my first time dump diggin’

dump digging
Sprite bottle.

Shortly after moving to Cleveland, on one of my found on beach posts, an anonymous commenter said something along the lines of “Is trash all you blog about anymore!?” In that moment, it hurt my feelings. I couldn’t see how someone would look at my colorful photos and not think they were even the tiniest bit interesting. Over time it became something I laughed about nearly every single time I took photos of my beach treasures though.

Truth be told, I really love trash. I truly enjoy picking it up on the beach, not only to help clean up our lovely beaches but because I’m interested in seeing the types of things that wash up. It’s relaxing and exciting! I’m well aware, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s easily one of my favorite things.

Right now the biggest thing on my travel bucket list is visiting London. Not for the normal things folks go there for though, I want to visit the Thames and try my eyes and luck at mudlarking. I follow many mudlarks and beachcombers on instagram. I’m more likely to feel jealous of a tiny old baby doll dug out of the mud than say, a fancy new whatever someone is showing off. I just love the excitement of it all. You never really know what you’re going to get. Best of all, it’s free!

All that to say, this weekend I spent some time digging in an old dump with my nieces and nephew and I had the most fun ever.

Etch A Sketch!
bottle dump
Some of our favorite finds.

This small dump isn’t too far of a walk from my childhood home but somehow I’ve only been there a handful of times, and this was my first time actually digging around in it. I don’t have much information on it at the moment. I’ll have to ask my dad if he knows whose it was or how old it might be.

Sunday morning, at my dad’s suggestion, after a cozy night spent in hammocks and a campfire cooked breakfast, we took a hike to go check out the dump. Poking out from the leaf litter we could see bottles. It didn’t take much effort at all to move the dirt away and reveal more treasures. With only our hands and sticks as digging tools, we managed to discover a fun little variety of items. Bottles of all sizes, a football, some shoes, teacups, an Etch A Sketch, and even a razor blade dispenser! We each returned to the house with at least one small treasure and an ache for more time at the dump!

glass Pepsi bottle from dump
My nephew checking the bottom of the bottle for details.
One of the three shoes found by my niece.
digging a bottle dump
Full bottles we dug up, all less than a foot deep.
Glass Pepsi bottle from bottle dump
Glass Pepsi bottle.
A football!
One of the finds I kept.
On a wild goose chase looking for another dump. Hiked through weeds twice as tall as me.

I am so excited to get back to the dump as soon as possible, this time armed with gloves and some digging tools. I really really have my fingers crossed for a baby doll! BUT no matter what I find, I’ll be totally happy just sitting on a log next to my favorite teenagers digging through the mud.

I seriously cannot express enough how much I love my family and the ways we bond. I would absolutely have fun at the dump alone but sitting there with these guys made my heart feel so big and full.

One of my new bottles. Cleaned out & holding flowers picked by my husband.

To Noah, Lola & Lainy: I love you guys so much. Y’all are the absolute coolest kids ever. Can’t wait to look for more treasures with you soon! ❤️

Author: Kaylah Stroup

A collector of weird things. Plant Enthusiast. Wanderer. Beachcomber. Forever longing for the desert.

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  • i love your posts about trash! don’t ever stop!
    also, as a response to another post: i am making a quilt and i have a lot of fabric scraps. i also don’t like throwing them out even when they’re small and i can’t really do anything with them. i found this really cute stuffed bird in a sidewalk free pile and i made it a little nest on top of the heater out of my fabric scraps and it’s so cute and makes me very happy <3

  • I live on the thames and it is very beautiful! I also live about 25 minutes from central London and i have to tell you the thames in the city is absolutely disgusting haha! but if you were to come a little ways out more to the outskirts of London you would have a tonne more luck with finding awesome stuff! Hampton court/Windsor castle etc are all on the thames and i imagine you could find some pretty neat stuff from much older time periods if you looked hard enough!

    if you ever come this way let me know! happy to share with you some neat hidden gems to visit!