a few thoughts on junk removal

I learned some things about junk removal over the past few days. A cursory internet search was less than helpful*, so here is my rundown. Should you ever need to remove junk that the fine people of Craigslist don't even want, read on (if you don't, this may be a pretty dry post):


of junk and hauling

At long last, some progress!

I can't believe it has taken four months to rip everything up in the back yard. Admittedly, I haven't been working on it every weekend. More like an hour or two here and there. A nasty summer cold, the heat, and general laziness have also slowed down the process.

A few weeks ago, I came to the realization that I was spending the majority of my time moving trash, planters, and deck furniture around to be able to access whatever it was I needed to work on, rather than doing the actual construction work itself. It was time to haul some junk.

Disposal of said junk, however, is more complicated than it would seem. After sorting through the plastic bags, junk food wrappers, bottles, cans, the occasional piece of flatware, and glass, and sending it on its way in the normal trash and recycling, I was left with a lot of construction debris: chunks of plywood, broken-up bricks, and a host of random metal scraps, mortar, and rocks that we found under the original deck.

Like many cities, Philadelphia does not allow residents to throw away construction debris in regular trash pickup. For good reason, too. Construction materials are bulky, heavy, and sometimes more dangerous than normal household trash. And I can only imagine what trash day would look like in this city if we were all allowed to toss our rebar, drywall, and mortar chunks onto the street.

My options for dealing with the rest of the junk were as follows:
  • Build over the trash. I mean, that's what the last guys did (ugh). Cost: free, a guilty conscience, and some pretty questionable stuff in the soil below my raised beds.
  • Take the debris to the dump myself. Cost: $80-$100 for up to one ton of debris drop-off, $50 pickup truck rental for a half day, manpower + sweat.
  • Pay someone to take the trash. Cost: $350, peace of mind that the junk gets taken to the proper facilities (and not tossed in the Schuylkill), a few glasses of water/lemonade/tea for the crew.
After a couple of weeks of dragging my feet, Option 3 was looking better and better. $350 is a lot of money, especially given my budget of about $2000 for this whole project. But I've only given myself until Labor Day to finish the project, and that deadline is rapidly approaching. Today I bit the bullet and hired Junk-Be-Gone (full review to follow).

It was a very good decision.

It took less than an hour for two guys to clear everything out, and they did a great job. I didn't have to lift a finger in the 90+ degree heat, either. And, of course, the best part: the yard is finally clean enough that I can move on to the building phase.

Stay tuned for posts about raised flower beds, decking materials, rain collection barrels, and much more!