Our Adventures In Renting A Bagster Dumpster

So. My basement workshop. I owned up to how messy it was a few months ago.

Then building Clara’s dollhouse prompted me to tidy it up a smidge – as in, look you can actually see some of the floor.

And then the deck happened and it all went to crap again. A big sawdusty, scrap wood cluttered pile of it.

But I made a promise to myself that once the deck was done I was going to take care of this issue once and for all. And I’m happy to report that after many hours, many calls, and some serious scrap-wood-carrying, some major progress has been made.

My secret? The Bagster. I walked by it enough times at Home Depot that I just decided to buy it and give it a try (so if this sounds like a Bagster ad, I promise it isn’t).

The clutter was starting to give me anxiety and get in the way of doing new projects so it just. had. to. go. Bagster is basically a dumpster – just a cheaper, smaller, baggier form of one. So yes, after months of trying to decide how best to reuse or recycle my scrap wood pile, I just:

  • kept the stuff that I thought would be useful for future projects
  • gave everything else that I could to anyone else who would take it (free-scrap-wood ads on freecycle and craigslist worked for some of it, as well as contacting the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and a local wood-collection/pallet place – but there were still tons of scraps that no one wanted – even for free)
  • finally set my eco-induced guilt aside and decided to just Bagster the stuff that no one else would take (some of it was old and rotted anyway)

The bag itself was a $29 purchase and once folded it out, it promised to hold 3 cubic yards and up to 3,300 lbs. Assuming you don’t want their big trash truck on your driveway, you have to put the bag within 16 feet of the street (either on your yard or driveway) so that the truck’s crane can still reach it.

I have to admit, we both thought it looked kinda small once it was all folded out. We started to wonder if it would even hold all of the old rotting pallets that we wanted to get rid off, let alone my leftover deck scraps.

It certainly didn’t help when our first piece of scrap (the rotting railing to our old balcony) was nearly too long to fit.

But the railing fit and from there we just started piling other scrap in. By the end of the afternoon, the bag was pretty much at capacity. But the yellow straps could still touch (which are the rules) so I wasn’t worried about them rejecting my bag for pick-up. Although I was a bit worried that it would break when they tried to pick it up and I’d have wood scraps spilled across my driveway…

Once it was full I logged onto the Bagster website to schedule my pick-up. You tell them the first weekday it’s ready and they promise to send a truck within three business days. The pick-up fee differs depending on where you live, but for our county it was around $100. But thanks to a $20 off coupon code I found by Googling, our cost was only around $80 (not including the $29 for the original bag purchase). But compared to the $300 – $400 estimates that I got for a traditional dumpster, paying around 110 beans felt like a steal (I couldn’t have even rented a truck for the afternoon and paid the dumping fee for all that wood for that price). Plus, look at the awesome curb appeal (not).

Thankfully less than 48 hours after filling the bag, this big green Waste Management truck pulled up to take the eyesore away. We didn’t have to be home for the pick-up (the guy didn’t say a word to me), but I’m glad we were so I could capture the excitement / witness the potential disaster of wood raining down on us from a ripped bag.

Out came the truck’s crane and the gentleman hooked up its strap to the two yellow handles on my bag.

And then up it went! No ripping whatsoever. It was awesome to see our car-sized container of wood get hoisted up like it was full of foam.

I managed to capture a little bit of the “action” on video. If you listen really carefully you might even be able to hear me holding my breath as it becomes airborne.

This was both literally and metaphorically a huge weight lifted off of me. Some of those rotten pallets (left outside for over a year by the old owners) have been taking up usable space in my basement for a while, and it’s downright invigorating just to have them out of my way. In fact, this may just be the beginning of a little basement organization / makeover project I’ve been dying to get to. Does anyone smell a man cave? Update: And by man cave I mean place-I-can-cut-wood-and-blast-manly-music (no lounge chair and TV or anything…).

Have you guys tried out The Bagster? Did it look super small at first (until you packed it to the gills)? Do you have another preferred method of removing renovation or project messes from your house? Sometimes we wish we had a big truck for these random occasions, but then we remember we’d have to pay for it, insure it, and gas it up (a daunting concept for us since we actually get a lot of our reno budget from only having to insure/gas one small car). We’ve decided the ideal situation would be a rich neighbor with a nice big truck that they’re happy to loan us in return for homemade cookies. Hey, a guy can dream, right?

Psst- You can see how we celebrated Burger’s sixth birthday (and how Sherry invented a new food: the cheese popsicle) over on Young House Life.


  1. Kate says

    I’ve been interested in using bagster for a few house projects but heard there can be issues with power lines. Did you guys have any trouble?

    • says

      No issues! They’re on the other side of the street but they seem high enough from the pics that they wouldn’t have interfered on our street. Hope it helps!


    • says

      I have very low power lines in my alley and there was no problem lifting the bag up and out of the small space they had, basically a one car lane and power pole next to them.

  2. says

    I have seen this at our local stores and been tempted to try it. Off to look up pricing for our area. We had waste removal once and it cost about $275 so I’m thinking the Bagster may be in our future.

  3. Rebecca B. says

    Wow, great to get that load off (bahahaha!) and see those bags in action. I’ve never heard of them but I know if we have a need I’ll feel confident to use the Bagster. And you made it look so easy!

  4. Jen says

    Nice job and can’t wait to see how the space turns out in the future! We love The Bagster and have used it twice so far. The first time we used it was for our kitchen remodel and it really was surprising to see how much it held. The second time we used it was for our laundry room demo/backyard limb cleanup. Again, worked like a charm. Can’t wait to see you at the local book signing and thanks for making Richmond shine!

  5. says

    We’ve been considering the Bagster! Since we’re demoing the backyard (and thus have tons of concrete, wood, and faux facia stone) we’ve been afraid that it would a. be too small and b. not be able to carry the ginormous load we’d pile in there.

    Maybe we’ll give it a try. Do you think it could handle being full of concrete instead of pallets? Is there a weight limit?

    • says

      I’m not sure- maybe check their site for the weight limit! It sounds like people use it for kitchen/bathroom renos a lot, so it’s probably fulled with lots of heavy stuff. Here’s hoping it works!


    • Monica says

      Hey Jess,
      I have used the bagster twice, once for the removal of a deck and the other was to remove a TON (maybe not literally) of dirt from a patio project as well as some busted up concrete from a sidewalk. For the patio project I did have to get two bags to fit everything (and because I was getting a little worried about the weight, I mean really who can eyeball weight, not this girl). Despite a fear that and I would receive a knock on my back door from the pickup guys informing me it was too heavy, they took everything!! No issues at all. After that I’m pretty sold on the sturdiness of the bags. Even at two bags it was cheaper for me than a dumpster (I’m in Minneapolis). Good luck!!

    • Amanda says

      Would the monthly Dallas bulk pick up not cover your needs? Are there limitations on bulk pick up?

  6. Taya says

    Way to go, John! My husband and I are also currently trying to tackle our basement which is filled with all sorts of things from tools, to paint, to our bikes (we live in a condo with no garage/outside storage), lots of unpacked wedding gifts, and other random odds and ends of life!

  7. says

    I actually just used the Bagster myself for a kitchen remodel. I was gutting the whole thing (old cabinets, countertops, floor – everything) and used the Bagster. I agree that at first it looks kind of small; I started to wonder if I’d need 2 but in the end everything fit perfectly in one! Kind of like Mary Poppins’ purse.

  8. says

    Thanks for writing about these bags. I’ve got a pile of scraps from a home renovation and have gotten high quotes for dumpstering it. Wasn’t sure if the process would be as easy as it sounded, but now I think I’ll follow your example. Thanks, John!

  9. sarah W says

    We used the bagster while redoing our basement, but we would buy the initial bag, then have a local contractor pick it up and take it away for half the price of the real bagster people. It worked great and they always came within a few hours.

  10. says

    We have always wondered about these! We don’t have a workshop, so most of our reno-crap goes in the garage until we can find a way to get rid of it. We have filled (and unfilled) our garage twice already. And I mean FILLED with renovation debris. Mostly insulation and drywall and old, wet carpet. Yuck. Luckily, the last time my mom was in town, she was just as eager as I was to get the garage emptied and now we can park in it again!!


    We only have one car ourselves (a Camry) but I think there are FOUR families in our cul-de-sac with pickups. Happily to help us out in exchange for cookies, gas money, a dinner party–we like to offer up choices. :)

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