How to Clean Out a Storage Unit

couple moving items out of indoor storage unit

Updated June 13, 2023

Renting a storage unit can be a great temporary solution for a short-term storage issue, but renting one for 6+ months or years can be very expensive and can quickly out-cost the value of the items you're storing. 

Whether you've decided it's time to finally clear out your storage unit or you've inherited one, cleaning out a storage unit can feel like a daunting task. 

The good news is that everything you'll want to get rid of is all in the same central location, making it easy for services like junk removal companies to have it cleared out within a matter of hours.

We'll go over everything you need to know about cleaning out a storage unit:

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How to Clean Out a Storage Unit

The first thing you should do is create a realistic, ideal timeline. If you have a deadline you need to meet or a goal to complete the task within a specific timeframe, it's important to establish clear expectations for yourself ahead of time so that you don't unintentionally allow your project to fall behind schedule.

The next thing you'll need to do is determine which items will need to be donated, recycled, or thrown away vs. being kept. Unless you plan on getting rid of everything in the storage unit, you'll have to sort through all the items within the unit to determine which items you'll be packing up and bringing back home with you and which items will need to be taken elsewhere. 

Bring boxes with you to clean out your storage unit so that you can organize the items inside the unit in an orderly fashion. It's also helpful to create these different piles far apart from each other so that they don't accidentally get mixed up. The items you plan on keeping should be kept separate from the items you're getting rid of. Then, within the pile of items you plan on getting rid of, create separate piles of what you plan on doing with these unwanted items (i.e. recycle, donate, sell, or throw away).

After you've gone through all the items within the storage unit and have a general understanding of where everything needs to end up, it's time to transport the items appropriately. Take the items you plan on keeping or selling to your home first for safe keeping. Then, haul items in good condition to local donation centers, like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or other donation centers local to you. Lastly, take the remainder of the items that need to be trashed to the nearest landfill. Be prepared for long wait times if you're in a busy area.

A significantly faster way to accomplish all of this is to hire a junk removal company to do it for you. Most junk removal companies donate and recycle as often as possible, sorting through the items they haul away to separate the trash from these salvageable items so you don't have to. Avoid waiting in line at a smelly landfill altogether by having a junk removal company do the disposal aspect of your project for you.

Keep reading: How Much It Costs to Dump at the Landfill (and Why It's Not Always the Best Option)

How Do Junk Removal Services Work?

If you have never hired junk removal services before, you may be wondering what all it entails.The short answer is: it depends.

There are full-service junk removal services that do everything from loading up all the items in your storage unit, sweeping up any leftover debris, taking the items somewhere to sort through them to pull anything that can be donated or recycled, donating/recycling these items on your behalf, and then hauling the remaining trash to a local landfill. If you have a large amount of donation items, you can even ask them to provide a tax deductible receipt!

Junk removal services can be customizable or less involved, including only having them pick up a couple boxes of unwanted belongings or single pieces of bulky furniture or appliances.

The bottom line is, whenever you have items to get rid of that won't fit in your trash can and you don't have the time, strength, hauling capacity, or desire to haul your unwanted belongings to the appropriate facilities yourself, junk removal companies are there to help pick up the slack.

If you're interested in hiring a junk removal company to help you clean out a storage unit, this is how it works:

  1. Find locally-owned companies near you (they tend to offer the best pricing) and request free quotes from 2-3 providers to compare pricing, customer service, and availability. They may need to send workers to your storage unit to assess the scope of the project in order to provide you with the most accurate quote if it's a large job.
  2. Hire the best company you find. Keep in mind that the "cheapest" doesn't always mean the best. Pay close attention to their response times and willingness to answer all your questions.
  3. If you've hired a junk removal company who is providing an on-site estimate and you agree to their price, they'll usually get to work loading up your unwanted items right away. Otherwise, you'll have to schedule a date and time for them to come clean out your storage unit.
  4. The junk removal company will arrive as scheduled to load your items onto their truck or trailer. 
  5. Pay your invoice before the junk removal crew leaves, or call into their office to pay over the phone.
  6. The junk removal company will then haul your items away to be sorted. They will separate items that can be donated or recycled and appropriately dispose of the rest.

Getting in touch with local junk removal companies for free quotes is fast and easy with Hometown. We publish licensed, insured, and locally-owned junk removal and dumpster rental companies throughout the U.S. to make large disposal projects a breeze. 

Our single quote request form allows you to provide your project details in one place so that you aren't answering the same questions over and over again. You simply enter your zip code, answer a few short questions about your storage unit cleanout needs, and select up to 3 providers in your area to request a quote from. We'll even match you up with local services if you don't feel like looking through their profiles yourself. 

Hometown knows the type of quality service you deserve and offers the quickest and easiest way to compare all your options in one easy-to-use site.

Try our free quote request from today and have your storage unit cleaned out in no time!

Learn more:

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How Much Does It Cost to Clean Out a Storage Unit?

Junk removal prices can be hard to estimate, even for the pros. That's why most junk removal companies will send someone to your location to assess the scope of your project to provide you with the most accurate on-site junk removal estimate.

There are several different factors that ultimately impact the cost of one junk removal project to the next, including how much space your items take up in their truck/trailer, disposal costs in your area, cost of living in your area, ease of access, where you're located, who you hire, etc.

The cost to clean out a storage unit will primarily depend on the amount of items there are and whether or not these items require special handling. 

Most junk removal companies have a minimum amount that they charge that is reserved for the smallest of jobs, like the remove of a single price of furniture or box of donations. These minimum charges run around $75-$100 based on U.S. averages.

If the storage unit contains a couple pieces of large furniture, like a bedroom set, you can expect to pay around $100-$300

Average size storage unit cleanouts that are moderately full will typically cost between $300-$600, while large storage units that are packed to the brim can cost closer to $500-$900 to clean out. 

The cost you pay will depend on all the specifics of your storage unit and will vary from one company to the next. That's why we always recommend getting at least 2-3 different quotes in order to understand what a fair price is for your project in your area.

Read on: Factors That Affect the Cost of Junk Removal Services

Alternative Disposal Options

roll-off dumpster being unloaded from dumpster truck

If you prefer to handle cleaning out the storage unit yourself, you'll still need a way to get rid of the unwanted items inside.

Renting a dumpster is a great way to get rid of a variety of unwanted items if you have 6 or more cubic yards worth of unwanted items. 

10 yard dumpsters are a versatile size that will be able to accommodate most size storage units, plus they're affordable. 

The national average cost for a week long 10 yard dumpster rental is $250-$450, but the costs in your area may be more or less depending on the cost of living and disposal fees in your area and who you hire. 

Most dumpster rentals include 5-7 day rental periods, but you'll want to get in touch with the supervisor of your storage unit facility to find out if dumpsters are allowed on the premises and for how long. Certain types of containers may be allowed over others, so get those details before signing a rental agreement. 

Just like with junk removal services, Hometown can help you find and request free quotes from dumpster rental services in your area. 

Get in touch with local dumpster rental companies near you by searching your zip code on Hometown today!

Continue reading: Should I Rent a Dumpster or Take Junk to the Landfill Myself?

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