I Need a Junkman

Junkpile picture from www.sxc.hu -johnnybergSpring is finally here and I’m feeling an urge to do some major spring cleaning.  We haven’t been in this house for very long (seven months) and yet somehow we’ve done a pretty good job filling it up.  Well, maybe it’s not full but it’s feeling a bit cluttered.  Part of the problem is that I’m a packrat.  Part of the problem is that Will has a boxes stored in the living room until he figures out exactly how he wants his office set up.  (My boxes are hidden in closets.)

And part of the problem is that we have a lot of stuff we’re not quite sure how to get rid of.  Some of it we could donate to Goodwill or the Habitat for Humanity ReStore but some of it seems like junk that nobody wants.  Used carpet backing?  Old carpeting?  Old wood paneling?  Pieces of broken ceiling trim?  Scraps of treated lumber?  A gigantic tarp that used to cover our carport until it collapsed in the snow?  Old laptop computers that sorta work?

A lot of this stuff seems like it might be useful some day so I feel bad throwing it away.  Some of it probably ought to be thrown away but I can’t find a good way to transport it to the dump.  Then there’s some stuff that seems like it could be useful to someone with the skills to fix it up but I’m clearly not that person.

So I need a junkman.  I really love the image of the gypsy tinker who goes from house to house mending pots and collecting old scraps to build new toys and tools.  Unfortunately, I think the position has become obsolete in this world of throwaway design and cheap replacements, although some of the peak oil planners will tell you that tinkerers are about to be in high demand.  Still, I’d settle for the junkman service in Denver where a group of strapping young men will come to your house and haul away your junk for a fee.  They do their best to salvage and recycle what they can from your pile.   It sounds like a pretty cool business and I wonder if a similar business could be successful here.  Alas, I don’t think I’m the one to run it, but maybe I’ll get motivated next weekend and at least take a load of stuff to the ReStore.

Of course, the danger there is that I’ll find some awesome building materials to buy and bring home.  Oh, the vicious cycle.

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9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Gini said,

    March 10, 2009 @ 7:00 am

    In Raleigh, the city will take old computers and monitors for recycling (from the curb), and there are several organizations in the area that will take still useful computers, refurbish them and pass them along to people/organizations that need them. For a fee, the city will also take a truckload of stuff off your hands, though I don’t know how thoroughly they recycle what they collect.

  2. 2

    Dana said,

    March 10, 2009 @ 1:00 pm

    Yesterday, we hauled our old stove out to the curb for the bulky item pick-up day. This was the stove we had originally in the house, and it still worked but due to the wonky walls in the kitchen, when we put in all the cabinets, the space to put it back in turned out to be about an inch too small. (We replaced it with an induction cooktop and a convection oven, though, so at least it was a greener upgrade.) We had despaired of anyone accepting it for a donation, though, because places around here only wanted it if it was less than 10 years old and we couldn’t find the manufacture date on it anywhere at all. Hence, out to the curb.

    As it turned out, they don’t actually take bulky appliances away until Thursday, so it was still sitting out there last night. A guy happened to drive down our street, saw it, and asked us if he could take it. Hooray! It won’t be wasted after all.

    But anyway, yes, a junkman service would be much appreciated here as well.

  3. 3

    Angel said,

    March 10, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

    Interestingly enough, I know that there were several “junkmen” in the Greenville area. They would take old appliances and various other materials to refurbish or sell to a recycling or scrap metal place. My mom also had a random guy come by her house yesterday asking about the old clothes washer she had in the yard. She was going to call the City of Raleigh to haul it away, but this guy took it to either refurbish, if possible (and probably not in the case of this washer, as I understand it was wrecked beyond repair) or dismantle and sell for parts and scrap metal. She was even going to see if he would be interested in their old TV.

    I guess the moral of the story is to keep an eye out for junkmen. They may show up when you least expect them.

  4. 4

    Ex-Junk Hunk said,

    March 10, 2009 @ 11:10 pm

    Need a hunky junkman – Check out College Hunks Hauling Junk – http://www.1800junkusa.com/ They are in the Raleigh area.

  5. 5

    Jessica said,

    March 20, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

    You know, I see all of that stuff you listed go pretty quickly on Freecycle. Why not post it up to see if there are any takers?

  6. 6

    Will said,

    March 21, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

    We’ve used Freecycle or Craigslist a couple of times and it works well when it works. It’s a real pain when we wait around for people who are late or never come, though. Our local Freecycle also has a somewhat onerous sign-up policy, which discouraged us from posting. Usually we take stuff to Goodwill, but they’re not interested in scraps.

    And there is some stuff that nobody wants (like the broken ceiling trim).

  7. 7

    Miranda Kerr said,

    April 6, 2009 @ 11:57 am

    I recently used http://www.technologyrecycler.net to recycle a few old computers and monitors that had been sitting in my garage for a couple of years. They came out to my house in Cary and picked them up and took my old tube television too.

  8. 8

    Maggie said,

    April 6, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

    Thanks for the link! There’s actually a local group doing a computer pick up in a couple of weeks so I think we’ll try to take advantage of that one while we can.

  9. 9

    Recycling Response Team said,

    November 11, 2014 @ 1:32 pm


    Our domain has been updated to http://www.technologyrecyclers.net We no longer use the old domain.

    Thank You
    Recycling Response Team

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