their warehouse distributor won’t take them. Or, if you live near that warehouse distributor, you can find boxes of unworn clothes that were never sent out anywhere. Considering how expensive clothes are, this could be a great way to save some money.


Trash trawling for fresh produce isn’t recommended, but sometimes you can find boxed food that’s still edible. Supermarkets have to discard anything that’s past-expiration. But we all know that some foods, like boxed rice or noodles or cereal still tastes fine a couple months after their expiration date. Trash bins behind local markets or large supermarkets are a great place to find unopened food items.


Coupons are a great thing to look for when you’re trash trawling. So many people throw out their newspapers or advertisements with the coupons intact. And if you’re looking through a recycling bin, you don’t have to worry about encountering questionable materials.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *