Dumpster Diving

So there is this thing that the other Mormon medical wives do here in Pennsylvania. It's what most of us did in Junior High when we accidentally threw our retainer into the garbage at lunch time. That's right--dumpster diving.

But get this--they are really good at it. My friend Amber, she hasn't bought a single piece of furniture in years. And if that's not enough, she's gotten into the business of finding furniture at the dumpsters and selling it on Ebay--for a profit. I still remember the first time I walking with her and a few others in the morning. Her long ponytail swung behind her as she thrust her stroller forward like a general leading a battalion. "Yes," she said enthusiastically, "I found the desk at the dumpsters and TJ helped me haul it up to our apartment. I sold it for 20. Not bad for lifting it up a few steps, eh?"

Since we've been here, David and I have invested in a bed and a table. The bed we bought from an actual store (but hey, we were desperate after the air mattress) and the table we got at a garage sale. A nice lady, said her grandsons used the table as a Thomas the Train play station. Since then, the dumpster diving med-wives have made it there personal mission to help furnish our home for less than, well, less than any money.

After our two weeks, they had found us a lamp. A tall, open faced one with a black finish. Not bad. Then after a few more days, we had a desk. A small stain in the corner, but nothing to complain about. And just last week, Amber found us a couch. T
Amber knocked on our door at around 10 pm. "I've found you guys a couch," was all she said, "Do you want to come see it?"
We walked out to the dumpsters, and there sat what was soon to become our newest edition. This was not just any couch, though my friends. This was a felt-green-orange-gold vintage relic from the golden ages of the 1960's. Do we count ourselves lucky? Oh yes. We sat on the couch by the dumpster for a few minutes, seeing how it 'felt.' After a few moments, we knew that this sunken in antique had to be ours. Amber piled the cushions on top of her stroller, completely covering her little baby daughter. Then David and I attempted to heave the couch back to our apartment. I hadn't walked 20 feet, when I had to set it down. Just then a loud voice floated from the parking lot. "What a great couch! That is just the couch to get you through the first two years of medical school." David strained his neck around and I glanced over my shoulder. Approaching through the darkness was a short, jovial looking fellow who was balding. "Do you need a hand with that? That happens to be my couch."
The fellow helped us with his old couch up to our apartment. He cast one look around our bare front room and stated astutely, "Well now, this place is heavily furnished."

The medical students circulate through furniture. I think our current coach (the one we found at the dumpsters) has probably been through medical students since the early 1970's. When the med students are done with medical school, they simply leave their furniture at the dumpsters for the rest of the campus to utilize. It's a beautiful process to see.

Now in our front room sits a table, a couch, a desk, and a lamp. None of which are coordinated, or were purchased at Pier One. It doesn't look like Better Homes and Gardens or like Martha Stewart. And I couldn't be happier. Because our apartment looks like a home.


Leanna said...

I totally remember how that feels! (And I still do...) For the longest time, Lance and I only had a love seat, a TV, Lance's speakers, and a toolbox for a foot rest. Whenever company came over, we would kindly let the company take the loveseat while we sat on the floor (awkward!). But now instead of being blessed by dumpster diving, we have taken advantage of DI, so now we have a couch and a loveseat plus a real coffee table. The toolbox is no longer a part of our daily furniture. Oh and we can't forget the incredible washer we just bought last semester. Who knew how excited I would get over a washer one day? Pretty weird...Anyway, good luck with everything and keep the blogs coming!!!

E. Anona said...

Wow, I haven't been on for a while. Anyway, my mom suggested that Austin and I use food storage to build a coffee table for our front romm. (Except it would be more like a Rolled Oats table, because we don't have any coffee in our food storage.) I really like the idea of building furniture out of food. It's practicing ultimate utilitarianism.

Sky Scatcher said...

I still buy my stuff at DI, so I don't get cookie cutter, yippee, yuppie hanging on my walls. Go in the back. Great wicker and artsy shapes and weird whatever to decorate anything. Except when Tanner Warnick was here, he'd always beat me to the books.