What to do with all your sh*t (stuff)

So… I take a quick trip to Ireland to take care of some family stuff and I come back to a basement with an inch of standing water. The sump pump float got stuck and the “snow” storm that actually turned into driving rain flowed into anything and everything that was on the basement floor — french drains notwithstanding.

ServPro came by with lots of powerful fans and dehumidifiers and, after a few days, I had a dry basement again. I also had a lot of soggy cardboard boxes and other stuff that had managed to migrate to the floor whenever anyone moved the boxes on the shelves around looking for something. This is a situation that nobody “sees”… its just something that slowly accumulates as years go by. A long list of “I’ll call and get that recycled (old fridge)”… “I’ll shred all that old box of papers and put it out with the paper recycling”… “I’ll bring those chairs to the consignment shop”… you know the pattern.

So, this post is for ME—to keep all those phone numbers in a handy place—and for my friends who might find themselves moving or dealing with the same catastrophe. Things or people to know:

ServPro Washington County — very responsive. They put a project manager on it, help with insurance (I recommend you get it for pump failures and other non-flood plain water disasters), and provided me with a collapsible dumpster to throw things away. They would do that for me too but at extra cost and they suggested it was something I could do to save money. Which brings me to…

The Bull Bag — A wonderful invention! It’s a reinforced eco-friendly reusable container that folds up and can be stored until you do another big clean up job. You can buy one for about $40.00. Disposal fees from $170-$300.

Berger Recycling — Pawtucket, RI. One of the big issues I have is about 40 years worth of paper… in boxes (tax stuff), filing cabinets, etc. To go through and determine what should be shredded and what could just be dumped could take weeks, if not months. Berger Recycling will take the paper you need shredded for $7 a box (banker’s box or 13 gallon kitchen bags) and shred it for you. They are in Pawtucket and are open Mon-Fri 8-5 and Saturdays 8-12. They could also pick it up but it will cost $100/hr for the truck (return trip time). Best to bring it to them.

Have a bunch of paperback books you thought you might pass on to someone but now they smell kind of musty and the cheap glue means pages are falling out? Berger will take them and recycle them FOR NOTHING!! Just bring those paperbacks (no hardbacks) and drop them off.

National Grid Fridge Recycle Program — One of the things that didn’t necessarily get damaged, but is annoying all the same, is the old fridge that was in the kitchen when we moved here … in 2004. At some point it got moved to the basement but there was a really low ceiling so getting it back out the bulkhead was problematic. With the help of my daughter’s partner, we got it moved to where (if we remove the freezer door) we can get it out. It still works if we plug it in… and that’s important because, if it works, National Grid will arrange to have it collected at no cost and will even pay you $50!

Green Tech Assets — Cumberland, RI. We have some other electronics that could be recycled — old printers and stuff… VCRs, speakers that don’t work, boxes of video cassettes. They take all of that. Old computers or drives? They destroy them so your data is secure. If you drop it off, there’s no cost! Open Mon-Thu 8-4:30 and Friday 8-4. (Pam)

So… all this research has been a pretty handy way to avoid actually going down to the basement and getting started 🙂 But I do feel better about not having a lot of this end up in a landfill.



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