Overflowing dumpster from home cleanout

What Size Dumpster Do I Need?

When you’re considering a home remodel, landscaping project or a seriously thorough spring-cleaning, how you’re going to dispose of trash and debris is likely not the first thing that comes to mind. But everything you get rid of has to go somewhere and the standard-size dumpster in the alleyway just isn’t going to cut it. When you’re planning a big home project, there’s a good chance you’ll need to get a large roll off dumpster to handle the mess.

There are multiple dumpster sizes to choose from, so it’s important to pick the one that suits your need; otherwise, you risk not having enough space OR you overpay for a large dumpster when you could have gone with a smaller size. Sure, there’s no formula that tells you exactly how much room you’ll need but there are factors to consider that will help you in your decision.


Know Your Options

Typically, roll-off dumpsters range from 10 to 30 cubic yards, but it’s important to know that these dimensions refer to the amount of waste they hold, rather than to the outside dimensions. In fact, they’re considerably smaller in size than they are in volume. To put it into perspective, a 10-yard dumpster is only 12 x 8 x 3.5. One cubic yard is three feet wide, three feet deep, and three feet tall (27 cubic feet in volume)—multiply that by 10 and you have 270 cubic feet of space to work with. Don’t let the numbers fool you…they’re larger than you’d think!


How to Estimate

Even a rough estimate of your debris volume can make this process easier, so if you can do so, it’s best to use a tape measure and simply calculate the length, width, and height of your junk pile. But remember that the contents won’t necessarily lie perfectly in a dumpster. Bulky objects may take up more space than you think, so it’s suggested that you choose the larger size if you are between two options. It’s better to have too much room than not enough.

Another way to estimate the size dumpster you’ll need is to measure the space to make sure you have enough room. Larger roll-off dumpsters can reach heights of 8 feet so don’t forget to take the height clearance into consideration.


Ask the Experts

The good news is you don’t have to guess on everything; there are professionals who can help! If it’s a construction project and you’ve hired a contractor, ask what size dumpster they would recommend or reach out to the dumpster rental company. Note: Always disclose what you plan to dispose of with the rental company. This will not only help them make a solid recommendation, but it will give them the chance to explain that certain common household and construction materials are considered hazardous and must be disposed of differently.

Now that you know the basics of choosing the correct size dumpster, you can check that off the list of project preparation tasks – out with the old and in with the new!

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