June 8, 2010

Dumpster Diving

On Friday afternoon, I fell into the dumpster behind Pier 1 Imports. The cause of the mishap was a delicious cardboard box in mint condition that was just out of reach.

Just as I was violating the limits of my flexibility, a truck full of rowdy teenage boys drove by the dumpster. The driver honked his horn and I tumbled into a mound of empty hurricane lamp boxes.

Things I learned from this experience:

* Dumpsters are not as confining as I imagined them to be. Mine, in fact, was quite spacious and because it was a cardboard-only container, it wasn't at all stinky.

* It took longer than I thought to get out of the dumpster. The walls are slippery little buggers.

* Children who witness their mother fall into a dumpster will either think she is super cool or a super big idiot. Despite my attempt to convince them that I belonged in the first category, they unanimously voted me into the second.

"No cardboard box is worth that kind of humiliation," my husband told me when I got home.

I beg to differ:

Isn't she beautiful?!!! I've decided to name her Ruth.

61 comments

Nick Probst said...

Old Navy has amazing boxes-not too big or too small and brand new. Plus, they don't mark them up with tons of text. Find out what day of the week they get shipments and go early. Check craigslist too, lots of people list their boxes for free after they unpack :) Good luck!

Anonymous said...

"Whither thou goest, I will go..."

Anonymous said...

someone should really make a TV show about your life. no, seriously.

I'm a Lefgren said...

Awesome, reminds me of myself before we joined the military and now I don't have to anymore!

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

Ruth is lovely. You should be proud!

Marcus and Nicole Asay said...

I used to work at Barnes & Noble. I have moved about 12 times since then and every time I have climbed into their dumpster to get their boxes-Book boxes are wonderful!!! Super sturdy! But your box is a great find also:)

cooperl788 said...

Ruth was definitely worth the dumpster-dive! It looks like she could hold so much! But seriously, the grocery store always has boxes. Just ask the produce guy if they can hold some aside. They did it all the time for me in college - we would just go pick them up in the evening or first thing in the morning (depending on when they got their shipments in).

Deanna said...

How on EARTH are you going to lift Ruth when she's full of stuffed animals and galoshes? :)

I have a bad habit of picking too-big of boxes when we move, so I'm only speaking from experience.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Ruth is beautiful. I would have done the same. Your husband should appreciate the the extent you will go to get the perfect box.
christi speights

Amy said...

My father-in-law works at a hospital and brings us wonderful boxes whenever we need them. I think they're even in pre-dumpster condition! But I bet Ruth is proud of the sacrifice you made for her.

Kim Ginsberg said...

Ruth is very happy to be saved! But I have to agree with Deanna, I too have a knack for packing overweight boxes that need to be forklifted onto the truck... Be sure Ruth is delegated to hold stuffed animals!
And your husband should be proud that you are getting a head start on the packing!

Anonymous said...

McDonalds fry boxes. They are the perfect size. Usually if you ask the manager at your local McDonalds. They'll save the boxes for you as long as you pick them up on a daily basis. Totally worth it.

Amanda said...

I would have jumped in for Ruth too! Check with Best Buy for boxes from their floor appliances. If you call they can hold them for you as well, or at least they used to.

Emily Heizer Photography said...

She's GORGEOUS.

Screw them. They just can't appreciate first class Pier 1 quality cardboard. That stuff is NICE!

Kiki said...

have you sold your home already? we have had some interest but everyone has to sell their own homes first:( i wish you and your family luck with home sale and your move. take care.

Diane J. said...

Liquor Store. The boxes are perfect for glasses since they have dividers for the bottles. Makes packing the kitchen quick.

I totally would have dived in for Ruth.

My husband gives me a hard time about picking up sod from the road. When we had removed a chunk of lawn during some construction my husband was fighting weeds and seed. I happened to be tooling down the road and what do my glorious surprise do I see? Two squares of sod that must have fell off a truck fairly recently. I scooped them up and they worked great.

Amy said...

This is one of my favorite posts you've done in a while.

I totally think that the box is good enough for the humiliation. I would say otherwise if it had been a normal dumpster with gooey ick in it. But a recycle dumpster you're good.

Mike said...

you're crazy! ... i love it... you have a lot of courage, girl!

Jen said...

Next time your kids watch you dumpster dive, take a $20 out of your purse, put it into your pocket and emerge from the center of the dumpster victoriously waving the $20 as a victory banner. Then even your most doubting children will consider you a very intelligent superhero and might be willing to jump in for the chance to find some moolah.

Lisha said...

This post totally made my day! Ruth was definately worth jumping in for. I too think your life should be made into a tv show. It would rival Seinfeld for sure. And I would have to disagree with Jen. If you jumped out of a dumpster waving money, I think your kids would be jumping in every dumpster they see. ;)

Mindy Brown said...

I have found the best moving boxes in the dumpster of Tuesday Mornings!

Rebecca said...

I had to laugh out load at your post. I am currently healing broken ribs and torn cartilidge for the same exact reason. Glad you came out unhurt!

Andrea said...

Try your local wine shop. Wine cases, especially wine shippers are great for moving.

Codi said...

McD's fry boxes definitely are the best! They're pretty square, easy to stack, fits a lot, but not too much!

Laurie said...

If you do decide to buy boxes (although, I think all the previous comments have great ideas for free ones) - Home Depot sells moving boxes. We just moved and bought our boxes there (we just weren't motivated enough to round up free ones like we've done in the past). They were the best price we could find and they worked out great for us. Good luck with it all.

Mal said...

Ya know, they probably would have given you one if you had asked.

Gigi said...

This was hilarious - only because I could totally see that happening to me.....

Good tip I got on my last move? Go to the liquor stores - they'll give you all the boxes you could possibly want.

Katie said...

Can never pass up a good box. One lady at dance bought her kids Subway and then for some reason put her cell phone in the Subway bag and chucked it into the dumpster behind the building, accidentally. She came back a couple of days later and climb into the dumpster to get it, luckily it was winter and didn't smell too badly. She did it in her skirt and heels though. Love the over 30 dumpster divin' mommas.

Karen Mortensen said...

That box would be worth it. Once I found $5 in an apartment house dumpster. I was in the 6th grade though. I love comments #1 and 2. Very good.

Karen Mortensen said...

oops. I meant 2 and 3. Sorry #1.

craftyashley said...

Love dumpster diving for boxes. My husband went to this little Vietnamese restaurant and they gave him a ton of boxes- they were relatively small (easy to carry) and all the same size- so I didn't have to break out my crazy Tetris skills loading up the moving van! Good luck!

Megan said...

Ruth is beautiful. She was totally worth it.

Tarcoulis said...

She could launch a thousand ships.

Are you planning to move with her or move into her?

The Parent Trapped said...

I come home from most shopping trips with one or more rescued boxes. Gallon of milk? Check. Loaf of bread? Check. Large cardboard box? Check.

We too are moving but this time, lucky me, we have professionals coming to pack and ship all of our stuff! (One good thing about the military.)

What do I do now with all of these lovely boxes multiplying under my bed?

Catherine Dabels said...

Any mother who has ever had to pack a family up and move them can appreciate the sacrifice made in the name of a good cardboard box..... even if that sacrifice is one's dignity.

Mindy said...

Wait. Are you back in PA??? Or is that box for making something else??

Dayna said...

That is too funny! Just yesterday I dumpster dove for boxes at Jack in the Box.

The things we must do for great packing boxes.

canadianmom said...

This post has brought back way to many painful memories for me.... having worked in Produce in Sobeys I saved all the apple boxes people asked me for and hauling them out to their car mourning the fact that they were depriving me of the act of dumping these boxes in the dumpster and gleefully pressing that little red button to squish them all together!! Then I married someone who had wanderlust and we moved EVERY single year of our 11 year marriage... after 2 years of dumpster diving, I learned to save all the boxes from every move and they are all pre-labeled!! Cherish Ruth... she will come in handy!!

Jamie said...

FABULOUS! I can hear my fifth grade students chanting, "Trash picker!" and I can see the mortified looks on your children's faces - priceless. BTW, grocery stores are always willing to give you boxes from their shipments. You just need to call and ask them to hold them for you. The bonus is that you get many different sizes and types of boxes.

vanilla said...

Fantastic. Add "Scavenger Queen" to your list of titles!

There is a little something for you over at my place-- not cardboard.

AlsoMean said...

I think it would be awesome for the Mormon family to pack all their stuff into liquor boxes and cartons from the Starbucks store, if only for the quizzical looks.

Do ask Candy to connect you with one of her clients who is unpacking boxes, free + no dumpster = good deal.

Kandi said...

Ruth, lol. Our next door neighbors are divorcing and the husband has recently moved out with his new lady friend. We don't really know them (they rent and we are friends of the owners), now she's getting ready to vacate as well and she's had a dumpster delivered to her driveway. My husband keeps threatening to go over and dumpster dive because he's convinced that she's throwing out all of her husband's things. Probably true, sad but true.

Stacey said...

Maybe you should check craigslist...people give away stacks of boxes for free!! That's where my husband got all of ours.

Anonymous said...

Today is my birthday and that story was such a great present! Thanks for the laugh! :)

Janee said...

She is a beauty. Last year I almost got picked up by a fork lift when I was scrounging boxes at the recycle facility. I got a good scolding by the driver but also a handful of perfect boxes.

Diana said...

I love that you wrote this. You fill my days with such laughter that some times you are the only thing that makes me laugh or you REMIND me to laugh! In my book...you're cool ; P

Jennifer said...

Ruth is beautiful. Congratulations.

Jo's girl said...

i totally agree that kind of effort is absolutely worth the effort. every one knows huge cardboard boxes despite great for moving stuff is wicked fun to play in

Cathryn said...

Fill her with canned goods and let your husband load her!

Anonymous said...

You should have helped your kids in and let them hand you boxes.

qandlequeen said...

I cannot judge. I would so do this. And my children learned early on that mom is a dork.

Renate Hunter said...

I love a good solid box with a good lid. Fruit boxes are great for that. Also a good box especially new appliance boxes are the best forts for kids to play in. There's nothing better than a good box. My husband thinks I'm a little weird but he just doesn't understand.......

Christine said...

That is HILARIOUS!! I'm sorry. :) If you still need boxes, they usually have a bin of used ones in the Uhaul store, all shapes and sizes, in great condition. Alisha just got a bunch of brand new heavy duty ones from the dumpster outside the Fedex place... if you are up for more dumpster diving. :) Please let me know if you need some more- I would love to help!

Molly said...

Have you ever been burned by a dumpster sitting in the afternoon sun when trying to get moving boxes? not fun.

Family of Many said...

Most department stores and even small local chain stores will save boxes for you on their truck days... all you have to do is contact the store manager, explain you are moving and in need of boxes, and usually they will tell you a day that is convienant to pick up oodles and oodles of boxes for FREE! If you are using a moving company and signed a tentative contract with them, they will give you free used packing paper and boxes (most of them out there anyway).
I have moved 5 times in the last 7 years with little assistance on each and every move. We are a family of 6 going on 7 so I call you falling in the dumpster "cool"!

MermaidMommy said...

Hey Jana, FYI, that push buggy in the picture, was recalled. We got the same one.. if you call the manufacturer they will send you the replacement part. =)

A Beaded Affair said...

Been there, done that....didn't name the box though. lol.
Lois
http://www.abeadedaffair.com

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