We have a homestead treasure chest in our town. It is the town dump! I know that not everyone can be this fortunate – to have a dump that allows you to collect materials left by others. But for those of us that have it, it’s a wonderful resource!
Homestead Treasure chest items
Items that we can collect for free include:
Lumber – there is a lumber pile that you can take material from. You are not allowed to climb the pile, but a quick scouting each week can get you a lot of materials for building jobs. Sheets of ply and construction particle board, dimensional lumber, internal doors are very common. I have also found balustrade, ladders, pallets etc.
For some strange reason treated lumber is placed into a bin from which you can’t collect. I would have thought that people wanting to reuse treated lumber would be a better solution that having to dispose of the chemically treated wood?
Roofing shingles – while the vast majority of the material is used, broken and torn shingles, builders also drop off unused portions of packages and occasionally FULL packets. You can always find enough to roof a small shed or chicken coop.
Windows and external doors – windows of all sizes and shapes and kind (wood, aluminum and vinyl) can be had. Again, these are perfect for building a shed or chicken coop. Sometimes windows from an entire house renovation can be found…all matching and often not in very bad shape.
Plasterboard/dry wall – if you just need a small piece to make a repair, this is the place to come. You have to time it in a dry spell so you don’t just have a pile of wet sheets.
Homestead Treasure Chest II – the dump store
After all the free stuff is perused, we then have an area in which dump workers place items that they feel should be reused. This is the dump store – and normally has furniture, tools etc. We have found some wonderful items in here too…and they charge a few dollars for large items and a few cents for others.
Check the rules before you go on your treasure hunt
Before you go to your dump and start ‘collecting’ you will need to ask and make sure that ‘scrounging’ at the dump is allowed. Some places allow it. Other places it is forbidden!
Some other places always worth checking out:
Building site dumpsters – but you must get permission BEFORE you collect. Go find the owner of the site foreman and get their express permission.
Business dumpsters (especially hardware stores) – again…get permission, but these can be very worthwhile as they discard items that they believe will not be able to be sold.
Lumber mills – often allow people to pick over their discard pile before it is burnt. You need to always ASK FIRST (do you see the theme here).
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