How to Get Rid of Your Junk. Pro Junk Removal Tips and Tricks.
A DIY Guide to Junk Removal.
We’ll all need to get rid of junk at some point. We acquire. We outgrow. We change. And then we discard. Some junk is easier to junk than others.
Sometimes it’s hard to get rid of stuff because of an emotional connection. Other times the challenge is physical because of size or weight. These physical challenges then become manpower and transportation issues. Getting rid of junk could be hard because of time (how much is your time worth?).
It could be energy (how much is your back worth?). Or… getting rid of your junk could be difficult because of geography. Different municipalities have different restrictions. These restrictions may limit what junk items can go to the curb, the recycling center or the landfill.
Here, we’ll look at the most common hard-to-dispose-of items and offer tips on how to get rid of them. If you want to do it yourself, you can. And this will make it easier. Or… it will help you decide when to call the pros (us).
Getting rid of an old mattress is hard. They can’t be resold and most of the donation centers in our area won’t accept them. To make matters worse, they’re too large and bulky for regular curbside pickup.
If you live in the City of Charlotte, you can call 3-1-1 (or schedule online here) to schedule a bulky item pickup. This may not be free, the pickup service may not be immediate and you’ll be responsible for getting it to the curb. That said, it is a useful service.
The availability and cost of curbside bulk waste pickup is set by your trash hauler. Not every hauler offers it. Many have scaled this service back in response to labor challenges and fuel costs. If you’re comfortable getting the mattress to the curb, we do offer curbside discounts.
The benefit for you is cost savings and on- demand scheduling. You pick the day. We’ll let you know when we’re on the way and will text the invoice to you once we finish for digital payment. You don’t need to be present for the removal. Schedule a curbside pickup here.
Mattresses are big and heavy. The average queen sized mattress weighs 120- 160 lbs and is 80 inches long. Too big to squeeze into the back of your SUV or to lay in the 6 ft. bed on your pickup truck. As a taxpayer, you can bring mattresses to your local landfill. You will need to bring them to the municipality you live in. For those of us on the SC/ NC border, it means paying attention to state and county boundaries (they may ask for proof of residency). It’s not free to dump at the landfill. And each one handles mattresses different. You’ll have to pay attention to signs and the staff to be sure they get to the right spot.
Or… you can have us do it. We can pick up your old mattress (we’ll happily disassemble and remove from the bedroom) and dispose of it for you. Contact us today for a free estimate on junk removal in Fort Mill.
Household appliances are difficult to get rid of. And appliances will breakdown faster than you’re prepared for. Our experience is they don’t make things like they used to. Refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc. are often not accepted by trash companies. This is because they contain harmful chemicals such as Freon. Or because they’re too big and bulky to include in your regular trash service.
Check with your local municipality or utility company first. See if they accept these large appliances. Then ask if a scheduled pickup needs to be set up and what’s the cost. You’ll also want to know what you need to do to prepare for the pickup. Many cities have programs in place where they will come and pick up your old appliances for free (it looks like in the Charlotte area Duke Energy used to have a program like this, but isn’t currently offering rebate or recycling money). They’ll then recycle the materials and dispose of them properly. The challenge though is most will not remove the appliance from the home. You’ll have to figure out how to get the old appliance to the curb (you may recall when your French door fridge was delivered, it was put together in the house.).
Appliances are interesting to dump. Most of the landfills will take them. But, you should check first to confirm if anything needs to happen before disposal. At the landfill there’s a cost to dump appliances.
But if you go to the scrap yard, they’ll pay you a fee for your old appliances. You won’t get rich. But depending on distance and travel time it could offset the dump costs.
Furniture is another hard-to-dispose-of item, especially if it’s bulky. We tell people all the time, entertainment units or armoires from the 90s are like Kryptonite. Even the high- end, beautiful pieces are nearly impossible to find homes for nowadays.
They’re stupid heavy and require a skilled mover to handle. TVs and home entertainment systems have changed. The furniture isn’t functional anymore and styles have changed too. The donation centers don’t want these bulky items. They have limited floor space, limited manpower and no buyers for them.
Selling furniture on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace is a good option… if you have time, minimal expectations on the sales price and a safe place to meet. It takes a lot of energy to list, sell and then exchange furniture once it’s sold.
And no buyer is going to value your furniture like you do.
What’s more, once you sell an item it needs to be picked up or delivered. So you’re either physically moving the furniture yourself or trusting a buyer to safely remove the item from your home without hurting himself or damaging your property.
Donation is another good option for furniture removal. There are lots of great donation centers, churches or ministries around. Some offer full service removal. You can schedule a pickup and they’ll remove the items from inside your home. Full service pickup is often subject to availability though. This could mean long lead times. Often too, this service is performed by volunteers. Moving skill and reliability may be inconsistent. This is a challenge for time sensitive removals (new furniture being delivered, moving, etc.). Others offer curbside pickup. This requires the homeowner to move furniture out to the curb. In either case, donation centers may be selective. There’s no guarantee they’ll accept all the items you need hauled off. So, that heavy armoire could be left in your upstairs bedroom after the truck leaves. Some donation centers now offer “Priority Pickup” services.
For a fee, they’ll remove the items from inside the home at a specified day/ time. This makes scheduling easier. It also fixes the problem of “leftover” items. Most of the time, the priority hauler accepts responsibility for picking up everything. We know, because we’re an authorized hauler through the ReSupply Network.
Reusable items should stay out of the landfill. We encourage either resale or donation first. This is why we launched our 2nd Life Program. This makes it easy to keep items out of the landfill, put them in the hands of people who can use them and raise money for a worthy cause.
E-waste contains potentially hazardous material like lead and mercury. It also contains potentially valuable materials like precious metals. These materials can be “recovered through responsible recycling.” Legislation was passed banning specific electronic waste from solid waste landfills. So, electronics can’t get thrown away with your curbside trash. Nor can they get dumped in the bulk dumpsters at the landfill. As a taxpayer, you may be able to take household e-waste to your local recycling center. Check for specific restrictions (times, items collected, quantity, materials, etc) at your municipal facility. York County recycling centers for example, won’t take any more than a pickup truck load. They’ll also ask for proof of residency. If you don’t know where to take your household e- waste, call us. We can help.
Commercial e-waste may need to go to a specialty recycling center. These are usually commercial facilities and may not always be local. One time, we picked up a commercial Xerox machine.
E-scrap of this type and size could not go to the local recycling center, so we hauled it off to the e-waste center.
The machine weighed nearly 700 lbs and cost $400 in dump fees alone.
Throwing batteries away is confusing and frustrating. There are all sorts of batteries around our homes. And each has a different disposal process. Here’s a basic rundown:
Lead- Acid Batteries (car batteries) must be recycled in South Carolina. The best bet for DIYers is to bring it to your local auto parts store.
Rechargeable Batteries (including cell phone or laptop batteries) need to be recycled. The best place to dispose of batteries like these are retail outlets like Lowes or Best Buy. They have collection boxes via Call2Recycle. This program “accepts all dry cell rechargeable batteries weighing up to 11 pounds including Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Nickle Zinc (Ni-ZN) and Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries as well as small lead-acid batteries.”
Lithium batteries (cameras, watches, hearing aids) shouldn’t be thrown away. They’re considered hazardous household waste. Stores like Batteries Plus Bulbs would be a good disposal option.
Single Use (alkaline) batteries (regular AA, AAA style batteries) can be thrown away in the regular trash.
Similar to batteries, Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) shouldn’t be thrown away. They’re considered hazardous. For regular household fluorescents, stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s may offer recycling boxes like they do for batteries. Many of the municipal recycling centers will also accept CFLs from residents (not from businesses).
Propane & Compressed Gas Tanks
Flammable and pressurized containers makes for a difficult disposal. We will not take these. They’re too dangerous for us to transport and must be disposed of or recycled properly. Hardware stores and gas stations will exchange empty tanks for full ones. There are even cool new propane vending machines to exchange fresh ones out. Otherwise, you’ll need to check with providers for whatever gas is being stored.
How Much Does Junk Removal Cost?
Junk removal rates are based on volume and measured in truck space.
Check out our junk removal load size calculator & get an instant estimate. How much junk do you have?
This is a ballpark estimate. We’ll confirm the quote in person and before starting any work.
Tires can’t just be thrown away. Not in your household bin and not in the landfill. They need to be recycled. One way to do this is at the tire shop when you buy new ones. Otherwise, many recycling centers will accept them. But, you’ve got to do your homework.
Sometimes they limit how many can be recycled at one time. Some will take tires on the rims. Others won’t.
Some have size restrictions and some have varying costs. There are tire/ rubber recycling centers. These are commercial facilities. Sometimes these tire recyclers will come pick tires up from you. The thing is, if they’re coming out, it needs to be for a lot of tires. Not a regular person amount, but A LOT! No worries though. We can pick up and dispose of tires for you too in any amount. Schedule your tire pickup here.
Wet, latex paint can’t be thrown away. Hiding it in a black plastic bag in your curbside bin isn’t the right way to do it. The paint needs special handling to protect our water.
A lot of us live in tract homes with standard paint. If you live in a place like this and need to get rid of paint, you may want to offer it up on a community social media page. Paint is expensive these days, so it’s always best if there’s a way to share and reuse. If you have specialty colors you may still be able to donate paint to schools and art programs.
Dried/ hardened latex paint can be thrown away. There are all sorts of tricks to drying paint out. If you don’t have a ton, sometimes just leaving the lid off will do. We’ve even seen folks spread it on cardboard or scrap wood for drying. Otherwise, you can use a hardener to dry out the paint. The hardware stores sell paint hardener for this purpose. Otherwise, kitty litter works (50/50 ratio of paint to litter).
Wet, latex paint and oil based paint/ finishes may be disposed of at the landfill or recycling center. Be sure to check on restrictions. In Mecklenburg for example, wet, latex and oil based paints, paint thinners and solvents are accepted with
Dirt & Rock
Dumping dirt and rock is difficult. It gets really heavy, really fast. And without the proper tools, removal is physically tough. So, labor and equipment is the first limiting factor.
If you’re willing to do the work, the next disposal challenge is finding a place to legally dump it. Dirt is usually not considered yard waste or construction debris (C & D). So many municipal landfills won’t accept it. And if they do, there may be restrictions on quantity as well as quality (clean soil free of contaminants). Landscaping material yards, fill dirt businesses or rock yards make take the dirt. You’ll have to do your homework though.
We can help with dirt and rock removal depending on volume and access. We don’t have heavy machinery (skid steer), so we’ll be loading by hand which limits how much volume we can actually do. Truck/ trailer access to the work space is also potentially a limiting factor.
Most of the municipal landfills accept yard waste. Mecklenburg defines yard waste as:
Leaves/ Brush/ Grass Clippings– CANNOT be in plastic bags so you’ll either need to dump the bags or use paper yard bags.
Clean pallets less than 5’ in length and not painted or treated.
Limbs & bamboo less than 5’ in length.
Small root- balls that are smaller than a basketball. They will not accept tree stumps and trunks.
Yard waste goes to a different section of the landfill and so it can’t get mixed with other waste. Yard waste is usually billed at a lower rate than either C & D or bulky waste.
We can help with yard debris too. Trimming your trees and hedges is only half the job. Gathering the waste, loading it up and hauling it away is sometimes harder. Leave that part of the job to us.
Another type of yard waste is mulch. Regular, organic mulch can usually get dumped the same as yard waste. Rubber mulch cannot. We’ve crossed paths with rubber mulch a couple of times. It’s very difficult to discard. We could not find a municipal or private landfill in the area willing to accept it.
The rubber/ tire recycling center wouldn’t take it either. We got rid of the rubber mulch by donating and delivering it to someone who wanted to reuse it in their yard.
Our business exists because it’s easier to get things than to get rid of things. Getting rid of things is hard because often we’re too emotionally attached to our stuff. Or because the physical demand and time required is too much. And then even when you overcome these challenges, municipalities have limiting regulations.
There’s nothing we do that you can’t do when it comes to decluttering and removing junk. And the tips and resources here will help you DIY. That said, we have lots of experience, the hard skills, the proper equipment and the connections to quickly and effectively remove your junk. You will save time and effort when you have us haul away your trash. You may also save money in the long run. Give us a call for your free junk removal estimate.