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Dumpster diving 101

How many of us admit to the fine art of dumpster diving or going through other people’s refuse for hidden treasure.

Look no further than any landfill to find a dumpster diver plying his trade, and don’t laugh, because one person’s trash is another’s treasure.

Antiques Roadshow, a program airing on PBS, is famous for profiling dedicated flea market browsers or antiques devotees who bring artwork or other finds to the show to determine their value.

One piece of artwork by a famous Mexican artist had been hanging in someone’s house for years, with the homeowner unaware of its value until he took it to the show when it visited Corpus Christi, Texas.

Lo and behold, it was a prime example of the artist’s early work and had been missing since the early 1900s.

Imagine the owner’s face when the art appraiser on Antiques Roadshow told him the painting was worth between $800,000 and $1 million.

I’ve never been that lucky, but I have found useful furniture at past yard sales.

A friend of mine, a noted “garbologist,” furnished his entire apartment with discarded items he found abandoned in alleyways.

It’s easy to take the discarded furniture back home and refinish it, what with all the books and television shows that demonstrate step-by-step how to get the job done.

In a somewhat unrelated note, I did some dumpster diving of my own recently, although unintentionally.

Rushing to work one day with a load of recyclable cardboard and paper, I casually tossed it into the dumpster without realizing I had tossed in a phone company payment as well.

I immediately noticed the bill sitting inside the dumpster and thought about climbing in before coming to my senses and finding the attendant, who was gracious enough to loan me a device meant to accomplish the task.

Before you toss that next load of trash or recycle that next bunch of old comic books, it may be wise to see what’s inside.