Le Comprehensive Guide To Dumpster Diving, Part Deux – Le Apartments

Le Junque

Just when you thought I could not get trashy enough….

Here is MORE JUNK you need to know about me.  Click  HERE if you missed the first installment on the proper way to Dumpster Dive.

If you haven’t explored the treasures of the dumpster, then try “Le Apartment Complex”!

Apartments are the Gold Mine of all things free in furniture and Home Decor.  Almost every city and town has multiple apartment complexes.  On any given weekend, someone is moving out or moving in.  Usually, there is limited space in an apartment and it is not cost-effective to move everything in or out.

Enter the Apartment Dumpster

Often the Apartment Dumpster is an enclosed area, where there resides a dumpster, and plenty of space for furniture to land too.

Here are FAQs about Apartment Dumpster Diving:

Q.How do I find the best apartment to search?

A. Research. Done in your car.  Early morning runs.  I recommend prior to 7 a.m.  Best to go before others are leaving for work.

Q. How often and when should I search?

A. I recommend at least weekly.  Try to find out what day the trash is picked up at your local apartment complexes, you want to be sure to go the day before.  NOTE, the end of the month is typically when renters will be moving out and the pickings will be prime.  Be warned, this is the time to GO EARLY.  There are others in your city who know this trick, the competition can get fierce.


Q. What do I do if the only apartments in my area are gated?

A. Sit outside gate at about the time people are leaving for work in the morning.  Wait until a car comes out, which should be every few minutes.  Drive in fast before gate closes.

Q. Once I am inside Gated Apartment, what if the only good Dumpster is Locked?

A. 1st, peek under the gate to see if there is anything worth salvaging in there before your go to your next step.

2nd, And there is!  A peek over the gate revealed this Solid Wood Art Deco Coffee Table

3rd: Explain to friendly tenants who you are and why you need into that dumpster, ask if they have a key, often it is just the Maintenance Worker who has the key.  Either track down his/her Golf Cart, or come back later and track down his/her golf cart.  (See gated community entrance again to get back in).   The key here is FRIENDLY.  Make sure your maintenance person knows you are for real and you are “helping” them by getting rid of the trash.  I supply one of my contacts with cookies, this ensures phone calls on a regular basis should furniture end up in the locked dumpster.

Q.Should I always expect to find good stuff at apartment dumpsters?

A. Non.  Often it truly is junk.  Remind yourself that a dumpster is not one stop free furniture shopping.  More often than not, you will see something like this:

Q. What is the weirdest thing you have seen in an apartment dumpster.


Q. What is the biggest score you have had in one day of Apartment Dumpster Diving

A. End of the month, February 2012, all this:

Q. What do I do if I find something that seems to heavy, or difficult to get into the car by myself.

A. You have two options here.  Leave and try to find a friend and come back. Or, use patience, lots of nudging the thing along by itself, then carefully leverage it into your car.  Remember, you are not alone in this game.  There is competition and leaving your find is risky.

I recently was able to get this into my car by myself, remember, nudge, wedge, you can do this!

Q. What if someone questions what I am doing there?

A. Honesty is always the best policy.  The Apartment complexes usually have to pay the city trash collectors to come and haul furniture away. Remember, you are the good guy!  You are doing a SERVICE here!

This concludes Part Deux of Le Comprehensive Guide to Dumpster Diving, stay tuned for more developments.

Linking this load of trash up with these lovely blogs:


  1. Regina

    I love reading your posts You are halarious!!!!

  2. Little Bit

    Karen!!! I am such a ninny…I have no idea why I called you Michelle…That’s why I usually avoid using people’s names, I never know what will fly out of my mouth…or fingertips in this case. I’m sorry. Anyway you really are tagged! Little Bit

  3. JoAnn

    Thank you for the educational tour of how to properly dumpster dive! Now, I just need to work up the courage to go cruising the local apartment complexes…Perhaps taking a cute dog would also help??

  4. angela

    Love this!! Now, off to read part one!

  5. Nola

    Love reading your posts, you make dumpster diving find like fun! I’m just a little bit chicken to go for the gated communities but I’ve done my fair share at driving down alleys early in the morning of trash day. This morning I scored to dresser drawers in mint condition. Wall shelves here we come!

  6. Lyndsey

    The picture with the “junk” has a Kirby vacuum on the front right! OMG Not junk! I just spent $250 for a refurbished Kirby and attachments, and I felt like I was stealing it at that price. Any time you see one of those Kirbys pick it up and resell it! Even broken it’s worth $$

    • Beth law

      Awesome eyes! I missed the Kirby. I paid $2000 for my new one!!

  7. Maryann Baro

    You are too funny! I would love to go dumpster diving with you. Sounds like a lot of fun!

  8. shelly andrade

    I can see it now ~ Headline News “Security at Disney arrests mom and three children dumpster diving in Frontier Land over spring break” – lol!

  9. Mary Beth @ Cupcakes and Crinoline

    Oh my goodness, these are AWESOME tips! I only dumpster dove once…I actually made my husband do it, but I have been so tempted to make it a regular part of our couple time (he doesn’t know it yet but maybe if I throw coffee and a donut in a well-sealed bag in first he’ll follow…wish me luck!).

    I would love to have you share your tips, or anything you would like at my weekly link party (Monday’s at 8 p.m.) at http://cupcakesandcrinoline.com/

    I hope to see you there ~ have a wonderful week.

    Mary Beth

    P.S. found you through eclectically vintage

  10. Lizz

    I luv luv my apartment complex dumpster! So far I have a chair, computer desk for my BF, and a gorgeous iron frame bed! This is all from just taking out my trash, I have now started checking all the complex dumpster everyday.

    Thanks for sharing the tip series I am going to start widening my search area 😉

  11. Cat

    A coworker has recently got into making furniture to resale out of wood pallets. She searched the web and you wouldn’t believe all the items that could be made from wood pallets

  12. JAMES R.

    Most of the things you mentioned, I already know as I have been dumpster diving for over 15 years. : )
    We do not have gated communities around here where I live, so that is never a problem. We DO HAVE many many apartment complexes with TONS of dumpsters & SEVERAL TONS of recyclable goodies(furniture, pictures, sculptures, etc).

    I have furnished 3 houses with my dumpster diving. LOL and I’m not the least bit ashamed. one man’s(or woman’s) garbage, is another’s treasure.

    I still find a few surprises every now & then….like Rachel my cat.
    she was found in a dumpster with a litter of 9 kittens….I took the clan home with me, fed mama(babies were still nursing), got everyone their shots & checked over completely. when the kittens were old enough(I waited till they were 10 weeks), I took them to the no kill animal shelter(they were all adopted out in about 8 – 10 days) set mama free to do & go wherever she wanted….but she refused to leave.
    So now she sleeps with me every night(her choice, not mine).

    • GTC

      James that is the sweetest story with a very happy ending. I am so impressed you furnished three houses with Dumpster Dove goodies!!! I never cease to be amazed at what people will just toss, or set next to a dumpster. Sometimes I pick things up I know I won’t use, but will call Salvation Army to come pick them up from my home because I know someone will buy them or need them. Twice, an entire set of perfectly good dining room chairs. 12 in all. Thank you so much for stopping by to share your stories. So nice to know there are others out there doing similar things to save all our junk from land fills.

  13. Lamar Lambert

    I turned to dumpster diving when our house burned. The insurance company paid for temporary rental but much of the furniture needed to be “created” Now I am getting ready to redoux a computer desk I recovered with ASCP for our new beach condo. You definitely want to use the gloves and flash light.

  14. jj jones

    If people don’t they are crazy …found a vintage samsonite piece of luggage that was just beautiful,mirrors all sorts of stuff ,especially at high end complexes…computers, computer tables…man you should listen to this woman, no shame in her game!

  15. susan

    Hello. I love your site!! It’s very inspiring!! I was wondering how long you take to refurbish your finds. How long is too long? How much $ is too much? And how do you determine what price to assign to your re-purposed and now beautiful things?

  16. Carla

    What about bed bugs??? Are you not concerned about that???



  1. What Wood You Find in a Dumpster - Redoux Interiors - […]  For more info on how to get the most out of your Apartment Dumpster Diving experience, check HERE for…

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