Dumpster-diving mum earns £2,000 a month by selling stuff she finds in bins

Tiffany Butler, 31, has managed to boost her income by £2,000 a month by taking on a slightly unusual hobby: going digging around in bins to find the best rubbish.

The mum earns thousands and has gained 400,000 fans online thanks to going dumpster-diving and selling off her best finds.

She started back in 2017, when she saw a video of dumpster-diving and started doing it just for fun – but soon realised it could be a lucrative career.

Tiffany, of Dallas, Texas, now spends up to three hours a day, from Monday to Friday, rummaging around in dumpsters on her ‘bin routes’, finding discarded makeup, clothes, and household appliances worth hundreds of pounds, then selling the best items for 25% of their retail value.

‘At first you get such a high out of the diving that you take anything and everything,’ Tiffany said.

‘But it got to the point where my whole house – and the garage – was overflowing with stuff.

‘Now I only take things I know I will use or can make a profit on.

‘We usually Google the retail price then knock 75% off.

‘I don’t mind, I haven’t paid for them and it feels good helping people bag some bargains!’

Tiffany, whose children, Mia, eight, and Ruxton, six, are from a previous relationship, says discovering dumpster diving changed her life.

Recalling the YouTube video that first inspired her, she said: ‘It showed two girls who were diving into department store bins.

‘I didn’t think they had a chance of finding anything good, but minutes later they were opening up boxes and boxes of high-end makeup.

‘I couldn’t believe it. I thought to myself, “I’ve got to try this”.’

A few days after watching that video, Tiffany trekked to the dumpster outside her local department store in the middle of the night – and, after looking in a few bins, found a massive box of Ulta Beauty goodies.

‘We opened the box and there was so much discontinued makeup – it was unbelievable,’ she said.

‘[My boyfriend] Daniel was adding up the retail value and it came to over $500 (£388).

‘He was more shocked than me.’

That made Tiffany realise just how much treasure could be out there hiding in bins.

She started to make regular trips to her local dumpsters, keeping a journal of her discoveries.

‘I soon realised the best places were shopping parades, rather than individual stores and made a note of the days when bins were emptied and when they had the most products to grab,’ Tiffany explains.

‘I avoid food stores at all costs – the smell of rotting fruit and veg is too much!’

After just six months, Tiffany had mapped out two dumpster diving routes that maximise the haul potential.

At first going once a week in search of discarded goodies, a year into her venture, at the beginning of 2018, she made the project a full-time job.

‘I go every day, without fail, from Monday to Friday – and have been doing that for two years,’ she said.

‘I alternate between my two routes, spending two to three hours a day on the dives.

‘If it’s a bad day, I can be done in less time – about an hour – and on a good day I could be there a hell of a while.’

Tiffany is keen to treat dumpster-diving as a job and maintain strict work/life boundaries, keeping her weekends rubbish-free.

‘Weekend diving is strictly off limits,’ she said. ‘Weekends are family time and not for rummaging around in bins.’

Some of Tiffany’s best finds include a $160 (£124) Ninja Blender, an $82 (£64) Michael Kors blouse and a $400 (£310) robotic vacuum cleaner.

Selling her finds through eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and garage sales, Tiffany estimates she makes up to $2,500 a month from dumpster-diving alone.

She has also managed to fill her four-bedroom house with what she values at around $3,500 worth of salvaged furniture, including a sofa, two chests of drawers, curtains, and a kitchen bin.

The mum shares her dumpster-diving journeys on social media, where she calls herself Dumpster Diving Mama and has more than 450,000 followers.

‘I honestly never thought it would be so popular, but people can’t get enough,’ Tiffany said.

‘I shared a few videos of my dives, which got a few hundred likes, then at the start of lockdown it all took off.

‘I guess people had nothing to do but scroll through the internet.

‘I just hope I don’t encourage too many people to dumpster dive. The monthly income is a real boost and I don’t want too much competition!

‘I’ve learnt the best way to dive is to look out for big boxes or bin bags.

‘That’s how the stores normally get rid of their discontinued products, by packing them up.

‘It’s a great way to get the most out of your time, without getting too deep into the dumpsters.’

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