You'd be surprised what people throw away in the days after Christmas, leaving thieves with a road map to the houses with the best gifts. 

Channel 3 spoke to the Chattanooga Public Works Department Tuesday about the do's and don'ts at the trashcan this holiday season. 

"People seem to throw away just about anything they don't want," said Rick Cooper, General Supervisor of Sanitation Dept.

From the Christmas gifts you didn't want, to the boxes, wrapping paper and Christmas bows, Gene Trotter tells Channel 3 he has seen it all. 

 "You see some of the kids, they might get some bicycles or some big wheels or video games," said truck operator Gene Trotter.

Trotter has been a garbage truck operator in Chattanooga for more than 25 years and he loves it. 
 
"It helps keep Chattanooga clean and all the germs and rats out of your house," said Trotter. 

But this week can be difficult for any veteran driver. 

"It's a lot heavier this week," said Trotter. 

You'd think by now people would know it'ss not wise to advertise any new gifts inside of their home, but you'd be wrong. 

"Sometimes you might see a TV sitting outside beside the can," said Trotter. "There are empty boxes and heavy plates from Christmas dinners." 

Police say burglars often target homeowners after Christmas, based on what's inside or outside of their trashcan.

"It is busy, the cans are usually somewhat overloaded," said Cooper. " We see some bulky items also so somebody might have gotten a new TV for Christmas and they want to throw their old one away." 

To protect yourself, officers say you should make sure all items are bagged inside of the bin securely. Pubic Works officials say you should not stack or place any gift boxes outside of your container either. They ask that you call 3-1-1 for any large items you want picked up. 

Police say you can also protect yourself from thieves online by not posting about your big gifts on social media. 

If you're still out of town, they say it' s best wait before posting about your trip until you've returned home. 

All collection will be delayed by one day for every customer due to the Christmas holiday falling on a Monday this year. 

There is an interactive map on Chattanooga.gov so you can see exactly when your trash will be picked up. You can also download the interactive Public Works app.