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Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or you just have some bulky items to clean up, it’s essential to choose the right size residential dumpster rental. If you get a container that’s too small, you will likely need to pay overage charges or experience delays in clearing away the unwanted items. Let’s explore all you need to know about choosing the best dumpster wagon for your project.

Calculating the Sizes of Residential Dumpster Rentals

We measure dumpster sizes in cubic yards, with the standard sizes of 10, 20, 30, and 40 yards. However, some dumpster rental companies offer half-sizes such as 15 cubic yard dumpsters or mini dumpsters ranging between two to eight yards. 

How do you calculate the size of a dumpster? We generally measure a dumpster’s exterior in feet but measure its total volume in cubic yards. The size of a dumpster (in cubic yards) is calculated as:

The Volume of Dumpster in Cubic Feet = Length x Width x Height

The Volume of Dumpster in Cubic Yards = The Volume of Dumpster in Cubic Feet / 27

Your Quick Guide to Understanding Dumpster Sizes

What does it mean to have a 10 cubic yard dumpster versus a 30 cubic yard dumpster? Here’s a helpful guide:

  • 10 cubic yard dumpster measures 17 ft x 7.5 ft x 3.5 ft and holds 4000 to 6000 pounds. It’s suitable for a small home’s junk removal and small to medium landscaping projects.
  • 15 cubic yard dumpster measures 16 ft x 7.5 ft x 4.5 ft and holds 4000 to 6000 pounds. It is most suitable for roofing jobs, small remodels, and extensive landscaping projects.
  • 20 cubic yard dumpster measures 22 ft x 7.5 ft x 4.5 ft and holds up to 6000 pounds. It’s perfect for large junk removal items, kitchen and other extensive room remodels. 
  • 30 cubic yard dumpster measures 22 ft x 7.5 ft x 6 ft and holds 7000 to 10000 pounds. You can use it for whole-house renovations and other construction projects, as well as whole-home cleanouts.
  • 40 cubic yard dumpster measures 22 ft x 7.5 ft x 8 ft and holds 10000 to 12000 pounds. You can use it for significant construction projects, demolitions, and extensive renovations.

Another way to think about these dumpster sizes is using the number of 33-gallon trash bags as a rough approximation:

  • A 10 cubic yard dumpster is equivalent to 50 to 70 trash bags.
  • A 15 cubic yard dumpster is equivalent to 80 to 100 trash bags.
  • A 20 cubic yard dumpster is equivalent to 110 to 130 trash bags.
  • A 30 cubic yard dumpster is equivalent to 170 to 190 trash bags.
  • A 40 cubic yard dumpster is equivalent to 230 to 250 trash bags.

Factors to Consider in the Transport of Household Goods You No Longer Need

Here are some of the factors you should consider when choosing a residential dumpster rental: 

Project Type

Your choice of dumpster size depends on your project type. If you are performing a whole-house renovation, then you will need a larger dumpster compared to getting rid of a few furniture pieces pre-move. It’s best to determine the scale of your project as much as possible before choosing your dumpster. 

Take Inventory

Pre-move cleanouts are among the most challenging jobs to determine the right dumpster size. In such cases, you should take inventory of what you will take along with you, donate, and throw away. Once you figure out your disposal items, you will see what size dumpster you will need. 

Please note that you don’t need to start taking things out of your drawers and closets yet. Take a mental inventory of what you need to discard. Ask yourself:

  • Do you have bulky or oversized items (like furniture, appliances, or rugs) on the list?
  • Will you need to clean up the yard along with your house?

Keeping these questions in mind will help you figure out the size of your residential dumpster rental. 

Request an On-Site Inventory

If you can’t determine your dumpster size, ask the rental company to perform an on-site inventory. When choosing a dumpster rental company, select one that offers on-site inventory. Most companies are happy to come to your home, assess your haulage needs, and recommend the right dumpster size for your needs. 

Please note that on-site inventories are merely estimates, not guarantees. If you increase the volume of your disposal items and the dumpster turns out to be too small, you will need to pay for extra capacity to remove them. 

Type of Debris

When you know the kind of debris you need to have hauled away, it will guide the size of your dumpster rental. The right-sized dumpster can contain all the waste inside (without anything protruding or spilling out. The following materials are eligible for disposal with a dumpster as long as the waste fits the dumpster’s weight limit:

  • Landscaping debris
  • Furniture
  • Bathtubs, toilets, and sinks
  • Countertops and cabinets
  • Scrap metal
  • Shingles
  • General household waste

You can place many items in a dumpster but that list does not include batteries, electronics, lightbulbs, wet paints, railroad ties, tires, hazardous chemicals, and industrial drums. Some dumpster rental companies will charge extra fees for tires and refrigerant items, so always ask in advance to vet the things you need to discard.

Project Location

Some projects may require a smaller-sized container due to space limitations at the site. Therefore, be sure to account for the available space, the ease of delivery, waste loading, and dumpster pickup. Please remember that it costs more to move a full dumpster, so always choose the best location to place your dumpster.

Project Duration

As your project goes on, your waste will start piling up – generally more than you expected. So it’s uneconomical to choose a dumpster that can’t contain all the junk. Also, be realistic about how long you will need the dumpster. Try to accurately estimate your project scope to avoid paying extra fees.

A Cheat Sheet to Choosing Your Dumpster 

Here’s a quick way to choose the right size residential dumpster rental:

A Small Pre-Move Cleanout

A 10 or 15 cubic yard dumpster is ideal for smaller, short-term home improvement projects like cleanouts of basements, attics, garages, bathrooms, and junk removals. 

However, a 20 cubic yard dumpster is better for residential cleanouts of apartments or single-family homes. While they are small enough to sit nicely in most driveways, they are large enough to hold bulky items like old furniture. 


Landscaping projects tend to generate less waste than other projects. Therefore a 10 or 15 cubic yard dumpster can hold debris from branches, shrubs, leaves, weeds, and general yard waste. 

Remodeling Projects

A 20 cubic yard dumpster is perfect for residential remodeling projects. It can hold a lot of debris generated from projects such as renovating a room, removing a wall or flooring, fixing a roof, or installing new doors and windows.

However, a 30 cubic yard dumpster is suitable when remodeling a kitchen and you need to discard bulky countertops, cabinets, and appliances. This dumpster size is also perfect if you are remodeling several rooms. 

Construction Project

A 40 cubic yard dumpster works for construction projects – or two of the 20 cubic yard options. They offer the necessary volume to haul away heavy debris from the worksite. 

Furthermore, the dumpster wagon’s gate opens fully to facilitate the easy loading of drywall, siding, lumber, and general waste. If you choose to go with two 20 cubic yard dumpsters, then have the first one hauled away as soon as it fills up and replace it with the second dumpster. 

You should note that discarding concrete and other heavy materials need extra planning. These weight limits necessitate operators to transport the waste in smaller quantities. Therefore, we recommend renting a 10 cubic yard dumpster for heavy debris. Doing so will make it easy for the junk removal company to transport these materials from your property without violating any weight restrictions. 


Demolitions are messy projects that generate so much debris before completion. A 30 or 40 cubic yard dumpster will help you efficiently clean up demolition debris. For extra safety, inform your dumpster rental company if you have bricks, dirt, rocks, or concrete since these are unique items that can’t get loaded into the dumpster.

Rent Your Dumpster Wagon Today

Do you need a residential dumpster rental? We can help you! We offer a diverse range of dumpsters. Choose the Dumpster Wagon for your debris removal needs. We deliver it to you, you fill it up, and we haul it away. It’s that simple. Contact us today to rent your dumpster wagon