Help me clean out my parents' house!
June 13, 2007 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Help me clean out my parents' house!

Basically, my disabled parents have a house full of crap. Not literal crap, but just a bunch of junk they would like to be rid of. Of course they can't haul it off themselves, which leaves the job to me. This doesn't seem to work either since I don't have access to a large truck and the amount of time it would take to haul everything off solo makes renting one infeasible, especially since my job keeps me out of town quite a bit.

So I got to thinking that there must be a service for such an occasion. Much like movers, but they take everything to the dump instead of a new house. Phonebook searching has failed me, as evidenced by this question. Are there any common paid services that will perform this sort of task? Or is there a better way to do it altogether?
posted by Willie0248 to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
1800GOTJUNK has franchises and trucks in most places. I've used them frequently, no complaints!
posted by nkknkk at 10:01 AM on June 13, 2007

nkknkk beat me to it on the 1800gotjunk.

Another thought - have you considered contacting a local auction house? Although you might think it's junk, there might be some items of value in there. I believe some places will clear out a whole house, sell off what they think is worthwhile, and your folks might make a couple of bucks.
posted by suki at 10:09 AM on June 13, 2007

You could probably get rid of a lot of it via freecycle; I've seen people post "Bunch of crap at 123 Main St, this Satuday. List of craps as follows..." and while it's not everybody's favourite thing to do it like that, it does seem to work. Do it the day before the 1-800-GOT-JUNK folk come, and you'd probably save money and make people happy.

You could also rent a skip?
posted by kmennie at 10:11 AM on June 13, 2007

nkknkk beat me to it! Give them a call and see if they can help. Here is their website.
posted by scooters.toad at 10:11 AM on June 13, 2007

make sure it is actually junk

one man's trash = another's treasure

i've seen things worth hundreds or thousands of dollars thrown in w/the "junk"

you could always hold an auction, people actually pay money for real junk believe it or not, and the auction co will help pack and move most of th stuff outside for the sale
posted by Salvatorparadise at 10:18 AM on June 13, 2007

Is it trash or just “crap?” Trash is stuff that needs to be thrown out. If there’s enough of it the best way is to rent a roll-off dumpster for a weekend.

“Crap” is stuff that is junk to you but someone else might be able to use it.

Are there any regular flea markets near you? Find someone with a table full of “crap” (as opposed to the folks selling new airbrushed Molly Hatchet t-shirts) and describe what you have. They might be willing to come take it. We just had a friend-of-a-friend clean out our soon-to-be-demolished house. A lot of our “crap” was stuff that he could sell at a flea market. He considered that as payment for the real trash that he had to dispose of.

Bigger stuff, or boxes of related stuff, is easy to get rid of on Freecycle. You’d be surprised what people will take, as long as it’s free. We just got rid of a couple of my son’s homemade Halloween costumes, among other things. It fills me with pride knowing the astronaut costume I built (complete with working LEDs and a fishbowl helmet!) will be used by some other kid come October.

Some thrift stores and other charities will come pick stuff up if there are things they can use and/or sell.

My town will take “bulk waste” if you schedule it and pay ahead of time. Check with your parent’s town and see if they do anything like that.
posted by bondcliff at 10:24 AM on June 13, 2007

College Hunks Hauling Junk... my grandmother once said that she would totally call them.
posted by anaelith at 10:42 AM on June 13, 2007

Awesome tips, guys!

I am indeed surprised to see the items being taken on freecycle!
posted by Willie0248 at 10:48 AM on June 13, 2007

Seconding kmennie on freecycle -- after my recent move, I was astounded at the amount and variety of items people were willing to haul away. Some came with large trucks and extra help to lift things. A lot of people will take literally anything if it's free (which is a whole other issue...)

Anecdotally about 1800GOTJUNK, my husband secured an estimate from them for removal of a few bulky items, and found it to be way too expensive. He told them as much, but the next day, they sent a couple of guys over to our place anyway. When my husband told them he'd informed the company it was too expensive, the guys offered to haul the stuff themselves, off the books, for something like $40 cash. (I wonder how much money those guys make under the table like that?)
posted by justonegirl at 11:07 AM on June 13, 2007

You don't have to pay someone to take away stuff. You can actually get paid -- hire someone else to sell your stuff. (As suki pointed out.)

No Such Thing as Junk

There are a few differences from service to service, but the "estate auction" business has actually changed a lot with so many people moving into retirement communities or nursing homes and divesting their stuff -- and so few adult children living nearby to take over the house or the stuff. They not only have the help, they have the networking connections to buyers, and will try to turn themselves (and you) a profit, at least in terms of the salable and movable stuff.
posted by dhartung at 12:57 PM on June 13, 2007

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