Above: Derek Moscarelli on the job. Submitted photo
Derek Moscarelli’s world came to a screeching halt three years ago with the arrival of the Covid pandemic, just like everyone else. Only, as a tour guide for a travel company – his final trip was with a group in New Zealand in February 2020 – his world really stopped. The two-week pause stretched to a month to three months and … you know the rest.
“It was just me sitting home, out of work,” he recalled. “I have a truck and I just literally texted a bunch of friends and family,” to see if they needed help getting rid of things. “The timing was perfect because everyone was home decluttering.” One of his first jobs was from a friend with an old hot tub in the backyard he wanted to get rid of.
“Low and behold, my phone started ringing,” Moscarelli said.
It didn’t hurt that the real estate market shifted into overdrive too.
“I thought this was going to tide me over for a few months,” he said, but soon he decided to form an LLC. Three years later, Moscarelli recently completed his 1,000 job. Some were major clean outs, some were just picking up one or two items and a lot were somewhere in between.
Moscarelli has learned the same skills he’d developed over the years as a tour guide have been remarkably transferable, especially the people skills. He’s noticed his reviews are a lot like the reviews he got when working for Colette Tours.
“It’s still a people job,” he said. ”I’m professional. I return the phone calls. I show up on time.”
He also takes the time to really talk with his clients. “For a lot of them, it can be a difficult time,” he noted. Sometimes he’s cleaning out a house because of the death of a loved one. “They are overwhelmed and the stuff is just one more area of concern.”
Moscarelli acts as a middleman for the things he picks up.
“The easy part for me is getting your things; the hard part is after that – where does everything go? Electronics … rigid plastics … mattresses,” he said. “After I leave, then the fun begins. We dispose of things responsibly.”
That includes giving things away on the Buy Nothing EG/WG page on Facebook as well as donating “tons” to churches, Savers, Goodwill, and the Habitat for Humanity Store, among others.
“Junk is such a bad word,” Moscarelli said. “For a lot of people it’s not junk, it’s their life possessions.”
Moscarelli understands he’s gone from a quasi-glamor profession to one that is, well, not glamorous. But he’s enjoyed being home for long stretches for the first time in his adult life. And he likes being his own boss.
“It’s totally night and day from what I was doing,” he said. “I used to travel all over the world and now I’m in basements and attics.”
You can reach Derek at 401 601 7910.