How to make money dumpster diving

Dumpster diving can be a great way to spend less money on groceries, but it doesn't end there. A lot of valuable stuff is put outside with the trash and it's quite feasible to make an extra buck with that. In this article we're discussing how to make money dumpster diving.

Perfectly good items

The most obvious way is to come across perfectly usable items. When going through residential trash I've found items such as a bluetooth head set and a kick scooter right in the package. I also came across furniture in mint conditions. For the bigger items you're definitely going to need a vehicle if you want to make money.

Sometimes you even come across actual money. This is mostly not much, money that fell into the couch, some cents left in a plant jar, or if you're more lucky some bills left in a bag. It's nice to find but it's rare, so don't count on this.


If you're handy, e.g. with wood or fabric and you have an eye for beauty you can also go for items that are in a less than optimal condition. A bit of paint and some extra screws can often turn trash into treasure.

Dumpster diving metal

Metals can easily make you a quick dollar. If you're lucky to find stuff like silver, gold or even platinum you can go to a jewellery store. But also less valuable but more common metals such as copper, iron, aluminum (including cans) are easy to turn into cash at recycling centers.

You can also find copper wiring inside old TVs and other electrical appliances. Do remember to be careful and only open up TVs if you know what you're doing. Kitchen appliances are a safer bet in this case.

Market prices can vary heavily over the course of months so if you have space to store stuff and you're not in need of the money right now it can pay of to hold onto it until the price is right.

Stay social

If you're competing with other dumpster divers it's best to keep a good relationship with everyone. In the long run it pays off to share (some) information and goods. Others might have a great find and give you some of that as well.

It's also smart to leave the areas you frequent for gathering in a better condition than before. Don't make a mess, always remain friendly with folks (they might even have some good metal in their basement that they want to dispose of).

How much do dumpster divers make?

Dumpster divers make between 0 and a lot of money. It's really hard to give a good answer for this.

More information

Dumpster diving tips

How to get money short term (not now)

Here we talk about ways you don't get money now, but you actually learn about the roads that exist that will take you to a better future. We do these things ourselves.

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Make with with yardsales

make money yardsales

Make money with yardsales

This is one of the best ways to make a quick buck and some people make a full on living out of this or at least have a sizeable chunk of their income coming from buying awesome stuff that rich people don't want and selling it off on Craigslist.

Here is how to do it

Make money online

You can make a lot of money on the online, even while sleeping. You just need to know how. If you're seriously interested in making money online, you will need the enthusiasm and the capacity to learn while doing. The sky is the limit with a bit of persistence (and even there, people like Richard Branson disagree). You can think of creating apps and internet sites if you know how to code (or if you're willing to learn).