As with so many seemingly unpleasant tasks, the hardest part of a home cleanout is getting started. Once you make that first move, it tends to progress with relative ease and speed, provided you keep at it and maintain the momentum. That is all well and good: but what should that ideal starting point be?
The answer is: draw up a plan. Every task worth doing should start with a blueprint, a map that will chart your course and guide you through to completion. A home cleanout is no different. Before you wade in and start throwing things away, take a moment to assess your situation and devise a scheme and schedule to deal with it.
- Set your goal: Decide what you want to achieve. Are you looking to make your home more marketable? Perhaps you just want to lead a more minimalistic life? Setting a definite goal. Creating a vision of what you want your home to look like after the cleanout will help you systematize the task better and will also motivate you to get it done.
- Create a plan: Go through each room and take inventory of what you have in there. What are the large pieces of furniture that you need to get out? Where will you need to spend more time sorting through a lot of smaller items? Once you have done that, create your plan. Perhaps you want to tackle it one room at a time, or maybe it would be better to go through and clear out all the old furniture throughout the house and then move on to smaller items. Create a plan that makes sense and that you can stick to. Make sure that plan is time bound. Give yourself a week, two weeks, whatever you think it will take. Break the job up into milestones. For example, you could say that you will clean the living room on Day One and then spend Days 2 and 3 on the spare bedroom.
Once you have your plan and schedule in place, you can rent your dumpster and get moving.
Organizing and purging
Once you get started, it is best to approach each space in your home in a systematic way. The most useful system is to purge the junk first and then organize what remains. You have a dumpster for a limited period, so your primary focus should be on what you want to get rid of. Clearing out the junk also gives you the space to organize what is left behind. Start with things that are obviously trash: broken items, empty containers, things you know without a doubt you will never need again. Having cleared that away, you will be left with things you want to keep, and perhaps some things you are not so sure about. Now, you can start sorting these out. Create three piles: keep, donate, and trash. Once you have finished sorting, you can take everything in pile three and throw it in the dumpster. Move the items in the donate pile into a designated short-term storage area – perhaps a corner of the garage, for example. Remember to set a timeline for the donation: don’t let the items sit there for too long; that would defeat the purpose. Once you have completed the cleanout, you can either call a charitable organization to come and collect your donations, or take them there yourself. Save this for the very end of the cleanout, but plan for it before you start.
What to donate
That second pile brings us to the next question. What can – and should – you donate? Not everything can be donated. Charitable organizations are often inundated with things they cannot resell or reuse, so be selective. Things you should donate include:
- Old clothing that is still in good, usable condition
- Useable bags and luggage
- Furniture that is still usable but perhaps you don’t want to resell. A good example would be couches that can be reupholstered, or woodwork that someone may wish to restore.
- Old computers and electronics, provided they still work.
- Toys. Your children have probably piled up all too many great toys that they just don’t use anymore. If they are in good condition, charitable organizations will definitely take them.
- Books. There is a good market for the resale of quality secondhand books. You can either take your old books to a secondhand dealer or donate them.
- Exercise equipment
- Old or rarely used appliances.
- Old eyeglasses.
What to recycle
Before you throw anything into the trash pile, think about whether it can be recycled. Like donations, recycling should be done selectively and thoughtfully. Not everything can be recycled. Here are some things that you should definitely send for recycling:
- Old newspapers and magazines
- Cardboard boxes
- Drinks and food cans (aluminum and steel)
- Glass containers
- Plastic detergent bottles
- Aerosol cans (remove the plastic cap which can be recycled with other plastic items)
What goes into the dumpster
See Bargain Bins’ full list of acceptable and unacceptable items to know exactly what you can and can’t put in the dumpster. Here are some of the most common disposable items that you absolutely can put in our dumpsters:
- Appliances (not fridges and freezers)
- Wooden furniture
- Old flooring
- Metal furniture
- Packaging materials
- Toilets, old tiles and other ceramic items
Bargain Bins specializes in dumpster rentals and roll-off container rentals for residences and businesses in Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas. Our range of roll-off bins starts with our 3-yard Clutter Buster, and goes up to our giant 20-yard dumpster, which can take up to 5,000lbs of junk. If you are planning a house cleanout, first think about the above expert tips for cleaning out your home, then call us and rent the perfect dumpster for your spring cleaning project.