The weight loss clean out special! Recycling trumps garbage. Goodwill wins.

13 Jun

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I feel about 800 lbs lighter today! Loosing weight feels great and this is probably not the weight loss you’re used to seeing. I know it’s been quite some time since the last update, but that’s just life. After all, isn’t it better to be out living life and doing things than stuck at a computer writing? Now that I’ve got some down time, I’ll fill you in on what’s been happening at 49 Columbia and everything else on my mind.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of craziness. My daughter turned 3 over Memorial Day weekend and we also had an emergency vet visit with our dog Canon, who ate a toy part for the first time in his 7 years on this Earth. All in all, that left very little time to work on the property, let alone blog about something.

The top of the second floor is much like when I first opening The Store, massively filled and no real direction to take. My go to phrase, how exactly do you eat an elephant? Where to start?

This is an area that was once started to be “cleaned.” And by cleaned, I really mean they just bought a box of contractor garbage bags and filled them with all the contents of the room, then left them piled up.  If you check out the walkthrough video from a few posts back, you can really see the progress. 

I painstakingly went through the bags and dumped them out on the floor. Sorting the clothes, paper, plastic, and garbage. I have to admit, there are times when I just want to order a massive dumpster and trash everything so I can get this place into construction mode. That was the original idea for this blog. I can’t help but go through every single piece though because of my curiosity and the historical aspect. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t occasionally want to take the easy road.  Anything worth doing takes effort.

second floor pano
Second floor, halfway through cleaning

I could listen to music in my solitary confinement, but I am addicted to Podcasts. Most notably is Entrepreneur on Fire. I have over 500 episodes to catch up with. Last year I started listening to Podcasts rather than music while training for a half-ironman triathlon (Tupper Lake Tinman, 5 hours 34 minutes). Since then I haven’t been able to stop and it’s inspirational to me. Listening to the successes of others drives me to keep going with this project and set an example. It’s also full of info on how I could eventually turn this story into something profitable…

If you’re up for it, I highly suggest listening to a podcast at least once a day. My favorites are The Rich Roll Podcast, The School of Greatness, and Smart Passive Income.

Lastly, today (June 12th) I was able to borrow my grandfather’s pickup truck from the farm and do some hauling. I never did mention that I don’t own a truck myself, so doing a lot of this cleanup has added stock in the challenge department. I was able to take the three garbage bags I’ve accumulated in the main room of the 2nd floor, along with a broken chair, headboard, some stuffed animals, and a broken toilet I snagged from the basement. I mean I was doing my first weighted dump load, so I might as well grab a few big ticket items. The transfer station is only a half of a mile from the property so I at least got that benefit going for me. When you’re not bagging garbage and paying for bags or have a dumpster with pickup service on your property, you can drive onto a huge scale and pay by the ton. It’s a super quick and easy way to get rid of trash. Today I managed to unload 360 lbs. My largest amount of waste to make it to the landfill thus far. Still not bad considering I dumped out and sorted over 16 filled garbage bags that were sitting in the room.

I also dropped off three boxes of paper & cardboard, three bins of plastic, and four buckets of metal scraps. I saved the metal for last since there’s a spot on the farm where we save scrap and get a dumpster to cash out each year. It actually pays to recycle metal in large quantities!

plastic recycle bins
Three small plastic bins of broken toys, hangers, and other junk to recycle.
Metal recycle bins
All the metal I could find to bring off to my grandfather’s. Nails, rods, Erector Sets, hangers, utensils, all things metal.

My biggest feat of the day though is getting rid of clothes. A dozen bags actually. Through some research, I’ve found that Goodwill will take all clothing material. So from now on , I’ll never throw out clothes again. They will sell in their stores clothes that are in good condition. If they have stains or a few rips or holes, they’re actually baled up and shipped to third world countries. That’s a plus. For the last remaining bits that are good for nothing except rags, well those are sold back to industries and shredded into fibers used for just about anything. This was also verified by the very enthusiastic store employee, Matthew, at the Greenport store. So 99% of the material will get reused somehow and that’s the goal of Phase 1 at 49 Columbia. I can feel good about that. Sorry Salvation Army, not this time…

Goodwill donation center
They could not be happier for my donation, and for that, I am happy.

Goodwill got ten bags, while I also had a friend over at the property grabbing a few vintage items for her store. Lisa is the owner of Five & Diamond, a local vintage clothing store not far from my place in the center of Hudson. She had reached out to me over a month ago when I first loaded the front porch with a pile of clothing. Since then we’ve been keeping in touch and letting her come through and “pick” for her store items. I will definitely have to get a guest post from her about what she’s found and used. Lisa made off with two large bags of vintage dresses and other fabrics. She was also kind enough to kick me a few bucks for them, which I then in turn used to pay my babysitter for the day. It’s a win-win!

clothes bags from second floorclothes bags from the front porch

Here’s the tally of the recent unloading:


Box 1: 21
Box 2: 40.4
Box 3: 29.2


Bin 1: 4
Bin 2: 10.8
Bin 3: 17.2


Bin 1: 20.6
Bin 2: 4.8
Bin 3: 13.8
Bin 4: 34.0
Bin 5: 24.2
Mini Wheelbarrow: 15


Bag 1: 54.4
Bag 2: 42.6
Bag 3: 46.2
Bag 4: 49.0
Bag 5: 42.3
Bag 6: 44.8
Bag 7: 52.6
Bag 8: 35.2
Bag 9: 12.8
Bag 10: 12.4

Lisa’s Bag 1: 28.8
Lisa’s Bag 2: 37.8

Truckload of Garbage: 360.0

Gathering the data is annoying and time consuming, but I’m doing this for you, the readers, the people who know doing things the right way makes a difference. Should you take on such a monstrous task, do not get so crazy and measure every little detail. Just do the right thing.

Now you have it, I feel 1,053.9lbs lighter. Not to mention mentally lighter by getting all of this off my chest and head. If you’re not following me on Instagram, you’re missing out on all the weird stuff I find. Thanks for stopping by!


32 Responses to “The weight loss clean out special! Recycling trumps garbage. Goodwill wins.”

  1. Reusethematerialgirl June 22, 2014 at 3:20 am #

    I really admire the painstaking way you are tackling this project. ANYONE ELSE would get that dumpster and chuck it all. But where’s the story in that? Where’s the appreciation of history; of a time when life was different and people didn’t just throw things away without a thought? 49 Columbia is a museum of that time; and you’re it’s rightful curator. For whatever my thanks is worth, THANK YOU for taking the time and care to do the work there so thoughtfully. And for sharing it on the blog.
    PS I’m so glad to know about Goodwill taking clothing donations- in any condition! I actually cringe when I throw away clothes that I’ve worn out completely (a last resort for me; I first try to make do, mend, donate, etc.) Glad to know from now on Goodwill will take it!

  2. Michael June 23, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    I wish I could dive even deeper into the story, there’s so much in that place, but with running a business more than full time and the physical act of cleaning out the place, it leaves little time for investigation and even blog writing for that matter. I appreciate the support and feel free to pass on these post, I’m really trying to set a positive precedent. If I can just convert one mindset, my job is done. Everyone else is a bonus!

  3. Margit Nemecek March 4, 2019 at 3:08 am #

    Enjoyed reading this, very good stuff, regards.

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