Making the Most of a Dumpster Rental

You’ve finally decided to get rid of the clutter from your home once and for all…

A feeling of relief overcomes you as you reserve a dumpster to be delivered sometime in the next two weeks…

But where do I even start?

What goes in a dumpster?

Will I have enough time?

Where will all this clutter go in the meantime as we wait for the dumpster to arrive?

These questions (and many more perhaps you didn’t even know you had!) will be answered in the following list of advice from members of our community.

how to make the most of dumpster rental


How to Make the Most of Your Dumpster Rental

1. Set aside metal to take to the recycling center.

One of our members, Judy King, made enough on metal to almost cover the $400 cost of the dumpster by setting it aside to recycle from her family farm.

Related: 10 tips for turning clutter into cash + A success story worth $10k

cash back when recycling scrap metal
Make some extra cash by recycling scrap metal. It can definitely help pay for your dumpster rental.

2. Ask about the cost of keeping it extra days.

Do this when you call to reserve the dumpster. It’s usually not a lot more to keep a few extra days, you just need to ask up front!

3. Ask what is allowed/not allowed.

Time with the dumpster will go fast so be sure and ask what is allowed/not allowed in order to have a more solid plan for disposal of items.

4. Start making a dumpster pile in advance.

As you wait for the dumpster to be delivered, make use of that time! Start by making a pile to be put in ahead of dumpster delivery.

5. Placement matters!

If possible, ask the refuse company to deliver the dumpster as close as possible to the decluttering site. Next to the garage door or carport works really well for quick offloading from the house.

6. Take baby steps early on.

It does get easier as days go on… so at first if you are struggling, set the “hard to let go” items beside the dumpster, then as you go…it will become easier to place them inside! 

7. Enlist helpers!

Chances are you have well-meaning family and/or friends or even neighbors that will give you a couple days of their time for the hard labor of slinging items into the dumpster.

8. BEFORE and AFTER photos are very helpful!

This will show you just how far you’ve come in the process and how much you let go of during the work time.

when you have too much stuff to declutter, hire a dumpster rental
BEFORE: When you have too much stuff to declutter, hire a dumpster rental.
after offloading clutter into a dumpster rental
AFTER: Clutter has been cleared out and offloaded to a dumpster.

9. Acknowledge the feelings you are having during the process.

For the person that sees possibilities in everything, it can be so hard to let go. For the unfinished projects/possibilities as you go through them, allow yourself a set number or better yet, an allotted space for these treasures.

10. Decide what to let go.

Set the “hard to let go” projects and items out beside the dumpster and as you uncover more “projects” pick /or shop from the many options for the agreed number of ones you like best.

Consider what projects can fit back in the allotted space, and let the rest go. This is so a person can still feel some control over keeping a few things.

If the person is older, it is perhaps knowing and acknowledging, “I won’t be around much longer and don’t want to burden my family with all of my belongings.” Being sensitive to others’ feelings as they navigate through this tough time will go a long way in helping keep the momentum and morale up.

Related: Do I have a hoarder house? The question that changed my life

As you wait for the dumpster to be delivered:

Plan meals ahead. You want super easy, delicious, and nutritious meals… EASY is the key!

Start by cooking extra and freezing a few meals. Think sloppy Joe’s, shredded chicken, stew, etc… mix up a meatloaf and freeze, baked spaghetti for the freezer. You will not want to be doing many dishes while focused on making the most of the dumpster, so plan on paper plates and cups to use.

Attempt to sell stuff online. Start a week or two ahead with anything you could sell, take photos and put on Facebook Marketplace. If it doesn’t sell before the dumpster comes then discard it or donate it.

Weather permitting: Set big toys and furniture by the curb with a free sign and they’ll likely be gone within the hour. Your local Buy Nothing Group on Facebook is a great option to take a few photos, post “free – first come first served” and away they’ll go!

before and after offloading to the dumpster rental
The beauty of a dumpster rental is the ability to get rid of so much stuff in one go.

Time’s up and still room in the dumpster?

Be sure to look in areas you seldom go into such as the attic, basement, and sheds. Tell your family members they can add to the dumpster while you still have space in there.

You are also generally allowed to put items into the dumpster up until the minute they roll the tarp back over the bin and haul it away.


Want to learn more about decluttering and creating a calmer living space? Check out our decluttering resources in our shop.


Keep Reading

If you have questions related to your purchase(s), please do not leave a comment on the blog. Contact our customer success team for assistance.

5 thoughts on “Making the Most of a Dumpster Rental”

  1. I had what looked like a hoarder garage and storage room on the bottom level of our house. I’m not actually a hoarder, I was just too busy and exhausted for most of my working years to take care of things properly (like I know how to do now.) Our double car garage and storage room had treasures, books, toys and junk piled floor to ceiling with only a small pathway through. The upstairs of our house looked messy, but fairly decent.
    Anyway, when I retired my husband and I decided to clean it all out. In Pendleton, OR, you don’t pay a rental for the amount of time you a dumpster, you only pay to have it dumped. We had a 5-yard dumpster sitting in our driveway for 7 months while we worked our way through the mess. Did I mention the opossum who came through the open cat door and raised a family? It survived on the cat food we put out for our cats. We could only take about 3 hours at a time, working almost every day. I was appalled by the sheer tonnage of absolute trash we had. The dumpster was emptied 6 or 7 times before we were done. I don’t remember the cost of each dump, but it was less than $70 each. It was well worth the price and the embarassment of having a pet dumpster for that long.
    We didn’t think about taking before and after pictures until we got about a quarter of the way through. But we do have pictures from then on until the completely clean garage and storage room. So satisfying! And we have kept them clean for 5 years. I took a decluttering and organizing course just before we started this project and I often, even now, think of the short video that Sarah (I think) had in her portion of the course showing a toddler having a meltdown, refusing to do something that could have taken her a minute to do and I say to myself, “Don’t be a toddler” when I don’t want to work on something. Thank you.
    P.S. The cats now have RFID chips and a door that recognizes them and not the opossums.

  2. Great content!

    We all have to rent a dumpster once or twice in our lives, and you will absolutely need one when you are remodeling your home. You will be tearing out cabinets and walls; a lot of destruction will be going on.

  3. I can’t believe what some people throw away. I saw my neighbor was doing an extensive construction update on their home, which included a massive pile of wood that they threw away in their dumpster rental. I couldn’t believe it. I nearly jumped out of a moving car to go ask them if I could take some of the wood. They looked all confused as if I’m the weird one. I have put that wood to good use, and still have big plans.


Leave a Comment

Welcome. I’m Sarah!


I’m the creator of Decluttering School (formerly known as Early Bird Mom), lover of organized spaces, encourager to women and mom to four boys. Click here to read more!

Search Articles

© 2023 Mueller Creative Inc. All rights Reserved.                             Disclaimer