How to Make Money

These Designer Dumpster Divers Sell Empty Boxes and Bags for Up to $150

Updated August 8, 2016
by Jamie Cattanach
Staff Writer
dumpster diving

We all know designer names like Dior, Chanel and Burberry sell for big bucks.

But did you know that even the packaging can fetch a hefty fee?

dumpster diving
Pinky Li under Creative Commons

The New York Post recently reported on the intriguing phenomenon of luxury dumpster diving — and the impressive sums sellers get for name-brand bags and boxes that would otherwise remain in the garbage.

How much, you ask? “A store-signature purse dust cover can sell for $150 or more,” the Post reports.

Yeah, we were shocked, too. Here are the deets.

How to Make Money Dumpster Diving at Chanel or Tiffany

dumpster diving
mckrista1976 under Creative Commons

After glossy designer boutiques in Manhattan’s most famous shopping districts lock up for the night, clever scavengers emerge and congregate under the giant neon lights of the names they’re looking for.

And more often than not, they find those names… printed on “designer detritus — empty boxes, paper shopping bags, hangers, shoe and purse dust covers” that apparently share a fraction of their usual contents’ desirability.

A trash picker named Charles estimates an empty, black Chanel box could sell for $40. In perfect condition, it could fetch $60.

Although some stores slash through logos or otherwise mar their would-be valuable trash, the pickers seem to do fairly well — at least well enough to continue showing up.

But one has to wonder… who’s buying this luxury trash, anyway?

dumpster diving
samantha celera under Creative Commons

As it turns out, some folks have very good reasons to do so.

For instance, consignment store owners can use the boxes to recreate the experience of shopping at a high-end store.

Or real estate agents might use brand-name purse bags to help stage a house, creating an imagined life of luxury to woo potential homebuyers.

Other uses are even more creative. One luxury dumpster diver, a Brooklynite who calls herself Kytten Mayles, laminates Chanel shopping bags to create artwork she sells for $100 apiece.

Not bad, right? I mean, I kind of get it — I’ll admit I kept the beautiful blue box my Tiffany glasses came in long after they were bent and their lenses scratched.

Would You Dumpster Dive for Extra Cash?

dumpster diving
Sherwin McGehee/Getty Images

Feeling brave? Try the dumpster-diving side hustle for yourself.

You can make tons of money, even if you don’t live anywhere near a Tiffany store — this guy sometimes makes $2,500 a night!

Even if you’re not quite ready to poke through other people’s trash, you might be surprised at how much potential cash is sitting in your own garbage can.

Worst case scenario, you discover some interesting stuff about your neighbors (or yourself) — and require a really long and thorough shower before bed.

Happy hunting!

Your Turn: Would you dumpster dive at a luxury store to sell its empty packaging?

Jamie Cattanach is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her writing has also been featured at The Write Life, Word Riot and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.

by Jamie Cattanach
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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