If you have a little time there are numerous alternatives to disposing of your items in a dumpster. Our goal is to help you save money and space while trying to dispose of your unwanted items.
Call your local thrift store and ask if they do pickups. Many operate box trucks or trailers and offer a pickup service for free. This is particularly helpful if you are cleaning up after a garage sale, cleaning out an estate, or have large, gently used furniture items to dispose of. Building materials may be donatable as well. If you have unused, working, or gently used building materials (insulation, boards, siding, kitchen cabinets, appliances, hot water heaters) you may be able to donate these items to a local building material resale store such as the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Check your local listings for options like these.
Your trash is another (wo)man’s treasure! You may not think anyone will want boards with nails sticking out of them, your used mattress/box spring set, or your bright floral couch from the 1980’s. List any of these things for free on one of many resale sites or apps (with full disclosure), and prepare yourself for 2 days of non-stop inquiries. There are always people in your community in need of used items.
Just to name a few personal experiences:
There are people whose uninsured homes have burned down and anything will help them to start rebuilding their lives. Others have made a break from a troubled relationship and need something to sleep on other than the ground. Hobbyists who are making a doghouse, or building a playground may not want to purchase all new materials. You’d be amazed at the people you meet who need what you thought only belonged in a dumpster.Make sure to consider the time it will take you to meet someone to pick up what your getting rid of. Sometimes people say that they want your item and you never hear from them again. It is a creative process to get rid of things in this way, and it can take some trial-and-error. It is always best to meet potential takers in public or at least never alone. If you are uncomfortable meeting strangers you can arrange for them to pick up when you are not present, or try placing items curbside labeled “FREE,” and just wait. Experiment for a day or two. If you don’t get any takers, throw the items away as you originally intended.
If you have a large number of cardboard boxes, consider taking them to a local recycling center. Nearly every city has a place to drop off cardboard for free. Make sure you remove all packing materials and flatten boxes before placing into any cardboard recycling receptacle.
Large items, such as lawnmowers and barbeque grills, can usually be given away. Check your local service directory or online for local junk haulers. Call around and see if any will pick up metal items for free.
Yard waste is generally discouraged from the conventional waste stream because it takes up unnecessary space in landfills when many alternatives exist. Check to see if your city has a mulch or compost facility, or a stump dump. The main drawback to this method is that you will likely have to find a way to haul the yard waste to the location yourself, and you must ensure that there is no trash of any kind in your load. Alternatively, check to see if there are any scheduled yard waste pickups in your area and what the requirements are.