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Where to get rid of your junk

Tami Stough

Do you love where you live? I do. And, I can help you get to that place. We'll take the hassle out of real estate and do it all with a bit of fun...

Do you love where you live? I do. And, I can help you get to that place. We'll take the hassle out of real estate and do it all with a bit of fun...

Sep 28 6 minutes read

Many homeowners (and sellers) need a little help when it comes time to clean out their stuff.  That can mean piles of clothes the kids have grown out of, bins of recyclables that have been accumulating, the remains of household projects, and more. It can be overwhelming, but for each and every item you're ready to dispose of… we've got you covered!

When you're cleaning out your closet, garage, basement and attic, you'll want to keep in mind all of these ways to recycle, donate, and sell used items that you no longer need.

Huge TVs and Other Electronics

Huge TVs, especially of the older variety, are not really wanted any more. In Illinois, it is illegal to put a certain electronics like TVs and computers into the landfill. Nobody wants them (and trust me, if you are selling your home, your new buyer does not want you giant rear-projection TV either).  This spring, I had to remove a couple TVs from one of our listings on closing day that the buyer did not want so I learned first hand how to recycle them.  But, before we get to closing day and realize your junk may possibly delay the closing, get rid of it through SWALCO, Lake County's waste agency. There are year-round drop off locations throughout the county; and many townships hold annual events. Because we deal with this so often, if you need help on what can and can't be dropped off at SWLACO, give me a call and I'll walk you through it.  

Tami: 224-730-9661

Paint Cans

Many sellers think they are helping out their new owners by leaving their left over paint. Many times they are. But, before you assume your next buyer wants you paint, let's find out. If they don't, you must get rid of it. Plan ahead for this! Some communities have programs to accept latex paint. SWALCO does not accept paint.  Some paint stores do accept it.  However SWALCO recommends:

  • If your paint cans only hold remnants of paint or they are empty - let them dry out completely and then recycle the cans.
  • As a final option, you can prepare your latex paint for disposal through the regular trash cycle - we don’t recommend this method for large quantities or as continual solution. To prepare your latex paint please complete the following steps:
    •  Remove the paint can lid and stir in kitty litter, oil dry, sand or shredded paper to the consistency of thick oatmeal. Preparing the cans the night before your regularly scheduled garbage pick-up will provide time for the mixture to properly solidify.  Put lids back on.
    • Place the treated paint inside of your garbage bin on your regular pick up day.
    • Again, we don’t recommend this method for large quantities or as continual solution.

If you don't want to deal with paint, we have found a service that will pick up extra cans for a fee.  Contact or call 312.882.7266 more info.

Donate to a good cause (plus some pick-up options!)

Many charitable organizations will pick up larger items.  (A word of advice: make arrangements early. Some charities do not have enough storage space and it may be up to a month before a pick up can be arranged. And, check with them to see if they will accept your items).

  • New Life in Wauconda, an excellent organization that Tami helped start in 1986, supports single moms and children in our community. (847) 526-0383.
  • Sparrow's Nest provides transitional shelter for women and children who are facing homelessness as a result of abuse. They re-sell your donated items and also use some to furnish their transitional homes.  (815) 271-5444
  • Veterans Pathway to Hope assists veterans in a number of ways, working to end unemployment and homelessness in veterans, and we have supported them for years. (815) 321-4673

Have we left one of your favorite places to recycle or donate? Please let us know and we will update our blog with new ideas.

Mattress Donations

Having a hard time disposing of that mattress?  Many places such as 800-Got Junk charge extra for mattresses, and unless they are new, many charities cannot accept mattresses.  We recently learned of an organization called Love, Inc in Wauconda.  This group is a collaboration of local churches who have come together to meet the tangible needs of our community members. 

One such need is beds--literal actual beds. A friend who is involved in this ministry said he has delivered beds to families where all the children are sleeping on the floor and have never slept on a mattress. They will come to your home and haul away your old mattress (no King Size), box spring and frame for no charge at all and deliver it to a family in need. (847) 469-8835.

Offer It For Free

We take custody of lots of stuff--the furniture that didn't fit on the moving truck at the last minute, the propane tanks the movers wouldn't take, the stuff left behind in the shed because so one looked inside. It is not our favorite part of our business--but just something we have to take care of. 

We have found one of the easiest ways to get rid of the stuff is to offer for free on Facebook on our site and community sites. The people who respond have a need for it and you get to see some smiling faces. We recently were able to donate some furniture to a  Veteran who just became a home owner (and our client!); and look how cute this young mom is. She was so happy to be the recipient of a free dresser. 

It's a win-win: you get a little more space in your basement or garage and you can help out those in need.

Thinking of selling? Check out more ideas to make your home show-ready for the market. 

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