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How to Get Rid of Junk

aptsherpa · May 3, 2006

The moving process, or any house/apartment-cleaning process, usually results in two main piles: keep and toss. You know what to do with the “keep” pile: box it up for the moving truck or put it back in its place in your house. But what about the “toss” pile? Should you really chuck it all in the dumpster? Can’t you get some money for these (once-) prized possessions? How should you handle getting rid of all that junk you’ve piled up in the corner of your living room?

Once upon a time, you would have had to load it up and haul it to the dump or the dumpster. Thanks to many new junk disposal companies and the magic of the internet, however, it’s now possible to get someone to pick up—and sometimes even pay for—your old possessions.

Oust it Online

At the center of the new internet junk-selling phenomena is craigslist.org, a community bulletin board available in most US cities and many locations abroad. It’s free to browse and free to post, and there are entire sections devoted to the various kinds of junk you might have lurking in your home: books, bikes, electronics, furniture, and more. There’s even a “free” section where you can post ads looking to find someone who will just come pick up your junk and take it away. As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and nowhere does this become more clear than craigslist. Whether it’s an old baby swing, a broken television, or your old collection of oven mitts, someone is sure to take your unwanted item off your hands.

Auction it Off or Keep it Classified

If you want to explore alternatives to craigslist, there are many other online options for selling your stuff. Though eBay does charge for listings, it’s a huge website and almost anything you post there is sure to attract at least a bid or two, leaving you a little bit richer than you were before. Check out the website for your local newspaper and consider placing an online or old-fashioned print classified ad. While placing a classified ad may cost money, it can also reach a wide audience and may be very effective in getting rid of your stuff.

Make it a Community Effort

Newspapers inevitably seem linked with garage sale ads; you can certainly have one of these if your junk collection is extensive enough and you have the time to price and sort everything you own. A better option might be to have a community garage sale if your neighbors demonstrate interest and initiative. A garage sale can be tough to organize and not worth the effort of selling three dozen old records at 25 each, but if you like to know meet the person who’s buying your things, it may be the option for you.

Give it up for a Good Cause

Many charitable organizations have garage sales or sell items in order to raise money, and your junk might be able to do some good for these positive groups. Organizations such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, and many others accept donations, and will sometimes even come to pick up your junk and take it away. The Vietnam Veterans of America also hold regular drives to pick up items. You can call 1-800-95-TRUCK to inquire about having the Salvation Army pick up items from your home, though be aware there may be a minimum donation required.

Pay To Make it Go Away

The final option, if you can’t sell or donate your items, may be to simply get rid of them. You can either haul your stuff to the dump yourself or pay someone to toss your things for you. There are many junk disposal services available, including 1-800-GOT-JUNK, TrashBusters, and more. You can check your local yellow pages for additional trash removal providers. Fees may vary depending on the amount of items you have to haul away. Taking an item to the dump yourself may be free, but you might have to pay a small fee depending on what and how much you’re getting rid of. Call your city government to investigate the situation before heading out to the dump.

Special Situations

Make sure you know the rules for disposal of unusual items. Electronics and some chemicals or other hazardous substances may need to be disposed of in special ways. Check with your local health department regarding the removal of potentially dangerous substances. The store or company that sold you your computer or electronics equipment may be able to assist in recommending a way to dispose of or possibly donate those items.

With a little luck, planning, and resourcefulness, the huge pile of junk in your house can turn into a small or even good-sized pile of cash. With a little less luck, you may be able to get rid of items for free. If you’re distinctly unlucky, you may have to pay to get your unwanted items hauled off—but at least they won’t be looming in the background of your immaculate apartment any longer.

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