Freegans are dumpster divers who rescue furniture, clothes, household items and even food cast off by others. Freegans aren’t homeless; in fact, most could easily afford to buy their own food. They’ve instead chosen to live what they believe is an ethical, unadulterated lifestyle and disassociate themselves from capitalism and consumerism.The word freegan is a combination of “free” — as in it’s free because you found it in a dumpster.” – How Stuff Works
As I glance at my latest free furniture find that needs a lot of work I smile. Who knew that years down the road the former “Ms. Shop Till You Drop” would try to follow a “semi” Freegan lifestyle.
I had no idea what I had grown into, or what I was, until Oprah did a one hour show on the subject of Freeganism. I saw a lot of people like myself employing anti-consumerist lifestyles as a way of life. We are called Freegans and use a stew of various ideas to create things, as we feel our society wastes too much money.
I have not dumpster dived for food because I draw the line somewhere and do not think my menopausal body could climb over one of those dumpsters these days, even with a step stool . Years ago in the 90’s when I was young and limber I did a few late evening ‘ bin dives” in Cleveland, Ohio for Food Not Bombs. Scavenging for bread stuff wasn’t bad and rescuing the dented canned goods and packaged broken cookies were easy achievements, but greasy food was and will forever be a one time thing for me.
Pulling into the back of Colonel Sanders that night I smelled what my future held for the next thirty minutes. Greasy cold chicken, fries, a sea of coleslaw and runny potatoe salad. If you can picture it in your mind just escalate the horror of it all by ten fold. I have never in my life wanted to run away out of “food fear” like I did that night .
My motto is “Waste not Want Not” these days. Once upon a time I used to own two rooms of clothes, fourty three pairs of shoes and sixty seven bras. What does one do with sixty seven Victoria’s Secret bras? Not one heck of a lot except take up space in drawers and hope the elastic does not give out from age.
Here are some other thing I have rescued for free or bought from thrift shops– and with a few grandiose ideas have turned them into home.
The oil painting on the back wall under the faux curtain was free. The 20 dollar couch I covered in burgundy tapestry, and added lots of throw pillows from a local thrift shop. Victorian tea table was 15 dollars and I later found a heavy marble table topper that was the same size of the top of the tea table. It was free, but my backache from carrying was not.
The Walter/ Margaret Keane Big Eyed Pictures from the 60’s. Easel picture holders made from cutlery. All bought from local thrift shops.
The 1950’s Cuba Poster, tall floral vintage Rice Holder (sells for 45.00 on Ebay) and the Vertigo Shadowbox of movie posters, ticket stubs etc. from Hitchcock’s film Vertigo. All found for free.
The fake expensive plants that are everywhere were left out in the hall when someone moved. Yes, that is my “hatch” on the second floor ceiling. (40 ft high ceiling). You open it up to get air and wait for maybe John Lockefrom the old TV show Lost to climb down and tell you to keep punching those numbers into the computer to save the world.
Thierry Mugler fashion illustrations (numbered) from the 1984 Spring Collection. I got these from an auction and four frames prints were $32.00. They even have pencil notations for which model they were going to use for each design. Heavy plastic background grates bought from a local salvage place, and I hang my pots on the same grates too.
The Clown body vertical cupboard was thrown away as it no longer had a head. I bought a film reel clock for $2.50 at a garage sale and created a head.
My kitchen table/desk that was a former glass-topped pharmaceutical table 52 inches long by 35 inches wide and weighs a ton. I purchased it for pennies and pushed it home by myself for 25 blocks.
Today our society and especially the younger generations lives with the ‘must-haves” these days- when all you have to do is open your heart and eyes- and with a few ideas you too can live cheaply off the urban land.