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Confessions of a Dumpster Diver

I'm Mariah and I love trash. There, I said it. The truth is out!

But seriously, I love interior design and decorating and many of my favorite pieces in my own home have come straight out of the dumpster. Call it dumpster diving, picking, junking, treasure hunting, insanity; I do it and I love it and today I'm going to tell you the story of one of my favorite finds ever!

Woman and dog relaxing on bed. Cozy orange and blue home decor/bedroom decor.

Once upon a time, I was doing a TERRIBLE interior design internship towards the end of my college days. I dreaded each day of work and would slowly trek from my car, through the parking lot, past a big dumpster, across the street, and around buildings until I reached the horrible office of my terrible internship. Did I mention I had to drive over an hour just to get there in the first place?

Anyways, one day I was taking out the trash at the end of the day. In order to not have to walk ALL the way back to the office to collect my belongings and then ALL the way back again to my car to go home, I was juggling all my stuff (purse, bag, notebooks, textbooks, my giant water bottle, etc.) and a huge trash bag.

Picture frame

As I begrudgingly flung the trash into the dumpster, I saw something strange in the back of the trash area. I peaked around the bin and saw this weird looking picture. I thought it was funny and random so I got closer to snap a picture to send to my husband and that's when I saw them.

In that moment, the clouds parted, the sun shone down, and angels started singing. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw these huge metal gates! Since my camera was out, I snapped a photo to send to Nathan as well.

I was so excited I forgot to send the photo and instead ran to my car, threw my stuff in, then parked closer to the dumpster. (I don't know what the rush was. It wasn't like there was a line of other crazy people at this dumper.) I grabbed the gates, shoved them in my car (they JUST fit!) and sped off on a dumpster dive high!

Iron gates

I had to tell someone about this awesome find! But I could't call my husband. We had only been married about a year and I couldn't have him thinking I was crazy (yet)! I called my mom instead (she would understand) and all I could do was shout "I HAVE GATES!" She eventually understood and got pretty excited too.

An hour later, I pulled up in my driveway and ran upstairs. I told Nathan I needed his help carrying something upstairs. Yeah, he thought I was crazy and yeah, he helped me take the gates upstairs.

Finding these gates was a much needed happy moment during that bleak internship and I've since re-purposed them to be my headboard or just decorative wall art in our homes. This is still one of my favorite finds and the gates brighten my day every time I see them. For me, they serve as a reminder that you can find glimmers of hope or happiness in the most unexpected place at the most unexpected time.

Iron gates. Cozy home decor. Credenza with books, vases, and other decorations.


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