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Clean Sweep: Business makes a living off hauling people's junk

Alex Broches’ job is a mix between the TV shows “Hoarders” and “Storage Wars.”

Broches is the owner of The Junk Removal Dudes, a company that can be hired to haul away unwanted items from your property.

The business started earlier this year as a spin-off of Broches’ mother’s business, Betty’s House Cleaning of Sycamore. His mother often told him that her customers frequently asked if she knew of anyone who could take away unwanted things from their property.

“After my mom told me this multiple times, I thought of doing this as a side business,” Broches said. “I used my experience from my day job in social media marketing and website development for small businesses to help me with my own business.”

At first, Broches hired a few helpers to do junk removal on the weekend, but what went from one or two jobs a week quickly turned into multiple jobs a day.

At first, the business started doing jobs only in DeKalb County, but now it also removes items from Kane County and Rockford.

Dan McIntyre of Kingston called The Junk Removal Dudes to remove unwanted tables and shelves in his garage. He found the company after searching online for someone to remove junk from his house.

“With the Labor Day holiday, I wanted the stuff out of my house pretty quick, so that I can have extra room,” McIntyre said. “I have never heard of a company doing what they do before, but I was impressed. I will refer or use them again.”

The Junk Removal Dudes not only can be hired to clean out unwanted belongings in garages or basements, but also storage units and barns.

The largest job the business has done so far was to clean out an entire farm property in Maple Park. Clearing out the barns took six employees five days to complete.

Realtors also have contacted The Junk Removal Dudes to clean out foreclosed homes before they are sold.

The business also helps clear out the homes of hoarders.

“There are a lot of homes in DeKalb that are considered hoarder homes, as we have come to find out,” Broches said. “We make sure to keep it as private as possible for the customers that do call that have this issue. … We want to make people’s lives easier and safer.”

Instead of throwing all that his company collects into a trash heap, Broches said he makes sure everything is discarded appropriately.

“We properly dispose of all the junk we collect,” Broches said. “Anything that is recyclable, we make sure to recycle. … Anything in decent or working condition is donated to the Salvation Army. All costs include disposal fees.”

McIntyre said he appreciates that some of what he considered old junk could be repurposed by someone else.

“I think that donating it is environmentally friendly,” he said. “It’s nice that they either recycle it or donate it so that someone else can use it.”

In the months the business has been collecting old junk, Broches said he has found some pretty weird unwanted items.

“Some things are just weird, like 100 jars of old pickles, a baby coffin and a bunch of 1950s Dracula novelty stuff,” he said. “But we also find some good stuff, like a huge swimming tube and an old pool table.”

For customers to get a free and quick junk removal quote, they can visit the business’ website, www.thejunkremovaldudes.com, and send a detailed message and photos of what they want to have removed. Customers also can text message Broches at 815-757-9696 and attach photos to their message. After a brief description and looking at the photos, Broches will contact the customers with a quote.

“I love this job,” said Michael McIntyre, a worker with The Junk Removal Dudes. “It’s almost always an adventure and a fun road trip.”

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