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Down in the Dumps

August 6, 2013

One ritual I’ve enjoyed this summer is getting up early and going to the dump. This morning was no exception. Having loaded the car with large black garbage bags filled from a weekend of visitors, stuff from downsizing and an old dehumidifier, my mother and I drove to the dump with the windows wide open, enjoying the hint of fall in the air.

After tossing the bags into the humungous trash masher we headed over to the metal area. 

“Is there where we leave the dehumidifier?” my mom asked a guy wearing construction gloves.

ImageHe nodded. “But it costs fifteen dollars.” Despite our dump sticker, we had to pay extra. I left the humidifier with the heaping pile of televisions, washing machines and scrap metal and we headed home with smiles on our faces, happy to have lightened our load. However, the $15 fee had me thinking about how many times we actually pay for the same thing. My parents spent money when they bought the dehumidifier and now they were spending money to get rid of it. And while they needed and used the dehumidifier, many of us pay for things – things we don’t use – over and over.

Case in point self-storage units, which have been popping up in neighborhoods as fast as coffee shops. While there are numerous reasons people use storage units, most often the stuff stored sits unused and forgotten. Except by bill collectors. Doesn’t it seem ridiculous to pay for stuff you don’t use month after month?

The popular TV show “Storage Wars” is a great example of this. Folks who can no longer afford to pay their storage fee end up of forfeiting the contents. And while yes, there is the occasional hot ticket item (that makes for good television) most of the junk inside isn’t worth the cost of storing it.

On a whim I Googled “scrap metal” and my parents’ zip code. A few places popped up and I called the first one.

“Can I bring over a dehumidifier?” I asked. “And if so, how much is it to leave it?”

“Sure,” the guy said. “But it won’t cost you anything. We give you money for it.”

Then I smiled, realizing I wouldn’t have to lighten my wallet again in order to lighten my load.


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  1. mark schwartzbaum permalink

    u so cute

  2. Yuju Yen permalink

    Do you know where I can dump old cell phones and get money for it?

  3. Excellent points, Felice. I’ve recently realized I have so many non-working items in my apartment, but I haven’t gotten rid of them yet! The list adds up quickly: 2 microwaves, and old stereo system, a toaster, an old computer, a fan and a vacuum cleaner. I don’t have a car but even if I did, I don’t think we can dump these things anymore. We have to have to get them to the recycler and pay fees. I’m glad to recycle but because of the inconvenience, I have a closet full of ‘stuff’.

    It really does make me pause when thinking of bringing more ‘stuff’ into my apartment.

    • Try asking different repair shops. They’re always looking for parts for repairs.

  4. Imani Rashid permalink

    I like ur idea of clearing out the clutter. I did a good job if organizing the garage. Had to throw away most of the things I wasn’t using. The good things, I gave to Iris House, which is just around the corner fro me. My next project is to clear out the basement. Also, I bought some new jogging suits this summer. My challenges are as follows: Will I be able to seperate from my old jogging suits, come the fall season? Or will I revert to using the excuse”I need to keep the old clothes and old sneakers so that I will have clothes to wear whenever I decide to paint a room”. I am LOL. I haven’t painted a room in 25 yrs

  5. Jamie Barr permalink

    Hello my favorite Felice! I am so relating to this as we are planning to move out of the house. The joyous process (I could not be more sarcastic) of unloading all the storage of the past 15 years has been an enormous project. Our garage sale was fascinating as we hoped to of sell
    things at a price we thought was fair and attainable. When we started selling things for $2 instead of our listed price of say $50, we knew this was not going to go as planned. By the end, we were trying to give everything away. And Ivy did call the Storage Wars people and they did refer someone to come have a look and buy some things. And yet with all of this action going on, we still have more to go!! Good times!!

    • The time and effort trying to resell used items is rarely monetarily compensated. You could easily make more money by going to work instead. Donate to Good Will, friends or family.

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