artemis_ma

Upcoming Weekend Is Dumpster Weekend

artemis_ma
September 16, 2015
last modified: September 16, 2015

With the exception of the roof replacement week, I've only done one previous dumpster cleanout here, about ten years ago -- and at that one I tossed out a lamp made of nice Irish stones my parents brought home from Ireland, but whose electric needed replacing -- this was (AND IS) the only object I regret tossing then. I would love the object now and in my future build... repaired, of course.

But at any rate -- time for another Dumpster Cleanout, since I will be moving north and I don't want to move the clutter. At least, not ALL the clutter...

I tend to be a hoarder, but not of the extreme nature that would get me a slot on Reality TV. At any rate, I found that a British series of three (extreme) Hoarder episodes that I found on YouTube have been inspiring. (The series may well have had more than three episodes, but that is what I found.) The woman hosting the show has had to deal with her own hoarder mother, and she treats the people who hoard in her show with utmost respect, unlike, dare I say it, the American version of this concept. Inspiring.

The Dumpster arrives Friday, and leaves Monday. It is 8 x 7 x 4 feet. Inspirational words that are NOT cutsie are welcome to push me forwards on this. (Cutsie is counter-productive... and reminds me of the ONLY time in my life where I wanted to shoplift, ANYthing, EVERYthing, desperately. I fought back the urge and discovered a week later in a news item that said department store was playing subliminal anti-shoplifting missives in their abysmal Muzak.) [Very early 80's] -- the "music" being so abysmal I was getting the opposite message than the one intended!

I've already pinpointed some major objects for departure, There will be a pile for Craig's List/ Freecycle/Goodwill/possible garage sale, but a lot will end up in the Dumpster. Hopefully. Especially the presswood furnishings... and...

At any rate, any real suggestions for making the best use of three days of Dumpster time should be welcome. Thanks.

Comments (35)

  • cupofkindnessgw

    I would recommend that you write out, or at least plan in your mind, a three day schedule that will not exhaust your body or break your spirit on the first afternoon. This will help you feel in control and use your time wisely. Also think of the safest way to move things out of the house. You don't want to trip down steps or sprain your ankle, then be out of commission for the rest of the dumpster rental. Put animals in a kennel or closed up in a room/backyard etc. so you don't lose a beloved pet in the process

    It's important to get rid of excess furniture. Too much furniture gives clutter a permanent residence. Getting rid of bookcases, unneeded dressers and other storage pieces is key to moving stored clutter out the door. Also get rid of storage boxes and totes if you have more than you need for the big move. If you plan to declutter your garage/basement, you might look into how to dispose of chemicals, paints, batteries, etc. and just box them up and leave those for next week. Then you can focus on other areas of the garage.

    XL and XXL ziplock storage bags are easy ways to bag up things you want to take with you, and will signal that you have already dealt with the stuff in them. Of course, this won't work if you already use them for storage. These are available at Walmart and Target. If you have out-of-season clothing that you still wear, I would put those in a room that you can reserve to keep things you want so that you can focus on the areas you are dejunking. In other words, do what you can in terms of pre-sorting so that it is easier to attack and haul the stuff you know belongs in the dumpster.

    It's very helpful to have a kind, accepting friend or relative help you on dumpster day, but if there is no one nearby, take before and after pictures, pictures in process, and text them to a friend or two just to keep you motivated to provide them a positive result.

    Have a supply of flavored water, or whatever you love to drink on hand to help stay hydrated. Take plenty of breaks, schedule them, say for 30 minutes every two or three hours. If you can leave your house for dinner, go out to eat so you don't make a mess in your kitchen.

    Don't get sucked into creating piles of things to sell. Unless you are really strapped for cash and must sell to raise funds, just throw away or maybe donate. I wouldn't even freecycle, there might be the temptation to reign it in if no one picks it off the curb. Don't bog yourself down with trying to sell things that you want to get rid of. Even things that may have value take to much time and energy to resell, except in those cases where you have a lot of experience selling online or the item has real value and will sell quickly. Be ruthless with clutter.

    Remember, thrift stores have more stuff than they can handle, so only give them things in good condtion and dump the rest. Call a thrift shop today and schedule a pick up for as soon as possible. Skip the garage sale, get stuff out the door. You will feel so free on Monday!

    artemis_ma thanked cupofkindnessgw
  • cupofkindnessgw

    One more thought.... if you know the floor plan of the place you are moving to and the sizes of the rooms / closets, it would be amazing to do your level best to estimate how much stuff you can realistically move into your next home. Imagine those spaces and then look at your stuff. Be honest. Then shoot to dejunk down to 75% of what you think your new home can hold. You aren't renting a dumpster so you can haul junk to your new home. If you don't love it or use it, it's junk!

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  • quasifish

    Wow, very good advice from gardenwebcupofkindness. Not sure how much more I can offer except to wish you good luck!

    My mother just moved, and she has large collections of certain types of items. She donated and tossed a lot of stuff prior, but now that she is settled and unpacking in her new home, she is finding scads of things to donate to charity. She wasted a lot of money moving things she didn't need/want. I would be willing to bet that if she could have been honest with herself, she knew beforehand what she shouldn't take with her. It seems like we often know what we are going to get rid of, but then convince ourselves to keep it until a later date- when we get rid of it. I am very guilty of this- know that I have no intention of keeping something indefinitely, but store it in a cabinet/don't use for a long time before I do eventually get rid of it. So, trust your initial instincts about stuff. If people are helping you, don't let their input influence you or ask them not to offer their advice about what you should keep.

    There's a book that's been discussed on this board a bit, and in it the lady talks about helping people eliminate up to 3/4 of their belongings, and notes that most people she's worked with will eventually miss an average of 3 items that they got rid of. She encourages people to accept that fact, get rid of a ton of stuff, and know that there will probably be a tiny number of items that you second guess- but life will go on nicely, even without those items. I notice that I usually forget things that I donate- wonder if other people have that experience too? It's like once it's out of the house, it's often like it never existed unless I see a picture or something.

    Pace yourself too. The previous poster mentioned something along these lines, but whenever you are doing a massive task, it's easy to be very motivated at the start and then burn yourself out. Work at a steady efficient pace from the start, and take breaks as you need to.

    Have to also agree with the sentiment about not bothering with the hassle of selling things that you are parting with, unless they do have some significant value. You need energy for other things right now, and focusing on the perceived value certain items still have might be more aggravating that just letting them go and starting you new life.

    I am interested in hearing about your experience after the fact. Good luck and stay focused on the new organized life that awaits you :)


    artemis_ma thanked quasifish
  • artemis_ma

    Thanks everyone. I plan to wake at about 6 am Saturday (not a real stretch for me) and work until 9 am, when I want to take a break at the Farmer's Market. I'm hoping to get rid of outdoor stuff and main floor stuff on Saturday -- which will mean moving a LOT of things around. There is a bunch of junk presswood furniture from my early days when I seriously had NO money, some outdoor construction stuff, the carpet in the office room, some old shelving... This is not counting the "little" stuff.

    I plan to do upstairs -- the main level -- on Saturday. I'll get some stuff tossed Friday after work but dark is coming quickly these days. Sunday will be residue from Saturday, plus basement and garage and den, down below.

    There are a couple of items I will have to put on something like Craig's list, but not that many. The old dining set with chairs, and one cherrywood dresser.

    I will be back to re-read...

  • artemis_ma

    Yes, the more I think about it, I know I have so much unavailable time to do a garage sale....

  • cupofkindnessgw

    Push hard, Artemis! Don't beat yourself up over anything you toss in the dumpster. No guilt. Nothing in that dumpster is worth your peace. Enjoy freedom from things you don't love or need. How wonderful is that? : )


    Like Quasifish said, pace yourself. And please please please keep us posted!

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  • artemis_ma

    Just got home 20 minutes ago, and the dumpster looks great! I tossed in a old stained resin table just to get the mojo going, but it is shortly going to be too dark to do much else tonight. Dinner is (nuked) take-out and I'm eating it while typing.

    I have a Goodwill pile going. (A couple of paintings, a variety of knick knacks in good shape).

    Know anyone who collects and refurbishes old Barbie dolls? (They'd be fine but they have the earring ear rot thing going on.)

  • mmmm12COzone5

    So jealous! Would love to do what you are doing.

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  • artemis_ma

    Went to sleep shortly after posting last night. It has been a grueling week at work.

    Been up for an hour and a half - this is breakfast break. It is too early to be slamming things into a metal dumpster - I figure the neighbors might not appreciate - so I am staging things from my office room (recently apparently just a storage room) to the back porch so they are ready for a push later in the day... Really old books (these are computer books, some dating from the mid-1980's) will hit the recycle trash rather than the dumpster.

    Okay, breakfast done -- (2 soft boiled eggs, my usual go-to breakfast, minus the fruit.)

  • cupofkindnessgw

    What a great start! What a fun, fulfilling day!

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  • artemis_ma

    45 minute Farmer's Market break (including drive time). Now it is "Second Breakfast" -- a cinnamon roll I bought there. Have dropped some stuff into the dumpster and I have gotten two bookcases out of the house, one into the dumpster -- but the six foot tall presswood thing was heavier than expected. It is awaiting me to finish the roll and unscrew/dissemble it -- I did get it outside, but it is not going to be easy to drag it down to the dumpster without ripping up the grass. Nor will I be able by myself to tip it up and over into the dumpster -- I could ask my handy neighbor for an assist, but that will be a last resort. (He already plows my snow and usually -- last winter was an exception -- won't take money.) Well, there is always the hatchet!

    Handy hint, if you are ever trying to shift heavy furniture in your house: Find an old beat up nightgown, tee shirt or other garment you no longer care about, and maneuver one edge / side onto the item of clothing. Then, drag -- works over any flooring except carpeting.

    The really annoying thing: I have a LOT more stuff stashed "out of the way" in my office than I ever expected. (My laptop has been at my dining room table for several years, so I can watch what I am cooking... Guests come over -- stuff gets stashed back there...) So it will be a while before I dig down to the rug. Which will GO.

  • quasifish

    Sounds like you are off to a good start and finding the right types of things to get rid of, though it sounds like you already had some items earmarked for disposal while they were still in place. Hope things continue to go smoothly throughout the day.

    You asked about Barbies- I'd send those to the thrift store. My experience has been that thrift stores resell known brands of dolls no matter the condition. I use to buy and refurbish barbies and would often buy ones that didn't even have hair anymore :)

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  • artemis_ma

    A lot in, a lot more to go! I think I will have to ask for an extension on the dumpster.

  • cupofkindnessgw

    An extension on the dumpster rental is a great idea, much better than having it hauled then scheduling a new rental. Plus, you'd lose momentum and perhaps even decide that you've had enough and quit dejunking. You must feel very tired, but very happy with the remarkable, life-changing progress you are making. It only gets better!

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  • carabubble

    You're an inspiration. I've been going in small spurts since spring of 2014 in trying to get rid of things. Go with the extension while you're on a roll.

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  • artemis_ma

    Thanks. I will call in for an extension as soon as they open in the morning! I am very pleased, though, I finally got that rug (approx 7 feet by 10 feet) out of that room on my ownsome, and into the dumpster! I do have a friend who can help with additional stuff later on. But now, whatever I can get out of here by Thursday is good by me. (I will be at work Monday and Tuesday, but took the rest of the week off.)

  • quasifish

    Wow, you've definitely been making progress! I came online just to see if you had posted :) You are very inspiring to me too.

    Definitely extend if you can. Having the dumpster there is a good time to get rid of the bigger stuff like the furniture and rug, as well as any other masses of 'low hanging fruit.' You can always sort smaller items and toss them in a regular garbage can, maybe even ask a friend or neighbor for room in theirs later- we are always happy to help out a moving neighbor with some trash can space, bet others are too.

    Keep it up- can't wait to hear more.

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  • cupofkindnessgw

    I'm muddling through boxes that I have not dealt with for ten or more years. Craft items, children's toys and clothes, cards and letter, etc. things so very difficult to part with. What is the hardest is coming to terms with how much time and money I spent on things when I should have been focused on my family and primarily, doing good things for myself to alieviate stress, rather than accumulate worthless stuff. Very painful in so many ways, to sort through it all because of the wastefulness it represents. So foolish but that's in the past. Should be done in a few hours, planning a trip to the thrift store this afternoon. Just got to let it go and move forward.

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  • artemis_ma

    I have an extension to Thursday afternoon. Anything after will either fit in (perhaps multiple bags) into something smaller than a dumpster, or be sold on Craigs List or Freecycle, or donated through a thrift shop or Goodwill. I still have some real trash in the basement, which I should up-end out tomorrow. At this point, I don't really care if I get any money for the stuff I still need to remove -- but there are some items I have enough of a personal connection to, that I want to see someone who wants these things get them, rather than waste and trash them. That would hurt a lot, actually.

  • Skywatcher

    gwcupofkindness, you're not being wasteful with those items since you are re-distributing them at the thrift store. Now they will be appreciated and used!

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  • quasifish

    Working hard again on Wednesday, artemis_ma? Today another full day? How does your house look? Do you see and feel a huge difference in the amount of things you have inside now?

    I totally understand what you are saying about wanting to rehome certain items of personal value.

    Skywatcher and gwcupofkindness, I once knew a lady who would sing "please release me, let me go.... and let me live again..." to the stuff she was donating. She claimed it helped remind her that she was letting it go to, well, live again :)

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  • cupofkindnessgw

    Yes, quasifish! That attitude of allowing things to "bless" someone else is a great way of encouraging the donation process. I donated several boxes of great toys, dolls, etc to a thrift shop that is run by a women's shelter, maybe some of those things will find there way into the shelter itself and be enjoyed by those precious children who deserve so much more than they are dealing with now. Otherwise for me, things from my children's little days are difficult to let go because they represent so many good memories and are just super cute anyway!

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  • quasifish

    gardenwebcupofkindness- oh, I am right there with you! DD's baby clothes and toys are one of the hardest things for me to purge-- and kids end up with so much stuff. We are down to just a few boxes now. The most important stuff. But, I often try to think about another young child wearing or playing with those items, and know that they have far more value being used today than they will as memories and aged items 20 years from now. Still, it's difficult!

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  • artemis_ma

    The dumpster was removed about an hour or so ago. There were two stuffed cats from my childhood I found hard to depart with -- but there was no way they'd ever be cleaned up enough for someone to buy. They are GONE. I don't regret them like I still regret that lamp from my original post.

    The dumpster was pretty full -- 10 x 6 x 4. No, it wasn't completely compacted, and there are some heavy duty items that yet need to go. The rug under the dining table -- I can't move the table by myself, but there needs to be a rug under it to keep chairs from scraping, so that is later. (My cats would probably destroy a new one anyway in the next 5-6 months...) There's a file cabinet in the basement that I forgot about until yesterday, and that needs to go. A friend will help me on these minor things come spring when they Need To Go.

    I will sell the dining set on Craig's List, along with a bedroom dresser and a weird desk-like thing -- with the proviso that buyers come and pick up these items themselves.



  • mmmm12COzone5

    Congrats! Time to collapse and celebrate your progress. How much does a dumpster cost?

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  • cupofkindnessgw

    Does 10x6x4=240 cubic feet? Aren't most good-size totes about 4 cubic feet? Not sure of the math, but doesn't that equal at least 50 or so large totes if just odds and ends (i know that old furniture and other bulky items were tossed too) were thrown into the dumpster? Wow! We are so happy for you, A job very well done! You worked very, very hard!

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  • thankurnmo

    Just reading all of this and I guess coming in towards the end- but wanted to give my praise to a job well done and with lots of realistic practical judgement!!

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  • quasifish

    WTG! It sounds like a very successful couple of days. Now time for a little break? Or is your momentum still up? It sounds like you will still be in your house for a few more months yet? Very smart to start so far ahead of time.

    Not to encourage you to buy new things, but that lamp you regret... have you looked on ebay to see if you can find a similar one? I had a decorative item that I loaned to a relative and then later had a falling out with that relative. It was that proverbial 'one thing' that I wanted back so badly. From time to time I would search online and after a couple of years found a very similar one on etsy. It helped put that regret to bed for me. Just a thought- I know you're trying to downsize, but if you had a lamp like that you loved, you might get rid of something else?

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  • artemis_ma

    The dumpster for three days cost me $325. I know most of the price goes into delivery and pick up rather than the number of days I had it -- but since they are also my regular trash company, and I knew I wasn't going to give it up that quickly once I saw what I was faced with -- I don't really know how much more having it for the extra days is going to cost. (I just knew I wasn't going to want to pay for it to come back a second time!)

    I feel really good that so much is gone! I do have a lot more to go, but if I can get two bags out each week of the small stuff (not counting kitchen stuff or kitty litter or any other "regular" trash) -- I'll be happy!

    I have taken two boxes to Goodwill so far. I am trying to hunt down a thrift shop for the Barbies.

  • rgreen48

    It's a bit funny. Down here in the South, the Conservative stronghold, we have socialized trash pick-up and it is awesome. Our city runs and operates the trash and recycling services and we can toss anything (except tires, and a few types of hazardous waste items) right onto the curb at any time during the year. A large waste truck with a claw makes rounds on every street looking for couches, mattresses, or just piles of stuff that didn't fit into the city-supplied trash or recycling cans.

    In this county, it's the same outside the city limits. In more rural counties, there are stations were people can bring any type of waste for free (well, it's paid for by property taxes.)

    It's too bad people are manipulated into misunderstanding ideas.

    artemis_ma thanked rgreen48
  • artemis_ma

    rgreen48, I'd love that!

  • quasifish

    WTG! (or WTKG?-- way to keep going). It sounds like the dumpster was well worth it.

    After DH and I bought our house, it seemed like everybody and his brother was renovating a house and the local waste management places did not have any dumpsters to rent out. We needed to get rid of a houseful of carpet and padding. Fortunately, the backyard is enclosed and we live in a place where it doesn't rain much (and didn't that whole summer), so we ended up slicing up the carpet and filling the big, rolling garbage bin about halfway with carpet each week-- for weeks and weeks on end. We did eventually get rid of it, but I'm always reminded about how you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. You can't do everything with a regular trash can, but you can do a lot! Especially if you pace yourself.

    The Barbies sound important to you. Maybe they are worth putting up on ebay?

    artemis_ma thanked quasifish
  • artemis_ma

    quasifish - even though most everything is much smaller, I still feel like I'm having to eat that elephant. I'm so happy about the dumpster, even if there's a lot more to go. Both the office and the basement now look manageable.

    I should try e-bay for the Barbies. It may work. I don't need money for them, I'd just like them to be loved, and this would mean being renovated.

  • quasifish

    artemis_ma, are you still out there? I was thinking about this thread over the weekend and was wondering if you were still around and maybe had an update on how things went?


    How did the purging ultimately go? How are things now? Did you learn anything along the way that you would share with others about the process of letting go of so much in a short period of time?

    Just curious to know if you are still out there an how you are doing!

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