We live in a suburb that contracts with a private garbage collection company to pick up our trash. This means that residents are charged for every can of garbage thrown out (you have to buy stickers that you stick on the cans each week). Luckily, this make us want to recycle a lot more than we used to. (Every time we check out at the grocery store, Kelly says, “Ah, we have to remember to bring our own bags next time!”). It also means that most people have only one large garbage can.
The previous owners of our house left three garbage cans as well as the the big blue recycle bin. “Great,” I thought, “that’s one less thing I need to worry about.” Then I looked in the cans. All three garbage cans, as well as the recycle bin, were completely full. Cardboard boxes were even popping out the top of the recycle bin.
As you can imagine, this was super disappointing. Moving into a new house tends to create a ton of trash. I’m embarrassed to say I still have a pile of plastic wrap and torn-up boxes in the garage that I slowly chip away at each week.
On our first garbage day, I managed to move two garbage cans, in addition to the recycle bin, to the curb. When I got home, one can had a huge sticker on it, telling us it was too heavy to be taken away. I knew it was heavy because, not having wheels, I had to drag it up our driveway (which is at an incline toward the street), but I didn’t realize the garbage guys had weight restrictions (don’t they have machines for that?). I took it back behind the garage and, after a little digging, discovered the problem. The can had one garbage bag on top, but underneath, it was totally full of rotting yard waste buried in half a can of water. It smelled terrible.
Rather than dump the entire can, I pulled it off to an unused corner of the back yard and drilled five holes in the bottom to slowly drain the nasty water out. It’s typically best practice to dispose of yard waste in paper containers you can buy at the local hardware store (as opposed to the garbage sacks the previous owners had used), so as soon as it dries out I’ll use it either for mulch or re-package it properly and get rid of it for good.
If you’re in the process of moving, either from your place or to a new one, do yourself and your buyers a favor and deal with the garbage. It might seem like a small consideration in the midst of everything else, but to the new owner, it sort of feels like you left a huge dump in all of the new toilets. That said, we’ll leave toilet cleaning for another post—or maybe not.