Dumpster Project Guidelines

Some folks have requested that I post rules for the side project I’ve been playing called “The Adventures of Dumpster Dan”. Dumpster Dan has managed to get himself a bit of a following, and other simmers are interested in making their own version. So, here are the guidelines for making your own dumpster project.


I hesitate to call this a “challenge”. There is no score and no ultimate end goal. I started out with some basic guidelines for what I wanted to do and kind of made things up as I went along. In my opinion, Dumpster Dan is more about the story in my head (despite my lack of blogging it!) and less about the actual mechanics. I wanted to explore dumpster diving, and I love playing homeless Sims. When I play the Sims normally, I don’t let them get hungry, I don’t make them go months without a shower, I keep their social needs up. Up until this challenge, I had never seen the social bar go completely into the red and the “desolate” moodlet icon. I felt the  impact of the seasons much more when Dumpster lacked shelter.

Loopholes in the below list of guidelines can certainly lead your Sim to a better life than Dan has. Overworking them and ignoring their needs can surely get you even more items  from diving. Selling every item you have duplicates of will definitely earn you enough for a decent-sized house fairly quickly. Diving is actually pretty lucrative. However, I encourage you to think about your story, your Sim, and toss in a bit of realism (obviously not too much, it’s the Sims after all). I have Dan keep most of what he finds. He has the largest collection of end tables on the planet. His “house” is mostly outside where he has a collection of crap. I really like it that way…he finds stuff, brings it back, and that is where it stays. He sells the occasional art piece or appliance along with the minerals he finds, to make enough to eat and occasional improve his home.

Feel free to play this however you’d like, perhaps tweaking it to be more restrictive and challenge-like. The following are just the guidelines I used. I’ll also add my recommendations, if you want to play it like I did.


  • Your Sim: You can create your Sim however you’d like. Choose traits that are fitting for your story. Choose a lifetime want that is not career-oriented. I’d also avoid a skill-oriented one. Friend-, family, or money-based choices are probably best. My recommendations: Dumpster Dan’s traits were traits that stuck out as likely traits for his back story (growing up on the street). Dumpster has childish, commitment issues, unlucky, mooch, and is eco-friendly (in my mind he’s convinced himself that he lives this way because its more environmentally friendly…he’s recycling!). His lifetime wish is lap of luxury.
  • The lot: Lot size doesn’t really matter, nor does the location. My recommendations: I wanted DD to look like he lived in a park. I found a park that had a small amount of space next to it and chose a small lot  to place down next to it. Access to a park is great for bathroom trips and food (if you pick the park where they hold festivals, or stop by when people are having picnics). 
  • The stuff: You can start out with a few park benches near the street. These are “property of the town” and cannot be sold later. You can add as many trees and shrubs to the lot as you’d like.
  • Before beginning, use the family funds cheat to set your household account to $0.


  • Your Sim’s primary form of income should be selling items he collects from the dumpster. My recommendations: As I mentioned previously, I make Dumpster keep most of what he gets. I sell minerals, gems, some of the items he can’t use, and some art pieces. I just sell enough to get by and make upgrades.
  • Your Sim cannot hold any job.
  • Your Sim can accept opportunities. My recommendations: I haven’t received any opportunities yet (due to lack of skills and job). I’m uncertain how often I’d allow him to take them if they ever do start appearing. 
  • Your Sim can learn skills provided you do not have to purchase any equipment AND the Sim has a wish to do so. My recommendations: As of now, Dumpster has not used any skills for profit. And I think I may keep it that way, having him only learn skills to satisfy wishes.
  • Your Sim can spend money on: food, books, services, paying bills, and “replacing” items from the salvage yard. My recommendations: The idea is that all your furniture and appliances will be mismatched, hodgepodge from the dumpster and junkyard. This will mean you will go without a fridge, toilet, shower, bed, etc…until you find one. 
  • You may spend money in “build” mode.
  • You may not use “buy” mode.
  • You may salvage items from the junk yard.
  • If you have Seasons, you can spend tickets to buy prizes.
  • Gardening and fishing aren’t allowed. My recommendations: Fishing and gardening provide food too easily. I found it much more in tune with the theme to have Dumpster Dan getting his food from food carts, the bar, mooching it, etc…
  • Mooching food is allowed. Simoleans can only be mooched if it’s done autonomously by the Sim.
  • Rummaging in garbage cans is also acceptable.
  • No cell phone use. You can make calls when you find a phone.

Other recommendations:

  • Use showers, beds, etc…on community lots at your discretion. I occasionally let DD shower at the gym…but really, dumpster diving is such a hit to hygiene, you should just get used to them being smelly!
  • I make decisions that will purposely make Dan’s life harder….he doesn’t spend his money wisely…he buys alcohol, skill books, and bar food. 
  • Try to keep your Sim relatively happy and tend to their needs. I pursue relationships and entertainment for DD. Some days he doesn’t dumpster dive at all.
  • Have fun with it! 

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, these rules are definitely not complete and thorough. If you decide to blog it, please send me a link!



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