I have a confession to make. I hired a junk removal service yet again. If you’ve followed my writing for awhile, then you know that this is one of my weak spots. There are so many free ways to get rid of junk. Nevertheless, I keep paying people to take mine away. I’m embarrassed by this on multiple levels, so I’m telling you about it here in order to hold myself to higher accountability in the future. Moreover, I want to encourage you not to make the same mistakes.
What Is Junk Removal?
I’m talking here about the kind of services that you call to come get your junk items that don’t fit into your regular trash bin. 1-800-Got-Junk is the most well-known examples. There are others, including local services. I’ll admit that I go with the former because I’m familiar with exactly how they work. I’ve always been happy with their service. So, I call or go online, set up a removal appointment, and they’re there at my house within a day or two.
How Much Does Junk Removal Cost Me?
This particular service charges by how much of their truck you fill up. In this instances, I had a sofa bed. I also had a small variety of miscellaneous items. For example, I had a foldable closet door that I never even used. And a baby gate that I no longer need which was missing some parts. For that particular size load, with tip, I paid $250.
Yes, that’s embarrassing. It’s a lot of money. I could certainly have used that money for other things. It’s also embarrassing how much consumer waste I produce. I like to think of myself as an environmentally conscious person.
On the plus side, the service I used supposedly does recycle and donate all that they can. I hope that’s true. Most of what I send them is beyond repair, honestly. However, I do hope that what isn’t they really try to make use of in positive ways as they advertise that they do.
There Are So Many Free Alternatives
Okay, so here’s where I offer my advice to you about the free alternatives that you can use instead of paying someone to remove your junk. And, of course, I’ll explain why I didn’t opt for this.
Bulky Collection Trash Pickup
Here in San Francisco we get 1-2 free “bulky collection” requests per year. You put in the request, schedule a day, and then put your items on the sidewalk. The city takes them away for free.
I didn’t do this because I would have had to get assistance from someone to lug my couch down two flights of narrow stairs to the street. Moreover, because we have parklets and outdoor dining right on my street, I’d have to wait until late at night. Finally, the schedule available was weeks out and I really wanted this item gone ASAP.
NextDoor, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Etc.
This is the route that most people I know go. They’ll put a note up on these types of sites advertising their items for free. (Or, if they have nice things, advertising them for a price.)
I think its fabulous that this exists. I also personally hate using this option.
As someone who has phone anxiety and doesn’t want strangers at my house, I don’t like having to deal with a bunch of calls about a specific item. Due to the aforementioned busy nature of my street, I can’t just put stuff out on the curb for people and say, “free stuff here.”
In this instance, the sofa bed was completely unsalvageable. It would be useless to anyone. The only thing someone might have wanted was that unused closet door. So I admit it’s shameful I sent that away with junk removal. And I truly hope they really do donate that somewhere useful.
Take It To the Landfill
I’ve never even done this so I can’t honestly speak to it. I don’t own a vehicle of any kind. If my knowledge is correct, you pay a small fee to do this. So, if you truly only have junk, and you have free access to a vehicle to trek that junk, then maybe this would be a smart way to go. Again I’d need moving assistance so this isn’t a viable option for me.
Decluttering / Donating Useful Items
I will say that I’m good about donating smaller items that are still useful. I send used clothes away to ThredUp. There’s a little free library in my neighborhood where I always donate books. If I have extra art supplies, I usually ask friends if they want them. I love decluttering and I want to get better about doing all of it in these more affordable, sustainable ways.
My Pros and Cons For This Junk Removal
All in all, I’m honestly thrilled to be done with this junk. That broken couch was sitting on my porch forever making me feel cranky with its presence. I was able to schedule a same-day pickup as soon as I decided to get rid of it. The folks came, did a great quick job, and I felt relief.
Of course, it comes with that painful price. The good thing about that pain, though, is that it serves as a strong reminder to me to shop smart. In this instance, my puppy had destroyed the couch as he was growing up. So there wasn’t a lot that I could do differently. But it’s a reminder to just buy what I need, take good care of it, and not waste a lot on quick-throwaway consumer goods. In other words, it’s a reminder to be the conscious consumer that I truly want to be.
Do you use junk removal services? Why or why not?
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