Ever wonder if everything a business throws away is complete garbage? Is it possible that today’s businesses are as efficient as the Native Americans were? Sadly, most of today’s businesses throw away almost as many useful items as they sell to customers. For the individual looking at some extra cash or perhaps some extra fun, these steps on dumpster diving might be the thing for you.

The first action to perform is the gathering of supplies. You will need a sturdy pair of boots for when you step in what was supposed to be only water. Long pants and a long sleeved shirt are also helpful and recommended. There can be sharp or dangerous items in dumpsters, and the more protection on you the better. Wearing gloves is also another way to prevent handling and being cut by sharp objects. Veteran divers also suggest bringing a flash light and stepping stool to help enter and exit poorly lit dumpsters. Finally, you will need a place to store all of your wares, so make sure to bring a thick trash bag or some cardboard boxes.

The next move is to go out and find your first dumpster. Sometimes you will get lucky simply by driving around and picking dumpsters at random. The true diving fanatic, however, would carefully plan out a strategic attack. Suggested hot spots are bookstores and news stands such as Barnes & Nobles or The News Post. Items found in these dumpsters range from books to magazines to compact discs. Art and craft supply stores also are very rewarding targets because of the nature of the stores sales tactics. These stores instantly flag items like cracked mirrors or incomplete boxes of pens as trash. Supermarkets are also ideal, because food is normally safe for consumption a week or so after expiration. Just make sure to stay clear of meats and produce, as these don’t stand up to time nearly as well as preserved foods. Lastly, electronic stores and repair shops are a great place to find replacements for your broken computer or resistors for that old radio in the basement.

By now you should be ready to pull up to your first treasure trove of the night; hopefully these following hints will help keep you out of trouble. Try to inspect closed bags before tearing into them. If your dumpster is shared with a bookstore and a café, make sure you aren’t about to discover the secret ingredient that makes those Mocha Cappuccino’s so irresistible. Also if you find yourself surrounded by phone lists and credit card statements, let those be! You are looking for things that might get you some extra money, not a stay in the state penitentiary. The best thing to do is just avoid dumpsters with such contents altogether. If a police officer ever asks what you are doing, the safest thing is to tell him or her you are simply looking for boxes.

Now it is time to decide what to do with all your newly acquired items. Books and magazines should most likely be kept, given to friends or donated to libraries. Decisions for art and craft items, such as picture frames and paint, are up to your own discretion. Furniture can usually be fixed and sold through the newspaper, as can the electronics you acquired. Office supplies, however, will most likely be suited in your desk at home or the office. Finally, food should be consumed in a short period of time, since it’s expiration date is near or has already come and gone.

In the end, dumpster diving is about having fun and perhaps coming home with a few extra dollars than when you left. While in most states there is nothing illegal with dumpster diving, it is best to check with your local law enforcement offices. If you get your friends and family involved, you might find out that you get just as much enjoyment out of it as you do interesting items.