Fall is a great time of the year to take stock of junk that is sitting around the house, condo or apartment. Junk can cause a lot of stress and getting rid of it can help ease your mind.
But there is more to de-cluttering the home and junk removal than just hauling what you want to get rid of down to the curb. Safety is a big factor.
According to Mike Thorne, Founder and CEO of JUST JUNK, first you need to divide and conquer. In each room, make piles according to these categories:
- Keep it in the room
- Put it away in another room
- Donate it
- Recycle it
- Sell it
Things start to get tricky when talking about throwing out electronic items like computers and TVs. Most municipalities have recycling centres for those.
What about hazardous items that could be corrosive, flammable, explosive or poisonous – such as paint cans, glue, motor oil, household cleaners? That’s when you really have to be careful. Most – if not all – communities have drop off depots where residents can take hazardous materials.
Call your city or municipality’s waste hotline or recycling department to locate the drop-off area. Before you toss it out, store anything hazardous in a cool, dry place.
DIY junk removal
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind if you are going to de-clutter:
- Teamwork and preparation. Cutting corners, especially when removing large items, isn’t worth the risk of damaging your property or injuring yourself. Get as many people involved as you can to help you out and plan the job properly and safely!
- Doors. When removing larger items, it may be a good idea to take doors off their hinges. You’ll have more mobility, which is better for safety – plus it will protect the framing of your home.
- Dollies and straps. Save both your time and your back – especially for big items such as washers, dishwashers and stoves – and use dollies and straps for moving items.
- Manageable sizes. If you can, take apart that large couch, desk, piano or shelving unit to make moving it easier.
- Safety gear. Wear work gloves to avoid injury from broken glass, splinters, or nails. Use safety glasses if you are using tools to demolish a larger object like a shed or hot tub. Wear work boots at all times for good grip and to protect your feet from heavy or hazardous objects.
- Wheelbarrows. For outdoor work, use a wheelbarrow when removing concrete and stone, so you don’t hurt your back.
- Appliances on the curb. Make sure to remove any doors from appliances like washers, dryers and refrigerators if they are being left at the curb. These might seem like great opportunities for exploration for little ones but they can pose serious safety risks.
What to look for in a junk removal company
Thorne knows a thing or two about the junk disposal business. JUST JUNK launched in 2003 and now services every major Canadian city. If you are going to hire a company to help you remove junk from your home, here are some tips:
- Make sure they are licensed and insured. You want to protect yourself in case of damage to property or injury to people.
- Make sure they can remove any junk, from anywhere on the property.
- Make sure they offer same and next day bookings.
- Make sure they can handle recycling and donating any items that are in good condition.
- Make sure they give a free estimate in writing, so pricing is up front.
Getting rid of junk is a good idea – you and your home will be safer, and you will have greater piece of mind.