We earn a commission from brands listed on this site. This influences the order and manner in which these listings are presented.
Advertising Disclosure

How Do Junk Removal Services Work?

Emily Calorino-Sipe - Writer for Top10.com
Two junk removal service men loading furniture onto a truck.
As a relocation expert, I've seen how excessive clutter can significantly delay a move. That's why I frequently recommend using junk removal services to facilitate a smoother relocation process.

If you're planning to move and your home is crowded with things you no longer need, consider using a junk removal service. They can help you clear the clutter to make your move smoother and less stressful.

By eliminating unnecessary items, you'll have less to pack and more space in your new home. Let me explain everything you need to know about junk removal services.

» Relocating soon? Check out our top picks for the best moving companies.

What Is Junk Removal?

Junk removal services can remove unwanted items like old furniture, appliances, and yard waste.

The process is simple: The hired service comes to your home, loads up your junk, and takes it away. OF course, you also have the option to rent a dumpster, fill it yourself, and then have it picked up.

Many junk removal companies try to donate what they can, which benefits the environment and local charities. Typically, they dispose of unusable items in landfills. They're also set up to manage e-waste and recycle other materials properly.

Junk removal services do all the heavy lifting, including picking up items from inside your home. But if you opt for dumpster rental, you must do the labor yourself. In this case, I recommend that you break down large items to fit into the dumpster more easily.

» Find out which charities collect furniture for free.

What Junk Removal Services Do and Don't Accept

With the average American generating almost 4 pounds of waste daily, it's hardly surprising that the US ranks among the top waste-producing countries globally. Junk removal services handle many of these unwanted items, such as:

  • Mattresses
  • Electronics (including large e-waste items, printers, and old computers)
  • Yard debris (including tree branches and entire trees)
  • Furniture (e.g., cabinets, bookshelves, and bed frames)
  • Books
  • Pianos
  • Kitchen appliances (like ovens, fridges, washers, and dryers)
  • Miscellaneous household items

However, junk removal services generally do not accept the following:

  • Hot tubs
  • Heavy chemical-related items
  • Fertilizers
  • Plant herbicides and root killers
  • Kerosene
  • Paint thinner and bleach
  • Aerosol cans
  • Batteries
  • Any objects that are prohibited on airplanes

State-Specific Regulations and Practices

While most junk removal regulations are generally the same, you should check your local county rules for any unique restrictions. In most states, services aren't allowed to transport anything that's harmful to the environment.

Items like paint, chemicals, batteries, and electronic waste often require special handling. You also can't throw them in regular landfills, but there may be designated facilities for these materials.

Additionally, each state can have different laws. For example, when I was helping a client in Colorado, we found certain restrictions related to hazardous materials like Freon, a material often used in refrigerators.

In some cases, junk removal organizations must have special licenses. For instance, in Texas, they only need a business license. But in other states like California and New York, companies might require a special waste hauler permit. These credentials show that the establishment is qualified to get rid of your junk.

If you don't know whether your state has such requirements, a quick search online about junk removal standards in your area can help. You can also ask the staff questions about their disposal process to ensure they do things right.

Scheduling a Pickup: Step-by-Step Guide

Junk removal usually happens on a scheduled date and time and involves the following steps:

  1. Identify a reliable company: Find a firm known for efficient pickup and removal services like 1-800-JUNK. Since some businesses may charge for labor time, faster service can save costs.
  2. Book an appointment: You can schedule a pickup assessment online or by calling your chosen company.
  3. Request a quote: Some establishments provide instant removal quotes, while others assess larger jobs before quoting.
  4. Let the professionals do an assessment: On the day of the pickup, the junk removal team will come to your home, review the items for removal, and often give an all-inclusive price. They'll then load the items onto their truck and take them away.
  5. Finalize your payment: Typically, you'll need to settle your invoice after they complete the service. However, some firms may require you to pay upfront, especially when booking online.

» Here's everything you need to know when moving house.

Choosing the Right Junk Removal Company

To find a dependable junk removal service, check their online reviews first. Pay attention to how the staff treats you over the phone, and pick a firm that’s easy to contact and has clear communication channels. Also, make sure they explain their processes and pricing in simple terms.

If you want to remove large items like a piano, it's better to hire a junk removal company with a truck instead of using a dumpster rental. These organizations usually send a team to help move the item into the truck.

Additionally, check that the company you choose has the proper licenses as required by the state you reside in. The condition of their truck can also give you an idea of their professionalism; a well-kept truck usually means a more professional service.

Finally, it's important to read through any contracts they give you carefully so you understand the pricing and what happens if there are any issues. This can give you an idea of what to expect from them.

Pricing Models and Considerations

Junk Removal Service
Average Cost
Per item
Full truckload
Dumpster rental

Junk removal companies may charge per item, with prices starting around $60 and increasing based on size and quantity. This option works well for a few large or several small items.

Alternatively, they can quote you based on the volume of junk. Rates are often set for filling a quarter, half, or full truck, with an entire truckload typically costing between $400 and $450 and up to $600 for larger disposal tasks.

If you're doing junk removal over an extended period, opt for a dumpster rental. On average, they cost around $200-$250 daily, with some companies offering weekly discounts for long-term use.

Say Goodbye to Clutter and Hello to a Streamlined Move

If you pair the right junk removal service with a reputable moving company, like Colonial Van Lines or American Van Lines, you can turn a potentially stressful relocation into a streamlined and organized process.

As you prepare for the removal, especially with big items that are hard to move through doors or hallways, do what you can to prevent damage to your house. This might mean breaking down the objects into smaller pieces or disassembling them to make them easier to carry.

» Need to store your stuff? Contact our 10 best moving companies with storage options.

Emily Calorino-Sipe - Writer for Top10.com
Emily Calorino-Sipe holds a bachelor's degree in business administration, focusing on international communication. She is a relocation expert that helps clients through each stage of their journey worldwide. Her writing is a clear, informative, and reliable resource for anyone planning a move.