How To Use Your Local Curbside Pickup Day To Your Advantage

Spring cleaning is a great time to free up space both physically and emotionally by purging items you no longer want or need. But you don't necessarily need to wait until the springtime to get started if your city offers a curbside pickup day. Most cities offer this service, where you can place items on the curb, and they will come by and collect them, explains the City of Commerce City, Colorado website. It's easy to participate and a great motivator if you live in a location that designates a certain date each year. There's nothing like working under a deadline to get you moving!

There are a few ways to use your local curbside pickup day to your advantage. From the satisfying feeling of a fresh start to possibly finding new treasures from a neighbor, curbside pickup day can be extremely helpful and sometimes even exciting. If you aren't sure if your city has a cleanup day, it's easy to find out by visiting its official website or calling the trash or recycling department. 

Learn how it works

While most towns have a curbside pickup day, they all operate differently. The majority offer an annual or biannual day, but some places even do a monthly pickup option. If your city is particularly large, certain sections might have a different day assigned than others. Just because your friend across town has a scheduled day doesn't necessarily mean your neighborhood is on the same schedule — and it can be embarrassing to dump all your junk in front of your house, only for it to be left there! Some cities even allow you to choose the day. The city of Sacramento is a great example of this. According to the City of Sacramento's website, this large city allows residents to schedule two pickup days each year between February and October. 

After you've determined your city's pickup day, make sure you know what is or isn't allowed in the pile. Some typically accepted items include furniture, toys, lumber, car parts, yard waste, and most other household belongings. Some restrictions may include hazardous waste, explosive or radioactive materials, leftover paint, or construction debris.

Get organized

Work with your household to make clean-up day a family event. It's a great opportunity to work hard to get the entire house organized, knowing that you won't have to do any dump or donation runs. Funnel that extra time and energy into purging, sorting, and simplifying your life. Even younger kids can help sort things into keep, donate and discard piles — as well as help carry lighter items to the curb. 

According to Simple Lionheart Life, you can easily declutter your home by checking to see when you last used something and evaluate whether or not it's adding value to your life. If you haven't touched it in over a year and you don't need it, kick it to the curb (literally)! It's also common for people to want to hang onto items because they were expensive. However, if it is just taking up space and you no longer want it or use it, let go of that guilt and get rid of it. If you can't bear the thought of losing out on the money, use clean-up week as a motivator to also sell some more valuable items online. 

Get to know your neighbors

City pickup day isn't just a great time to get rid of unwanted items; it's also a good excuse to get to know your neighbors. They will likely be placing items out for the collection as well, which naturally opens the door for conversation if you run into each other. You can also take things a step further and organize a neighborhood swap meet prior to the pickup day. For example, if your pickup day is on a Monday, hold a neighborhood swap the Saturday prior. 

According to Zero Waste Chef, you can spread items on tables or sheets on the ground. Post the swap meet on NextDoor or any other online forums your neighborhood has. You can even draw additional interest by making it a potluck at the same time. After the swap meet is over, any items that neighbors don't take can be placed on the curb for pickup. It's a win-win for those who love the yard sale vibe — and even better, it's free and hyper-local. 

Become a scavenger

When you place your items out on the curb, you will start to notice scavengers coming by. It's unavoidable and honestly not a big deal as long as they don't make a mess of the pile. Besides spotting these treasure hunters, you might actually find yourself interested in becoming one. Scavenging through your neighborhood can actually be pretty fun, and you might find some great things. 

According to Self Storage, the best time to "curb shop" is at night. People tend to put things out in the evening, and so you will find your best treasures after dark. If your city does one cleanup day for the entire region, consider trolling through upscale neighborhoods, even if you don't happen to live in one. You'll often find the best items there — sometimes even things you can resell online for a little side cash. Scavenging has grown in popularity, and there's no reason to be embarrassed. You never know who else is on the hunt as well. 

Keep things considerate

If you are going to participate in your curbside cleanup, make sure to be a good neighbor and follow the rules. The guidelines should be listed on your city website. On the Township of Edison, New Jersey website, for example, a list of acceptable and non-acceptable items are listed, as well as timelines. Don't put your junk out earlier, as it quickly becomes an eyesore that can irritate your neighbors. On the other hand, don't wait until the last minute, or your curbside day planning will be stressful and scattered. 

Another way to make sure you're a good neighbor during curbside pickup is to keep your pile tidy. Bags should be secured, items should be tidy, and there shouldn't be anything spilling, sticky, or smelly. The more you keep things in order, the better your portion of the neighborhood will look, and also, you can avoid issues like costly fines from the city for not abiding by rules. Reference your city's information often, and ask your neighbors questions if you still aren't sure.