What would you call a person who searches around the block looking for useful & used stuff to buy?

Also what would you call a person who sells stuffs that are no longer being used at home?


8 Answers 8


You might call such a person a scavenger.

scavenger [ˈskævɪndʒə] n

  1. a person who collects things discarded by others

Collins Dictionary

This could mean either buying or finding such items.

  • Scavenger seems to imply one is searching for refuse. The question states they are willing to recompense the current owner. Therefore, I contend they are not in the act of scavenging. If they happen to find a useful object in a garbage can on the side of the road, the object has been disowned, as is then subject to being scavenged. Jun 28, 2011 at 18:36
  • If that were the case, then a scavenger hunt would be a contest to find garbage. However, I definitely agree that scavenger implies acquiring without purchasing. Jun 28, 2011 at 18:43
  • Very close but still not there yet. But thank you SO MUCH for your attention, you guys are awesome. May be a scenario will help you understand what I am looking for. Supposed Bob's looking for a tent for his camping trip, but he doesn't want to spend hundreds buying one. So he goes around the neighborhood and ask if anyone owns a tent which he can rent for a day. He's gon return the tent after the trip. What would you call Bob? Or how would you describe Bob's action in one word? Jun 28, 2011 at 18:54
  • It's more like Bob's renting as oppose to buying, or Bob's considered to buy a time-share of the item. Jun 28, 2011 at 18:58
  • 1
    @Desmond, what you are suggesting sounds quite different to me. Isn't Bob just a 'borrower', and the person he borrows from the 'lender'? Jul 25, 2011 at 23:46

That's a rag-and-bone man, isn't it? Steptoe and Son.

  • 1
    As I recall, the real-life ones used to call themselves totters. Perhaps they're making a comeback these days. Sep 19, 2011 at 22:21

A junker, maybe?

From Michael Zadoorian, Second Hand (2000) (italics mine):

Chapter One


When I die, I will leave nothing but junk. If I went to my house, to my estate sale, after I died, I would buy everything. Of course, since I bought it all in the first place, that shouldn't be much of a surprise. Yet even if I wasn't me, I would buy it all. There are others that would do the same. People come to my house and are amazed by my junk, covet my junk. But those people are junkers. When people who aren't junkers come to my house, they laugh at my things. Or they say my house is creepy because everything in it was owned by people who are now dead. I tell them, "They're not all dead. Some are in nursing homes."


The Search

My merchandise comes from estate sales, thrift shops, garage sales, Salvation Armies, church rummage sales, block sales, tag sales, moving sales, you name it. [...] When you're a junker, you surrender yourself to the search. [...]


I've heard yard-salers used for both the sellers and the buyers.

In some situations, one of the following might work:



You could try "picker".

Individuals pick items that they find useful or of value from junk yards, swap meets, and dumpsters.

See also "American Pickers" program airing on The History Channel.

Pronunciation: /ˈpikər/

1 [usually with modifier] A person or machine that gathers or collects something:
‘a tomato picker’

1.1(In a warehouse) an employee who gathers products to complete customers' orders for delivery:
‘hand-held computers tell the pickers how much of what product has to go to which loading dock’


  • 1
    Sadly, the specific sense is not given by ODO. Urban Dictionary gives it, and for once I think it might be acceptable here. The American Pickers website also gives the meaning. Mar 30, 2016 at 19:07
  • (The website is actually www.history.com; the page linked to above is the relevant one.) Mar 30, 2016 at 19:14
  • Maybe "garbage picker" if it wasn't so limiting to trash. Apr 3, 2016 at 3:41

I would call them an antiquer. Someone who shops and buys antiques.

And someone who sells would be a trader of some kind.


Consider, used goods dealer

A person who carries on a business that deals in used goods with the main purpose of earning a profit.


Google Books


Someone likely to both buy and sell 'found' items (or more likely, anyone procuring and disseminating items for trade) would be called a scrounger.

scrounger /ˈskrounjər/ noun, informal

a cleverly resourceful person who finds and procures items for a specific purpose. "no team at camp had a better scrounger than our Eddie"Lexico

And the verb from scrounge fits the title, 'look around for useful stuff', to a tee:

scrounge \ˈskrau̇nj\ verb, transitive

to get as needed by or as if by foraging, scavenging, or borrowing. "scrounging enough money for a bus ticket"MW

Hendley 'The Scrounger' (Character) from The Great Escape (1963) –IMDB

  • If this is lost on you, you need to go watch The Great Escape (or any prison movie, really).
    – Mazura
    Jun 8, 2016 at 8:10

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