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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Vox Pop: Converting clutter from trash to treasure

Quick way to dispose of lots of stuff? | Ask MetaFilter

Wow, talk about good timing.

I've noticed in comments on this week's clutter posts that there's a lot of interest from you all in the away part of "throw away" -- people seem to have a lot of ideas on the most interesting, charitable, creative, and environmentally-responsible routes for converting your own trash into someone else's treasure.

So far we (and that AskMe thread) have covered:

  • Recycling
  • Goodwill (and similar charities)
  • 1-800-GOT-JUNK (and similar services)
  • Craigslist (and other classified avenues)
  • eBay (and other online sales ideas)
  • Freecycle
  • Putting it on the street with a "Free" sign

What's your creative solution? Let's try to avoid names of specific businesses and charities except inasmuch as they offer a truly creative and non-obvious solution to reuse or recycling. What's the most interesting way you've cleared your crap while doing some good? Have you got any suggestions that are clever and convenient?

Merlin's picture

@sarahThose who said 1800GOTJUNK was...


Those who said 1800GOTJUNK was ‘reasonable’ - can you give a ballpark figure for your job?

That’s a great question, actually.

1800GOTJUNK was the first company I used for junk removal — maybe 5 years ago — and I was in the same quandary. At the time I used them, they seemed very pricey to me, but after having done many dump runs on my own over the last few years (often renting a costly van to do so), I’m more sympathetic (although that particular company still seems on the expensive side compared to others I’ve now used).

I think it’s difficult for any hauler to do a sight-unseen estimate, primarily because civilians like us are notoriously bad at guessing weight and volume. And since most hauling comes down to those two factors, they like to do the bid in person (plus they’re more likely to get the gig if they’re there).

If you have a lot of stuff (and aren’t in a super hurry), I’d suggest breaking your load into several smaller bits and trying 2-3 different places. That way you get some perspective on price, you get to know different companies, and you’re also less likely to get stuck with a single big bill.

Personally, I also think it’s important that the people be professional and that they don’t charge so little that they’re likely to be dumping your stuff in the woods or on the side of a road somewhere, Sopranos asbestos-style. :-)




An Oblique Strategy:
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