Today, I had a pickup from 1-800-Got-Junk. I won’t lie; I was thrilled to get rid of a whole bunch of stuff that had been cluttering up my house. A decluttered space makes me feel like I also have a decluttered mind. However, the cost wasn’t cheap. It was a big, fat reminder that buying stuff costs me money, and not just at the time of purchase.
4 Things I Should Have Done Differently
I’ll be brutally honest: I paid almost $400 to have my junk hauled away. With 1-800-Got-Junk, you pay based on the amount of the truck that your stuff fills up. Mine filled up one-third of a truck.
I’m embarrassed to say that I know better than to do this. This isn’t the first time I’ve paid them hundreds of dollars to haul away stuff. And yet, I’ve done it before. Hopefully, I won’t have to do it again. Here are four things I would do differently next time:
1. I Shouldn’t Have Waited So Long
There were several boxes of small items that were good for donation. Usually, I keep a donation box inside of my closet. I toss things into it. When the box is full, I drop it off at Goodwill.
However, all of the donation centers were shut down for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Simultaneously, I was home even more than usual so I was decluttering more. The result was a whole bunch of stuff. Since I live car-free, taking bulk items in is challenging.
Next time, though, I won’t wait so long. I’ll put items in smaller boxes. I’ll take them in sooner so that I don’t have to pay someone to haul them away.
2. I Could Have Requested Bulky Item Pickup
As a San Francisco resident, I can request bulky pickup at least once per year. There’s no charge. The caveat is that I have to take the stuff down to the curb myself the night of the pickup.
One of the items I got rid of was a couch. I couldn’t take that downstairs myself. There was also some carpet that the dog had urinated on. I could get it downstairs but it was gross. So, instead of asking friends to help me, I just called the professionals in. However, I paid a literal price for that service.
3. I Could Have Sold or Given Away Items
Some of the things that I had to get rid of were perfectly good items that other people would want and use. I could have listed them with Freecycle or Facebook Marketplace or any number of other places.
I tend not to do that. For one thing, I don’t like having to meet individual people one after another to get rid of stuff. That’s especially true during COVID-19 restrictions.
Plus, this time, I also had a lot of trash, so it felt like I might as well get it all gone in one fell swoop. However, you pay for what you have hauled away, so the more I had, the more paid.
4. I Wouldn’t Have Bought Stuff in the First Place
So much of what I got rid of this time around was stuff that I didn’t even have for very long. I got a new puppy this year and a lot of it was stuff for him. A crate, a dog bed, a kennel – things he used only briefly and didn’t need anymore. I could have easily gotten those for free or cheap locally instead of paying full price in the store.
Moreover, a lot of it was just junk that I bought on impulse. I’m not usually a big shopper. But I’ve gotten into a mad Amazon habit recently. And none of that stuff is stuff I end up wanting long-term. So I feel foolish for not just buying it but then paying to get rid of it. I hope that’s a lesson learned. I want to go back to “reduce” before “reuse” and “recycle.”
Benefits of Junk Pickup
Don’t get me wrong here. I might sound like I really regret having 1-800-Got-Junk pick up my stuff. I do in the sense that it cost me too much money. It’s not a frugal approach to decluttering.
However, there are things I like about it. The process is so simple. I booked online. I even could have gotten same-day pickup if I’d been ready. They arrived in the planned window of time. It took them less than fifteen minutes to get everything out of here. And I LOVE having a decluttered home again.
So, although I would do things differently in the future, I don’t regret getting the junk picked up.
Kathryn Vercillo is a professional writer with more than a decade of experience writing about healthy living and personal finance. She lives in San Francisco, where she has learned to maximize frugal living tips in order to thrive as a freelancer in one of the nation’s most expensive cities. When she’s not writing, she’s exploring the city on foot with her rescue dog. Learn more about her at www.kathrynvercillo.com. Kathryn also writes about saving money with coupons over at GroceryCouponGuide.com .