Top 5 Reasons to Dive into a Dumpster Today

While eating out currently sits comfortably in slot number 31 on our list of most popular hobbies, we have a feeling the financial crisis will cause a drop in eating out and a high spike in the sport of dumpster diving. Now don’t go running the other direction–dumpster diving (a growing hobby among the financially savvy in which you, well, dive into a dumpster in quest of food, furniture, etc.) is actually a pretty cool hobby. And we’ll tell you why:

1. Because You’re Poor (Or Just Cheap)

Dumpster diving = perfection for people who want to save money. It’s free & fun. It saves you money on groceries and who-knows-what-else-you-find. And it’s a great way to begin a new frugal lifestyle. So shred up the credit cards, get rid of the luxuries, and dive on in…

2. Because You’re Quirky Like That

Don’t get us wrong: we don’t don’t promote hobbies solely for their trendy/quirky/cool status. But, well, you are quirky and adventurous, aren’t you? Isn’t that why you’re reading NotSoBoringLife in the first place? You love experiencing new things–and trust us, dumpster diving is a new experience at its very finest.

3. Because It’s Practical

Not only is it an unusual way to spend a Saturday night (and a great first date experience) but it’s also a way to accomplish the oft despised chore of grocery shopping. Practicality at its best!

4. Because The Environment Will Love You

Reduce, reuse, recycle–right? By diving headfirst into the dumpster rather than splurging at the grocery store, you’re singlehandedly saving the environment. OK, so that may be an exxageration. But dumpster diving does mean you’re consuming items that would otherwise be wasted, so the environment will certainly love you for it.

5. Because It’s Actually Not (That) Disgusting

The one problem most people have with dumpster diving is the whole “IckEwwIt’sSoGrossHowCouldYouDoThat? Factor.” Well, we’re here to tell you that–OK, we have to be honest. It can be a bit gross–but it totally depends. Like restaurants, some dumpsters are nicer than others. Plus, food will often be wrapped up–completely sealed & ready to eat–and may actually be better for you than the food you’d order at some dicey restaurant (who knows what they’re doing back there to your brocolli soup). With dumpster diving, you know where it’s been.

Are you ready to dive head-first? Stay tuned for our next article on strategies for dumpster diving.

Beading: What Beads to Use

Let me guess: you love jewelry and would love nothing more than to make your own necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Maybe you’ve even wandered into a bead store only to find yourself completely overwhelmed by the rows and rows of beads, clasps, needles, and glue.

If this sounds like you, pay attention! Our beading supply guide will cover everything from beading materials to glue to beading clasps.

Up first, beading materials!

So, What Kind of Beads Should I Use?

Well, it depends. There are dozens of styles to choose from and you’ll most likely know when you find a bead that sparks your interest. That said, beginners might want to consider larger beads for easier beading. As an alternative, more experienced or daring “beaders” might want to consider smaller beads. For example:

Seed Beads

Seed beads look like—you guessed it—small seeds. They come in a variety of colors and textures. Some seed beads have larger holes than others, so pay attention to differences between individual beads.


Bone beads are natural and come in a variety of shapes. They’re perfect for creating an “earthy” look. In addition, they’re lightweight so if you’re looking for a light and natural necklace bone beads are the way to go.


Plastic beads are cheap and typically come in bright colors. They’re not exactly fancy—not something you’d wear with an evening gown—but they are great for practice. Children usually enjoy working with plastic beads.


Shell beads can come in a variety of shapes. Personally, I like small whole-shell beads. A hole is drilled into a small shell in order to create an interesting, shell bead.

Semi-Precious Gemstones

Gemstone beads are beautiful and glossy looking. They come in a variety of shapes and colors. They’re more expensive but great if you want a nicer look than, say, plastic beads.


I love bugle beads. They’re the long thin beads. You can use just a few of the long bugle beads to create an elegant look.


Another natural and lightweight bead. They come in all kinds of shapes and colors and are great paired with bone beads to create a natural look.


Artisan beads are some of the most beautiful beads available. Why? They’re handmade one at a time by artisans to create an individually beautiful bead. Naturally, they’re more expensive, but you can’t beat the quality and look of an artisan bead.

These are, of course, just a few of the options out there. Beads come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, so have a look around and try to coordinate colors and size of your beads.

Hope you enjoyed this introduction to beads. Stay tuned for our article on beading supplies, which will cover everything from clasps to needles!

The Mysterious World of Metal Detecting

If you’ve ever seen someone wandering around town with a strange contraption in hand and wondered what the heck they were doing, it’s likely they were either metal detecting or engaging in some sort of criminal activity….

But for the sake of argument, let’s say they were metal detecting. You might have thought it looked strange, something you certainly wouldn’t try. Well, I’m here to tell you that if that’s the case…you’re really missing out!

Metal detecting is one of those hobbies that most people know about–but not everyone has tried it.

If you’re someone who’s never tried metal detecting before, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before embarking on your metal detecting adventure.

Buying the Metal Detector

Metal detectors range in price from around $50 to over $1000. Before purchasing a metal detector, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself.

What’s Your Purpose?

Different kinds of metal detectors are made for different kinds of detecting. Are you most interested in coin collecting? If so, a multi-purpose detector will do.

Are you planning on detecting on a beach? Then make sure you purchase a detector made–you guessed it–for the beach. It’s really as simple as that.

How Much of a Detector are You?

Is metal detecting your new full-time job? Or are you going to try it just a few times a year? If you’re serious about metal detecting, a more expensive detector might be ideal. However, there are plenty of quality affordable options out there as well.

As a last point of advice, choose a well-established brand. Search online for customer reviews and consider several options before purchasing a detector.

Other Tips for Beginners

Know your area

Part of the fun in metal detecting is the opportunity to explore new areas. Map out places around town that you think might be ripe with “treasure” before embarking on your metal detecting adventure.

Enjoy the junk hunt

Let’s face it: you may find some gems, but you’re also going to find a lot of junk along the way. Metal detecting can be extremely rewarding, but it may be frustrating if you go home empty handed. The best way to overcome the frustration is to enjoy the junk hunt. It’s all part of the experience!

When and Where to Go

While you can go virtually any time, consider your personal preferences. If you hate bad weather, don’t force yourself to go just because you bought the metal detector the day before. On the other hand, if you hate crowds, a rainy day might be the perfect time to go. Metal detecting is a hobby which tends to get noticed. If the attention bothers you, go in the early morning or even nighttime when there wont be crowds.

For beginners, the best place to practice might your own backyard! That way you can get the hang of it before going out into the “real world.” After you’ve mastered the yard, venture out into town. If there’s a beach nearby, you’re in luck! Beaches are favorites for metal detector hobbyists.

Good luck!

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Volunteering

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that volunteering is one of the most life-enriching hobbies out there. Volunteering is one of our most popular hobbies for this very reason. Not only does it allow you to help others, but millions of volunteers have found that they gain tremendous personal benefits from their work as well.

If you’re considering volunteering for the first time or are hoping to renew your commitment to an organization, stay tuned for the full volunteer guide, which will cover everything from overseas work to starting your own organization.

This article covers the basic question most beginners ask themselves:

What kind of volunteer work should I do?

The answer, of course, is deeply personal. When deciding on what type of volunteer work to commit to, you must be honest about the answers to 3 important questions.

The 3 Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Volunteering:

What are my interests?

How much time do I have?

What are my skills?

All three of these questions are extremely important. I suggest getting out a piece of paper and jotting down some of your interests, time-restraints, and skills.

My list looked something like this:


Running, hiking, etc.
Children’s issues


Very busy during the week
Somewhat available on weekends
Very available during the summer months


Computer skills
Tutoring experience

Based on my interests, I decided to volunteer at a shelter for children where I was free to garden, cook, and write as much as I pleased. Oh yeah–and it was during the summer months only.

If you need a little extra help, there are also great online sites such as Volunteer Match, which allow you to search for–you guessed it–volunteer matches based on your location and interests.

After deciding on the type of volunteer work you want to do, call or email the head of the organization to get a better feel for their mission as well as what they want you to do. Have a list of questions ready and be prepared for any questions they might ask about your interests or experiences.

Stay tuned for the next article in the series, “Volunteering Overseas”

Garage Sale Shopping

When I was a kid, my parents dragged me through town in order to admire the junk in our neighbor’s garages. I didn’t understand why–it wasn’t Halloween and I wasn’t even getting any candy (I did, however, get the occasional toy but that’s beside the point).

Garage sale shopping is a strange world to the initiated, but there are also a ton of reasons it’s a great hobby: you save money and you have the pleasure of going on a “treasure hunt” for items you need (or hey, even things you just plain want).

Garage saleing is pretty straightforward, but there are a few key things to keep in mind when embarking on your garage sale journey.

Tips for Shopping at Garage Sales

Plan your route

If you don’t have an efficient route planned, your garage sale trip could turn into one giant time and gas waste-a-thon. Scan craigslist and your local newspaper for garage sales in your area and map a route for the entire day.

Wake up early

Most garage sales start at around 8 or 9 a.m. and close anywhere from early afternoon to 5 p.m. or later.

It’s true what they say: the early bird has the best chance of snagging that antique armoire for a measly $50.

Carry cash

Keep in mind that ole’ Joe and Linda Cooper probably aren’t on par technology-wise with your local boutiques. Leave the credit and debit cards at home and try to carry small bills, like $1’s and $5’s for the small items you might find.

See the potential

A good garage sale shopper sees the potential in otherwise trash-worthy items. Will that old junky table look good as new if you fix the leg? Can you paint, wash, or stain-remove the item? Consider every possibility and you may get a great deal.

Haggle Your Head Off

Not literally. However, most people who have garage sales are happy to negotiate. If you think something is overpriced, ask if they’re willing to settle for less. Be polite and you might get an even better deal than you anticipated!

Stay tuned for the next article in the series, “Having a Garage Sale.”