The Best Way To Find Free Furniture

Dumpster Diving Diaries, Le Junque

The Best Way To Find Free Furniture

If I were a super hero, and had only one super power, it would be to make good free furniture appear and come home with me.  Check out my post and you can become a Free Furniture Super Hero too! 

I am not a super hero, just an average suburban mom.  BUT! I have managed to hone this super power and bend it to my will.  If you check out my Dumpster Diving Series and THIS post on how to find Free Furniture, you can develop this Super Power yourself and always find free furniture.

Four stops was all I had to make on this major haul.  That’s it, 4 stops!

Stop #1

On my way home from the gym on a Saturday.  I always take the residential roads home.  I live in the suburbs, and there is ALWAYS a garage sale or someone moving in the suburbs.  Close to home, I spotted a a Giant Construction Dumpster.  I need a bumper sticker that says “I brake for Dumpsters”.  Of course I had to pull over and climb up the side, peer in to see if there was anything worth rescuing.

There was!  In fact, it looked like someone had emptied half their home and put everything in the Dumpster.  As I was getting back in my car and trying to solve the problem of how to get that furniture, how to enlist Suffering Husband, the owner of the home pulled out of the driveway and right up next to me.  Oh dear, I was braced for a snarky remark, “get out of my trash”, etc…… To my surprise, the man said, “Is there anything in particular you are looking for?”  LOL!  Yes! All of it please?

I explained why I was there, he kindly let me know I could help myself to whatever I wanted and how long the Dumpster would be there.  I came back a couple of days later, opened the front door to the gates of paradise.  (The Dumpster full of free furniture) and began my multiple haul.

Here is what I scored:

This little French Nightstand which you can see in above pics. Sadly, I did not take the dresser. The drawers were either gone or were seriously buried deep, deep in the piles of construction mess.  Yes, I will go deep into the Dumpster if I know I have a good chance of finding something.  You must know your limits.  And safety!  Sometimes you just have to walk away, painful as it may be 🙂

Cut my losses and kept moving, with this cool bench!  Needs a reupholster treatment, but it’s super cool in shape:

I love a good side table, even more fun if the top is missing.  For real, I have so much reclaimed wood, you can read about it HERE and how cool will it be to transform this fussy French Side Table to an eclectic Funky Reclaimed Wood Table?  (Dog not included in Furniture Makeover)

Stop #2

Again on the way home from the gym…(the main part of my day when I actually get in my and leave my home 😉 Cruise certain “facilities” where some people go for their final move.  Furniture often appears here as next of kin don’t always want their relatives Mid Century Modern Furniture  or anything that is slightly broken and perhaps dated.  

I plan to glue the top back on and add Chalk board and Bulletin board to the empty space next to the mirror, paint and it has a new life as a Hall Tree and Central Communication Center.

Stop #3

AGAIN on the way home from the gym.  Read above information on (have no life, need to get out more).  Cruising behind Shopping Centers is an awesome way to find Free Stuff.  I found this table that must have been given the Heave ho from a local Home Goods store when it got busted for not holding up it’s part of the deal. See, bottom shelf broken, not holding up?  haha

And as if that the French Style tables were not delightful enough, I needed to cap it all off with a nice little broken French Provincial Nightstand.

Stop #4

Santa Cruz, Ca with son, enjoying a nice drive along the beach, and THIS was out front of someone’s home, along with a ton of other good stuff that I could not fit in my little Ford Escape.  Oh minivan how I sometimes miss you.  

Now it’s your turn!  HOW do you find all this free furniture?

How to Find Free Furniture Tip #1

My first piece of advice on finding Free Furniture is this:  Always be on the lookout.  Every time you get in your car, every time you take your Dog for a walk, always have the expectation that you will find some free furniture.

This was an old Settee I dragged into my office.  Our sweet (RIP) dog Keiki made herself at home on anything I hauled in. 

How to Find Free Furniture Tip #2

Cruise your neighborhood on Garage Sale Saturday.  Often the free stuff is put out after the Garage Sale Ends.

These chairs were found about a month before my oldest daughter’s HS graduation.  We were in desperate need of more patio furniture, behold, the Free Chairs that did not sell at the Garage Sale because they needed more TLC than anyone was willing to pay for.  SCORE! 

How to Find Free Furniture Tip #3

Be consistent.  Make finding Free Furniture part of your weekly routine.  If you stay consistent with where you are looking and always remember Tip #1, you will soon be finding Free Furniture with ease and may even come to possess the Super Power of Finding Free Furniture that only a Super Junker could have.

This is a picture of my very first, FIRST Dumpster Diving outing.  Can you believe the haul?  It was quite inspiring and hooked me into a habit that has become an integral part of my lifestyle, (much to the dismay of my poor family and our always overflowing garage)

How to Find Free Furniture Tip #4

Follow me here on my blog!  Catch up with my Dumpster Diving Series and check out my past Trashy Tuesday’s, tutorials and “Le Junque”.  I often share more secrets of Finding Free Furniture, the best days to go looking and how to develop your Junk or aka “Finding Free Furniture” network.

That’s it for this Trashy Tuesday. Did you find some free furniture yourself?  I would sure love to hear about it in the comments below:






  1. Patty Soriano

    Karen, what is that wonderful looking cabinet in the first picture at the top of the dumpster….toward the back. Looks like the highest thing in there. ??? You didn’t get that ???

    • GTC

      No! That’s so funny you spotted it! It was way at the top of the pile, I could have retrieved it by climbing up the ladder on the other side, but the top of it was broken and I just didn’t have the heart to add more broken and hard to get stuff to my stash 🙂

      • Patty Soriano

        I look everywhere ! Steve says I’d be a good CSI.

        • GTC

          Patty I think you are my soul sister. My eyes are ALWAYS scouting the roads and in corners, etc wherever I go. That’s how you find the good stuff!

          • Patty Soriano

            I wish you were nearby. It would be fun to go hunting with you! Are you in California, Karen? I can’t recall right now. If so, are you clear of the fires ?

  2. Michelle

    I would so love to do a free furniture search in my area, but I worry about 1) being arrested 2) being on video, being arrested 3) being shown on local tv for doing #1 & 2 ! 🙂 ~ we have local dump sites here since I live out in the “country” I say that losely since we are only 10 min from the city limits, but they will not allow you to take anything out of the dumpsters, some of the things I have seen in there just kill me, such good items going to the dump/trash that could be saved. I will stop and pick up curb items and stuff along the road though, I really enjoy your posts and ideas, keep them coming!

    • GTC

      That is so funny about fear of being caught on TV Dumpster Diving! I totally feel your pain about seeing really good things in City Dumpsters, the Dump itself! I don’t know what the laws are where you live, but many states have a pretty hands off approach to Dumpster Diving. Unless the Dumpsters are on private property and expressly states “No Dumpster Diving” most laws consider it “public property”, and the trash in the Dumpsters no longer belongs to anyone. I have on occasion been berated by someone thinking they are doing a public service by making sure that perfectly good Dresser that someone threw in the Dumpster, STAYS in the Dumpster and makes it a land fill 😉

  3. Lavern

    Thank you for this educational & inspirational story! I’m a senior & I have time to do this. I’m always looking for stuff to clean up and sell at my garage sales–we made $1,000 with eBay and garage sales in the past month! For me, the best finds ate sitting next to dumpsters at big apartment complexes. Also, our U-Haul store has an area where people can cast off anything they no longer want–like furniture & decor. Picking is good here in the desert. (from Grandma Bunny in Phoenix).

    • GTC

      Hi Lavern! Thank you so much for your sweet comment! What a wonderful new hobby/business you have created for yourself and how cool you are making so much money on EBay and Garage Sales! I am going to have to check out our local U-Haul locations to see if any of them have some junk laying around! And you are right, Apartment Dumpsters are often Gold mines! Keep up the good Junking!

  4. SH

    You are a furniture-saving, redouxing, super hero/rock star!

    • GTC

      Mwah. And you are terrible enabler 😉

  5. Florence

    Climbing in a dumpster is not something I would do at my age, but not b/c I wouldn’t want to, mind you. Physically it just wouldn’t be possible, but I’ve found plenty of other good free stuff…like an old Victrola on the side of the road. I’m almost finished with it & it’s gonna be good. Carry on sista!

  6. Jody

    Yes unfortunately we are not allowed to take anything off a lawn or a dumpster. Afraid bed bugs I suppose but gosh it was a picnic table he said I could have. Cop said no and a $50 ticket. I snuck out at 3AM and hauled it home anyway.


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