DU Alumni / Magazine Feature / People

Alum turns trash into cash

Reid Husmer at work

Alum Reid Husmer started his eco-friendly hauling business in 2008.

Reid Husmer (BA international business ’96) despises clutter. When he feels his life is disorganized, he cleans. He boasts that his home has achieved a bare minimum of efficiency — TV, couch, kitchen table, bed. His 7-year-old son’s room, though, is a different story.

“I get to the point with my son where his room has too much stuff, because kids like a toy for five minutes and then put it aside,” Husmer says. “Adults aren’t that different; they love their toys, too. They’ll just pile them in the garage instead of their bedroom.”

And when adults want to get rid of their toys, they can call Husmer’s company, Gone For Good, which he started from his home in 2008 and now runs from a storefront in Littleton, Colo.

The premise is simple: Husmer and his employee, Jonathan Inaba, will come to your house and, for a price, haul away a roomful of junk. The philosophy is more involved: There is value in what others throw away, and there also is a responsibility to the environment.

“We’re an eco-friendly hauling company,” Husmer says. “A lot of companies will haul things from your house. We sort through it and try to resell it. If we can’t, we donate it to charity. If we can’t do that, we break down the materials — wood, metal, foam — and give it to our recycling partners, instead of it going into a landfill.”

For the business to thrive, Husmer has built fruitful relationships with professional organizers, Realtors, recyclers and charities (the Epilepsy Foundation is a sizeable beneficiary). Customers get 30 percent of resales after 30 days — a figure that has ranged from $30 to $300 — and Husmer says he’s been surprised by how many items he’s been able to resell.

“You go on Craigslist or eBay, and it’s amazing what people will buy. What’s not valuable to you is valuable to someone else,” he says. “Instead of just dumping it away, we can give it a better home.”

Husmer and Inaba agree the job has made them less likely to start collections of their own.

“You see so many things — DVD players still in the box, magazine collections from the 1960s. If you can imagine it, it probably exists at one of the houses,” Inaba says. “Every now and then, I see things that are cool but I’d never take anything home with me.”

Husmer says his business is viable and growing. He is days away from hiring a third employee to handle some Internet re-selling, and jobs are starting to come faster than he can accommodate them. Investments from friends and family and word-of-mouth are taking seed. He’s overworked, but his intensity and energy makes it obvious he has achieved a motivation-work synergy that most would envy.

“I call him at least once a week,” says Lynne Duesenberg, a move manager. “Reid takes everything away, and it’s incredible. I might deal with ARC (thrift stores), but sometimes they can’t get there for two weeks. It’s a godsend having him.”

Contact Gone for Good at 303-513-7120 or www.goneforgoodstore.com.

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