When I bought my first home I was 24. It was a duplex and it was just about all we could afford to pay the mortgage. As long as we had tenants downstairs we could pay the bills, but if we were between renters for a month or two things got really tight.
Of course in that kind of situation, my wife and I ended up doing all the home improvement projects ourselves. We didn’t spend money on anything if we could help it. We painted, refinished woodwork, buffed the floors, even patched the concrete walkway ourselves. It was hard work but it felt good.
Of course, some projects are costlier than others. We had an old patio in the backyard that was basically a concrete slab. It had gotten cracked and overgrown as slabs will do, and we (she) decided that we (I) would take it out and replace it with something prettier.
“Be sure to get a roll off dumpster,” she told me.
I didn’t listen. I know now that dumpster rentals in Maryland are quite affordable, but at the time I assumed they must be way beyond my budget. Besides, as a duplex we had a mini-dumpster provided by the city. I would just put the concrete in that! No problem, right?
Well, I spent a Saturday and Sunday whamming away with the sledge hammer. My heard hurt and my arm was wobbly but I felt like a man tearing through solid concrete. I put on my work gloves and chucked the broken concrete into the trash bin. Poor thing took a beating. Eventually, it was full.
There was plenty more debris than it could take, but I left the rest for the next weekend. I wheeled the bin out to the curb for garbage collection.
The next day I found a tag left by the garbage men. It said “hazardous waste – city violation.” The bin was still full, and they hadn’t taken any of the recycling either! I called the number on the tag to be informed that I was being fined $500 from the City for disposing of concrete without a permit.
It wasn’t a good week. The wife was upset, and so were the tenants – they had nowhere to put that week’s garbage. That was the day I learned why it’s worth it to rent a roll off dumpster. Every project I’ve done since, I’ve always disposed of debris the professional way.