Dumpster Smarts: Getting Rid of Demolition Trash

Tips for getting rid of demolition debris.

I’m in the middle of completely gutting and rehabbing a house. So far, the debris has required two 20-yard trash containers to the tune of $800. When you’re talking about trash containers, space is money. In fact, in my case, every cubic yard of space is worth somewhere around $20. That adds up fast.

I use several strategies to cram in as much debris as possible as it’s filled. Here are a few of them.

Packing a Trash Container

– If possible, put big, flat stuff on the floor first. That includes plywood, doors (knobs knocked off and frames knocked apart) carpeting and pad (cut into squares and laid flat), etc.

– Lay drywall in next. Big chunks are fine if you can lay them flat. Otherwise, break sheets into smaller pieces or fold them up. Then layer them in like book pages.

– Wood: Knock apart wall sections to eliminate stud spaces. Pile the lumber neatly against one side of the container.

– Trim is chock-full of nails, and they create voids. Flatten them all and stack the trim as tightly as you can.

– Electrical cable can fill tons of space. Fold it into tight packages and tuck it into crevices.

If you just willy-nilly toss material over the side of your dumpster, you’ll be wasting lots of money and paying to dump air. It’s not exactly rocket science–just smart thinking about material placement as it goes into the container. With a bit of rearranging and planning, you can cram in two to three times the amount of rubbish.

Here are a couple of stories on demolition on FamilyHandyman.com that might help:

– Ripping out concrete: Concrete Demolition Tools and Tips

– Replacing a bearing wall with a beam: How to Install a Load-Bearing Beam

– Travis Larson, Senior Editor

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