Confessions of a Dumpster Diver

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Professionals MN Broker #40288835


OK - so now you know- I love cast offs, the abandoned & forlorn objects of other people's wrath. A ding, a nick - that is nothing to me. Replace a table top - sure in fact, I have 4 legs that need a top - presto, table.

This talent (obsession) started when I was but a wee lass.  My father was a very talented inventor and re-purposer.  Almost everything would "Come in handy " someday and a lot of things did.  I rescued an old wooden bench from our local dump along with two puppies that I found homes for.  The bench I painted, decal-ed, and sold for $90.00.  What encouragement to this young entrepreneur.

Now when a church or other organization has a Vacation Bible School program, a Christmas musical. wedding or other event - I am the "go to" person.  Need  retro clocks - how many?  Top hats, fur capes and Victorian caroler's costumes - got those.  What I don't have. we will make.  Did you know that louvered bi-fold doors zip-tied together make a great background for an Indian Jones style marketplace? I have great ideas for  Fourth of July floats

A lot of rescued items make great decorative objects for staging.  Stained damask tablecloth - make pillows.  Salvaged architectural corbels look stunning hung on the wall with a pillar candle or vase of flowers on top. A  iron fence section makes a unusual headboard.

If we can do this with trash, just think of what we can do with your treasures!

Contact Re$ale Design and Home Staging to let us work our magic on your home whether you are selling or staying.  We specialize in your design dilemmas. 


zip-tie doorsIndian Jones style marketplace

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Welcome from the Brainerd Lakes - where outdoor and indoor recreational opportunites abound. Looking to buy on one of our many lakes? Ready to move up or down?  Having trouble selling your home? 

Call me!

Comments (17)

Christine Craig
Designology Interior Design - Santa Barbara, CA
Allied ASID & NKBA
First of all I love your heading...what a riot and I am right there with you Kathleen. I was always one of those that felt that one man's trash is another man's treasure. Creativity is a way of life. ;)
Jun 11, 2007 07:53 AM
Erica Howard
Take 2 Home Staging - Centerville, OH
Love it, my husband says I can no longer add to my pile of things to paint or rehab until I actually work on them!  They are I say winter projects.  I can't spend an afternoon inside during garage sale season!  Do you have any more headboard ideas!!! I need one for a newer construction that I am over budget on already!!
Jun 13, 2007 01:39 PM
Kimberly Wester
Valparaiso, IN
Kathleen, if you will excuse me, it is not dumpster diving, it is architectural salvage!  It sounds classier that way.... ;)
Jun 13, 2007 03:54 PM
Lucie Quigley
HOLT modern Home Staging - Halifax, NS
Great ideas! I love talking old furniture and making it new again. A porduct called Circa 1850 is wonderful for removing old paint and stain...although I don't think it is too great for the environment.
Jun 15, 2007 02:34 AM
Deanne Knutter
Turning Leaf Equities, LLC - Kansas City, MO
Glad to know I am not alone!  :) Do you really dumpster dive?  Because I do - and if you are really good at cultivating relationships, you can get to know the managers of stores like Crate and Barrel, Potery Barn and Restoration Hardware and you can skip the dumpster part!!!  Also, every other month our city has "bulky item pick-up" where you can throw almost anything to the curb and waste management will dispose of it.  Talk about the finds!!!!  Oh - I am soooo glad to know there are others!! 
Jun 15, 2007 01:54 PM
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

 Deanne, It is true -I do!

Kimberly, when I am butt end up it is dumpster diving, but what I pull out is Architectural Salvage for sure! 

Christine, Erica, and Deborah Thanks for the Thumbs up! 

Luci - Thank you for the info - haven't tried that one yet.

I saw a big star over a bed for a staging on someone's blog - that could probably stand on its own as a headboard.. We  commented on a blog a while back on headboards and someone had a homemade one. 

Maybe someone can add that on here if they remember. 

Jun 17, 2007 02:14 PM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,
Kathleen as a self confessed junk and thrift queen I salute your diving efforts!  I didn't see this before because I'm stayin in the Stage it Forward group too much - it's hard to break away!
Jul 03, 2007 06:16 AM
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
Karen you really must get out more ( out of Stage it Forward that is) welcome to the nitty gritty world of salvage.
Jul 03, 2007 07:42 AM
Julia Fedak
Royal LePage State Realty - Ancaster, ON

I'm missing out on a whole other world----I need to get out more!


Jul 03, 2007 07:51 AM
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA
Kathleen: I knew you were a kindred spirit. My husband, like Erica, above, will not allow me to add to my pile of treasures either. Dive On!
Jul 03, 2007 08:13 AM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,
I'm too busy diving!
Jul 03, 2007 11:55 AM
Julianna Hind
eXp Realty - Tacoma, WA
REALTOR, 206-679-4768, Tacoma Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, WA
Ha ha... I give you a 10.0!
Jul 07, 2007 12:18 PM
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
Just call me the Dumpster Diva - I guess - thanks all.
Jul 15, 2007 01:30 PM
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
It is not junk - it isa found object!! I usually keep an "object of wonder" on my coffee table and it gets conversations going.
Jul 23, 2007 04:56 AM
Kathleen Garvey
HomeSmart Cherry Creek - Denver - Denver, CO
Denver's Neighborhood Expert - Listings & Sales
My parents were dumpster divers....and some of our most prized antiques came from pick-ups on the side of the road!!  I too have been known to do a few drivebys and then scoop up the treasures!!  Thanks! Regards-Kathleen
Jul 26, 2007 02:35 AM
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals
Kathleen - way to go - do you actually stop the car or scoop them up on the drive by LOL. Sometimes I'm reading a blog & see Kathleen in a comment & wonder why I don't remember commenting on this one,  It is all your fault.
Jul 26, 2007 02:59 AM
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager

Kathleen, this is so funny...  My dad retired from the NYC Dept of Sanitation (NY's Strongest!) and when I was little, he and my mother would refer to the dump as the 'Big Store'.  Yes, I was too little understand my friends' parents would never consider taking their little girl to the dump to scour through the household piles for treasures!  I never knew this wasn't normal!  But what fun we had and things we would find!  Lamps, books, furniture, etc. 

My mom, to this day, always says "if it's free, it's for me" and most of her house is decorated with curbside finds or people just giving things away.  And, it looks good, too!  Her house was even featured in an article that the Staten Island Advance wrote about Free-Cycling a few months ago.  Everything has a story to go with it, too, which makes it more interesting!  She is a big believer in 'one man's trash is another man's treasure' and it is so true. 

Great post!

Jul 26, 2007 03:25 AM