Sustainable Move Out Tips for Students Living Off-Campus

As Planet Blue Student Leader (PBSLs)s, we’ve compiled some tips to help you reduce your waste during Move Out as a student living in off-campus housing. Live in a Res Hall? Check out the Office of Campus Sustainability’s awesome plan for reusing, recycling, and safely disposing of unwanted items.

Tip #1: Breathe new life into unwanted items. Here’s a guide to upcycling, recycling, and repurposing old common household items. This interactive infographic has links to guides to turn t-shirts into bags, jars into plant holders, books into shelves, and more. 

Tip #2: Get straight what you can donate. A number of Ann Arbor thrift stores will take clothes, furniture, and more. Plan ahead by donating these items before you start packing and check out this spreadsheet with more info about where and when you can donate specific items.

Ann Arbor PTO thrift shop and the Salvation Army store accept clothes, household items, and furniture.
Ann Arbor PTO thrift shop and the Salvation Army store accept clothes, household items, and furniture.

Tip #3: Close the loop on food waste and the gap on student food insecurity by donating extra food items to Maize and Blue Cupboard.

Donate unopened, shelf-stable food items to Maize and Blue Cupboard during open hours from 3-7pm on weekdays and 2-8pm on Sunday.
Donate unopened, shelf-stable food items to Maize and Blue Cupboard during open hours from 3-7pm on weekdays and 2-8pm on Sunday. 

Tip #4: Pack smarter (and into fewer boxes using less packing material.) PBSL Mavi Benacerraf shares pack hacks in this video.

Tip #5: Struggling on Move Out day? You can donate, recycle, and safely dispose of your unwanted items all in one place at the City of Ann Arbor’s drop-off site at 2000 S Industrial. The site will be open April 29 through May 10, 2021 between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., daily, including weekends. And, students can visit a2gov.org/studentmove for more info.

Tip #6: You can donate the following items on move out day at the City’s site. 

ItemDonate theseBut not these
ClothesClean and undamaged itemsHeavily used, dirty, or stained clothes
ShoesPairs that are bundled togetherItems with holes or visible damage
BeddingClean and undamaged pillows, blankets, towels, and throw rugsHeavily used, dirty, or stained items
Household itemsKitchen and cooking utensils, unused cooking utensils, baskets, school suppliesBroken appliances, damaged cookware, or anything that you wouldn’t want in your kitchen or on your desk

Tip #7: Know the dos and don’ts of drop-off recycling at 2000 S. Industrial. And remember this friendly reminder from the PBSL team: when in doubt, throw it out. 

Recycle these items to give them a second life:

  • M​ixed paper
  • Metal cans
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic bottles, containers and tubs
  • Cardboard boxes
  • “Aseptic” and “Tetrapak” cartons (These are typically​ used for plant-based milk)

But please don’t contaminate the recycling by adding any of these items:

  • Plastic bags or film
  • Styrofoam
  • #3 PVC plastic
  • Biodegradable plastics marked “PLA” or “BPI”
  • Hardcover books
  • Shredded paper

Tip #8: Keep Ann Arbor streets clean by properly disposing of these items in landfill dumpsters at the City drop-off site. 

  • Bagged trash
  • Bagged mattresses
  • Furniture – as long as two people can lift it into the dumpster

And remember: if it don’t fit, you gotta quit. If the item is taller or wider  than the dumpster or it takes more than two people to lift it in, you need to break that item down into smaller pieces. 

Tip #9: Help keep your water and community safe. Do not put these items into landfill dumpsters.

  • Refrigerators
  • Freon-containing appliances
  • TVs
  • Electronics
  • Paint
  • Fuel or propane tanks

If you have any of these hazardous materials, you may be able to bring them to Recycle Ann Arbor’s drop off station. Learn more at this link.

Tip #10: This one’s a space for you! If you have a helpful Move Out tip to share with your fellow students, please share it in the comments below!

1 thought on “Sustainable Move Out Tips for Students Living Off-Campus”

  1. If you live nearby and know a friend who needs some help downsizing during move-out, offer to hold their items for the summer. Some of my friends in my hall last semester did that for a friend who had to fly home and couldn’t take everything with them.

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