Junk hauler Glen Hansen was at the door promptly at 8 a.m. on a recent Sunday. The resident who hired him to clear out her father-in-law's condo looked beyond Hansen and said, "Where is your crew?"
"Crews cost money. It will just be me today," Hansen quickly replied.
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Then he surveyed the contents of the home.
"I better get at it. This should take most of the day."
What didn't sell at the resident's recent estate sale, including exercise equipment, sets of dishes and sewing machines, easily weighed several thousand pounds. Hansen proceeded to work the next eight hours, filling his 18-foot custom dump trailer with the unwanted items. By the end of the day, the trailer was filled and the condo was empty.
This is a day in the life of junk remover Hansen.
Art's Junk Removal is named after Hansen's father, Art, who is retired. Hansen has worked for Art's the last six years, constantly dealing with aches and pains of hauling heavy items, as well as tending to minor cuts and scrapes that can become infected from working in dirty areas like flooded basements.
The Mount Prospect business has more than 100 videos on YouTube showing its work with flooded basements.
Even his vehicle takes a beating. He carries a repair kit to fix tires on his van and trailer because at the recycling center, where construction debris is dumped, there are a lot of nails.
"It's a different kind of a job … a wide variety of things we remove, from furniture to construction debris," Hansen said.
He estimates that at minimum he moves 1,000 pounds of junk every day, including huge or odd items like hot tubs or a safe from a boat. Some weeks he may have four jobs that average 4,000 to 5,000 pounds each, most of which he removes himself.
Hansen says he has come up with techniques and better equipment over time that make the job easier. But 4,000 pounds is still a lot of weight no matter how you attack it.
His dump trailer, though, make things easier to get rid of the junk.
"Since I drop off at a recycling center, everything is sorted, so I can just press a button on my dump trailer to empty it and let the recycling center sort it for me," Hansen said. "I feel good knowing this isn't going to a landfill, and I think it makes my customers feel better, too."
Hansen said he often feels sad when he encounters older people who haven't been looked after by relatives, and who need Hansen to clear their homes.
"There are a lot of very interesting things you run across in this business," Hansen said.