Earlier this month I finally made the decision to sell my parents house which is 3000 miles across the country. They passed away almost 12 years ago and I rented it out for awhile, but was finally ready to let it go, from an emotional perspective. Frankly I was also “done” with being a landlord. However, I was now faced with the stuff that I’d stashed in the basement. Stuff that I wasn’t ready to let go of 12 years ago. This advice from my colleague, Helen Ingwersen of TOP Move Management, has been very helpful for me and I thought I’d share it with you.
Have you ever noticed that many of the aspects of home and organization that should be easy and free actually turn out to be time consuming and expensive?! If you have ever moved and wondered what to do with what is left or completed spring cleaning only to be left with a pile that nobody will pick-up, you know what we mean! Whether dealing with household hazardous waste (paints, chemicals, etc.), building materials (there are construction and demolition ordinances that govern such things!) or large furniture that’s left behind… we find that many clients are surprised by the cost and chaos of how to REALLY get rid of it all.
In reality, posting a sign that says ‘take me’ and putting it on a street corner might sound like a plan – but we just can’t recommend angering your neighbors, breaking city ordinances and waiting for the perfect bargain hunter to drive by. The next best option for many is to wait for a non-profit donation pick-up, such as those offered by HOPE Services, veterans groups, Goodwill and the Salvation Army. While this is a great solution for getting service at your door, note that most places are picky about what they can and cannot accept. The large list of unaccepted items often includes (but is not limited to): mattresses, large appliances, personal care items, building
materials, cribs, car seats and certain types of televisions. In some cases (but far from all), households may give items to ReStore – a non-profit home
improvement and donation center run by Habitat for Humanity. They divert 7,000 tons of waste each year from landfills by accepting select furniture, appliances, building materials and home accessories and selling them to the public at a fraction of retail price. In addition, the proceeds from ReStore outlets in the San Francisco Bay Area fund at least 4 Habitat For Humanity homes each year. Note: they do NOT take everything and have very specific criteria; learn more at:
RECYCLING & HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE
The best way to keep items out of landfills is to recycle whenever possible. Be sure to contact your local public recycling center to see what items can be picked up, what items can be dropped off and what can be bought-back (think glass, cans, cardboard to name a few). With regards to HHW (household hazardous waste), virtually all cities & counties have drop-off
centers; note that nearly all require appointments and have very distinct increments of product they will accept at a time, as well as limits as to what types of chemicals, paints and medications are allowed in general. Don’t forget to check if your area has a Freecycle Network. This grassroots organization exists in over 5,000 communities with 9 million members around the world. By striving to get and give within their neighborhoods, Freecycle members strive to reuse and limit landfill usage.
Chances are by the time you have considered a hauling service, you have ruled out the possibility that your items can be donated or recycled. Once again, nothing is free – and haulers are subject to charges based on truck size & capacity, gas, travel time and of course – those landfill fees! A local environmental transfer center recently released rates to dispose of certain items: examples include $12 to accept an old tire without a rim , $40 to accept a sofa and $37 to accept a copy machine! With Bay Area space a premium and our population only growing, there has been an increase in local landfill closures since 2005. In addition, there are few local municipalities with the space, desire or money to build more landfills, and the move is towards closures within communities and openings in regional capacities. The result is that it will only cost MORE to get rid of your stuff as the years go by.
*Note that if you are hoping to get rid of junk while sheltering in place, there are several organizations (such as Junk King, Nixxit, College Hunks) that are offering virtual estimates, electronic payments and “no-touch” curbside pick-up. The safety, convenience and delegation of responsible disposal practices may save you time and eliminate a few headaches.
In our experience, the average cost of a home or estate ‘final clear out’ can be $1,500-6,000, depending on the amount and type of items being left behind. Home Advisor estimates that residential junk removal averages $600-$800 for a full truck load, while single item costs range from $75-150. In the Bay Area, the high number is more accurate. The factors that impact an estimate may include: minimum charges, set-up fees, load sizes and costs per pound or unit broken down by the type of debris.
We hope that the information above hasn’t scared you – but has set some realistic expectations about what it takes to completely clear things out – in terms of cost, time and energy! If you have any questions or would like to chat with Helen for a complimentary one-hour consultation, please call 650.689.5535 or reach out online: https://topmovemgmt.com/contact/.