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A complete guide on Dumpster Diving Tips that you never knew before

Dumpster Diving Tips

Dumpster diving is a skill that you can master with ease. Once you learn to dumpster dive, many high-value products are waiting out there to be collected.

Every day an average American creates four and a half pounds of trash which means you can easily make treasure out of someone’s trash. These dumpster diving tips will surely help you be better at it and earn a handsome figure.

15 Tips for Dumpster Diving Success!

Stop wasting time by diving into dumpsters without any strategy, and check out these amazing dumpster diving tips to become an expert.

1. Always know the law and get permission

Dumpster diving is allowed in some places, while it is prohibited in others. Sometimes your state laws allow it, but when you consider the local city laws, then it is not allowed. As you always have to follow the local laws for dumpster diving, it is better to stay up to date with these laws.

Certain municipalities and localities have changed their rules and regulations about dumpster diving, and you need to know the latest rules to avoid getting in trouble. Also, remember that dumpster diving is about more than just public property. So, whenever you want to dive into a dumpster on some private property, it is best to ask for the owner’s permission.

2. Visit more dumpsters in less time

One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they visit fewer dumpsters because of the following reasons:

  • They waste too much time on every dumpster in the hope of finding something valuable
  • They don’t visit the dumpsters at the right time

You need to avoid all these mistakes to visit more dumpsters in less time. The best way to do this is by setting a timeline for your dumpster diving trip and quickly going through every dumpster. Thus, you will not be wasting a lot of time on one dumpster resulting in you covering more dumpsters.

3. Have a proper route planned before starting

one of the most effective dumpster diving tips is to plan your route before starting the trip. You need to know dumpster dive in an organized manner to save time which means less efficiency and fewer earnings. So, you need to create a route plan in the following way:

  • Shortlist the type of dumpsters you are planning to visit
  • Point out all the locations with such dumpsters
  • Create a map with your shortest route to all the dumpsters

Following this, you can have a more organized dumpster diving journey daily. The best part is that you will save time on unwanted or less important dumpsters.

Relevant article: All you need to know about Dumpster diving

Dumpster Diving Tips

4. Visit the dumpster that fulfills your needs

Every city has tons of dumpsters, and every dumpster will provide you with several types of trash. For instance, the one near restaurants may have leftover food items. The one near electronic stores may have parts or accessories of certain electronics.

The same goes for dumpsters near grocery stores, cosmetic stores, and residential units. Think strategically and identify if you are collecting or selling things for personal consumption and what type of stuff you are looking for. Now you will never have to stop by any other dumpsters because you know which ones have the stuff you are looking for.

5. Only take the things you need

Dumpster diving gives you free stuff; when we see free stuff, many of us are tempted to grab more than we need. However, when it is about dumpster diving, you don’t need to pick too much stuff because:

  • You will have to carry unnecessary things
  • Most of those items will not be highly valuable
  • You may have to maintain those
  • These things will occupy your storage space unless you get rid of them

So, always go with a mindset about the things you will be picking up and refrain from picking up unnecessary items. For instance, if you are up for collecting car parts or electronic accessories, you must go for something other than cosmetics or relevant items.

6. Have a better look by getting inside the dumpster

Going through a dumpster does not mean you only go through the top layer and skip everything underneath. Similarly, it does not mean going to the last layer of stuff after checking everything above. To get some efficiency, you need to be quick with the stuff that goes through your hands.

Make sure to explore most of the dumpster but be sure not to waste a lot of time doing so as well.

Quick Tip:

A quick tip is to instantly search inside every bag or box and decide if you are going further deep. It is because every day is different, and doing so will save time.

7. Always go dumpster diving fully equipped

You are not shopping where sales personnel will treat you with everything you need. Consider dumpster diving as if you are going on a hunt, and prepare accordingly. Here is a quick list of items that you may need:

  • A flashlight if you are going at the darker times
  • Scissors or cutting knife to conveniently open boxes and trash bags
  • Gloves, mask, and goggles
  • Reflective jacket
  • A bag or container to collect and carry items

Having these will make the entire process extremely easy for you, and on top of everything, your efficiency will increase.

Dumpster Diving Tips

8. Wear protective and old clothing

Along with the dumpster diving equipment, you can also keep a specific dress you wear for dumpster diving so that other dresses don’t get dirty over time. As you get inside the dumpsters and trash, the chances of getting filthy and permanent stains on your dress will increase.

If you do not want all your clothes to render useless, keeping a separate dress for dumpster diving is a good practice. You cannot take risks with your protection, so wear sturdy helmets. A reflective option in your attire will be a plus point, as it will make you easily visible to the traffic.

9. Do not be afraid of getting arrested

As long as dumpster diving is not prohibited in your place, you don’t need to be afraid of it. Be careful about where you are allowed and not allowed, and refrain from visiting those you are not. However, if you are in the allowed locations like the public dumpsters, there is no need to stay scared or nervous.

Be sure that you are not causing any bad activities by littering. Manage your fear and never act suspicious whenever a police officer is around. Instead, cooperate with them as much as possible. Doing so will ensure that you have a smooth dumpster diving journey.

10.  The focus on locations with upper or middle income

When planning the dumpsters to dive into, you need to think strategically. The locations with the upper class or middle class will have more valuable trash items because of higher living standards. Similarly, when you consider commercial spaces, ones with a luxury outlook will have more valuable trash.

So, it makes a good one from the dumpster diving tips to focus on neighborhoods with better income stats. Even if you have to go a little far, the stuff you collect will pay back for your efforts.

11.  Always take a companion with you

Taking a companion with you can be very helpful. As there are 2 pairs of eyes and hands looking for valuable stuff, your efficiency will significantly increase. Taking a family member along is a great idea because all the earnings stay with you. However, you can also visit the dumpsters with your friend. Remember to distribute the income and put in equal effort fairly.

Having a companion will not only increase your efficiency at collecting the trash, but it will make you significantly better at pressure handling and dealing with unwanted situations. Thus, you will have a better dumpster diving experience overall.

12. Never get fooled by locks

You may come across several locked dumpsters. If you are going through the public dumpster, chances are that some other diver has put those locks to fool others. You can get over this situation by checking if those are locked. In most cases, the padlock will stay open instead of locked.

Concerning private dumpsters, there could be actual locks protecting the trash. However, if you have asked for the owner’s permission, you can check whether the dumpster is locked. Additionally, you may request the owner to open the lock for you. In both cases, it would be a win-win situation for you.

13. Always stay quiet and discrete

Dumpster diving can sometimes get loud, even without you noticing how much noise you are making. It is a problem, especially in silent places. So, you need to be considerate about the noise you create while dumpster diving. Don’t throw stuff here and there or bash things hard inside the dumpsters. It is better to maintain silence even when you are quickly going through the stuff.

You also need to quickly and calmly place everything back into the dumpsters that you have gotten out of it and you don’t want to take it. This way, you will stay safe from any littering or disturbance charges.

Dumpster Diving Tips

14. Go early before garbage trucks arrive

Visiting the dumpsters at the right time is the key to success for a dumpster diver. It would be best if you went at the time before the garbage collection trucks arrive. However, it also needs to be the time after people get the trash out of their homes.

Similarly, it would be best to visit commercial places when they throw out the trash. It is because no garbage trucks or other divers will go through those dumpsters. So you may find the best items.

15.  Avoid dumpster diving at night when people are about to sleep

Visiting residential areas at night is not a good idea because of the following reasons:

  • Slight movement can cause a lot of disturbance
  • You may not find the best trash at that time
  • Guards and police officers are on patrol, and your chances of getting caught are higher

So, it is better to avoid visiting residential areas at night for your safety and dumpster diving efficiency. Visit these places in the morning, and you will find the best trash.


Dumpster diving is fun and profitable but always remember to respect the privacy of others. Do not trespass areas, and ensure you do not break the laws. Collect what you need and leave as soon as possible so no one can acknowledge you.

Your security must be the priority, and secondly, you must focus on the best ways to get better at it using our dumpster diving tips above.

Relevant article: All you need to know about Dumpster diving