When the garage is full and the attic is overflowing, what’s a homeowner to do? Some items are too big to be placed into a trashcan by the curb, and it can be a hassle to drive a full haul to a transfer station.
Metro and the Lents Neighborhood Association came together earlier this month to offer residents of this southeast community an opportunity to rid themselves of unwanted junk.
Bike frames, box springs, children’s toys, furniture and more made their way to five large dumpsters called drop boxes, placed throughout the neighborhood on the street outside volunteers’ homes.
“This is like a reverse garage sale,” said Lee Rimar, host to a drop box. The idea is that people are getting rid of stuff from their households, he said before the event.
“We’ll be looking at a lot of stuff and if anything looks to be reusable, we’re going to leave that in the street for a while to see if anybody coming by will want to use it,” Rimar said.
So far this year, Metro has sponsored 41 cleanups, and 14 more are in the pipeline. By just the end of April, there had been 57 loads received at Metro transfer stations, saving customers nearly $13,000 in service fees.
In Lents, drop boxes were dropped off anywhere from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and officially open for business by 9. Volunteers screened for hazardous material – including construction debris, which has been prohibited from Metro-sponsored cleanups for years – as area residents came with their loads.
Residents brought pieces from new beginnings or past memories.
Mara Connolly and Jeremy Dunlap are pretty new to the area, having just moved into their home at the end of March.
“We actually are getting rid of stuff the sellers left,” Connolly said. “They left a lot of stuff in the yard, and so we’ve been dying to get rid of it.”
“I really debated if I wanted to get rid of that water-logged wood…” Dunlap joked. The drop box is the perfect place to get rid of such logs.
By the numbers:
55 applications received
41 events have taken place
57 voucher loads received at Metro transfer stations as of April 30
Value of disposing those loads amounts to $12,827
0 loads have been turned away
The drop boxes filled quickly.
“I got up and checked Facebook and they said it was a third full,” Connolly said. “I was like, ‘Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!’”
Ron and Sabrina Lincoln made it just in time. They were the last to contribute to the drop box on Southeast Ellis Street – the drop box was nearly full by 9:45 a.m.
“At first it started out bleak,” Ron Lincoln said, “Because, you know, everybody had started dumping before time, so it was kind of frustrating.”
Sabrina Lincoln said their home was right by the 101st and Holgate drop off site. “We were there at 9:10 and it was filled already.”
When they reached the drop box at Ellis, they were told even that one was full. But they stuck around to see if rearranging some of the dumpster’s contents would allow room for some of what they’d brought.
“It all worked out,” Ron Lincoln said. “We were able to get rid of some of the family stuff, get rid of the gunk.”
The Lincolns tossed furniture, a box spring and Sarah, a large plush triceratops, into the bin.
“It’s a lot of stuff that held a lot of memories for us, but that it’s just time to get rid of,” Ron Lincoln said.
The Lincolns said they were grateful for the patience of the volunteers.
“Them being able to work with us – that just makes the support that much easier, because then you make the connections and you start to feel more appreciated by the community,” Ron Lincoln said.
Learn about other options for unwanted items on Metro's Find a Recycler page