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The annual apartment shuffle tradition continues

The annual downtown Madison tradition of shuffling from one apartment to the next has begun.  On top of packing, hauling, and saying goodbyes, movers need to decide just what to do with all their unwanted stuff.  And there is a lot of it.
In 2015, over one million pounds of unwanted goods was landfilled just from the student move out days.  That is a considerable amount of material to put in the landfill, especially considering how much of it can be reused, resold, recycled, or just moved to the new apartment.
The Streets Division wants to encourage everyone participating in the downtown moving days first to seek out donation opportunities for unwanted items.  Several worthy non-profits in the area would be able to accept usable furniture, desks, clothes, food, and many other items.  Items could also be resold through the Madison Stuff Exchange or other means.
If the unwanted item cannot be donated or resold, then the Streets Division also encourages everyone to please follow the collection guidelines.  After all, our crews might have to collect over one million pounds of unwanted items in the coming days.  Following the rules will help make the move out safe and efficient for everyone.
Starting on Monday, August 1, residents in the downtown area who have their refuse and recycling collected on Thursdays can place their refuse and recycling carts at the curb.  Crews from the Streets Division will be able to empty them so the residents can use them again and again during the move out process.
The Streets Division recommends placing as much appropriate material into the refuse and recycling carts as possible.  During these moving days, additional crews will be deployed in the downtown areas every day and they will be able to empty the carts so residents can refill them multiple times.
The refuse and recycling carts will be emptied every work day from August 1 through August 15.  There will be a special collection of all materials, including large items, on Sunday, August 14.
Streets Division Guidelines
Besides using the carts for as much refuse and recycling as possible, there are additional guidelines the Streets Division needs movers to follow so this year’s move out is efficient and safe for everyone:

  • Do not set unwanted televisions, monitors, or computers at the curb
    • They must be brought to a drop-off site to be recycled for a small fee.
    • Most televisions and monitors contain hazardous materials like lead or mercury, so if they are broken at the curb that material could leach into the environment.
  • Do not place trash into cardboard boxes.
    • All boxes must be flattened and placed into the recycling container, or bundled for collection. 
  • Keep the refuse and recycling carts free from obstructions.
    • Do not place your carts too close to large items or other objects – like utility poles – that would inhibit the crews’ ability to lift and dump the cart.
  • Keep refuse and recycling separated when placed at the curb.
    • Also, do not mix refuse and recycling together.  This could contaminate the recycling and make it difficult to recover the material.
  • Do not pile trash or recycling loose at the curb.
    • Use the carts first.  If you have more than can go into the cart, and the excess refuse can fit into standard refuse bag, put it in a bag. 
    • If you must bag excess recycling, please use a clear or white bag so crews know which is refuse and which is recycling.
  • Do not pile trash or recycling on top of furniture or appliances.
  • Keep large metal items separate from other material so they can be easily recycled.
  • Most appliances, including microwaves, require a fee for recycling.

As always, if there are questions, all residents are encouraged to contact the Streets Division.  Residents who live east of S. Park Street, and that includes the isthmus, should call 608-246-4532 and residents west of S. Park Street, and that includes the neighborhoods around Camp Randall, should call 608-266-4681.  Movers can also check the Streets Division's Moving Days website for more information.
St. Vincent de Paul Donation Station
The City of Madison has partnered with the University of Wisconsin’s We Conserve program, the University of Wisconsin’s Office of Sustainability, and St. Vincent de Paul to provide a temporary donation station downtown where movers can easily drop of the items and food they no longer need.
The donation site and dates of operation are as follows:
U-Haul Parking Lot (602 W. Washington Ave.)

  • Friday, August 12 - 1pm until 7pm
  • Saturday, August 13 - 11am until 7pm
  • Sunday, August 14 - 10am until 2pm

Free Electronics Recycling Drop Off
Two e-waste recycling sites will be maintained by the University of Wisconsin’s We Conserve program.  The sites will be located at Lot 41 (1820 University Ave.) and Lot 45 (165 N. Mills) at the hours listed below for the University of Wisconsin Donate and Take Event sites.  This program will accept electronics, working or not, including computers, monitors, televisions, batteries, small appliances, and gaming systems.

University of Wisconsin Donate & Take Event
The University of Wisconsin’s We Conserve program is sponsoring two Donate and Take event sites on campus.  People on the move can drop items for reuse and search for items they need at their new apartment.  Please do not drop off mattresses, box springs, or futons.  Food donations for the Open Seat Pantry will also be accepted at these sites.


  • UW–Madison Lot 41 (1820 University Ave – the UW Foundation parking lot)
  • UW-Madison Lot 45 (165. N Mills St)


  • Friday, August 12 – 10am – 6pm
  • Saturday, August 13 - 10am - 6 pm
  • Sunday, August 14 - 10am. - 4 pm
  • Monday, August 15 - 10 am - 6 pm
  • Tuesday, August 16 - 10 am - 6 pm
  • Wednesday, August 17 - 10am - 2pm

Sell or Give Away Useable Items on the Madison Stuff Exchange
With so many people moving into new apartments, the demand for used furniture and other household items will be very high.  That makes this a great time to list unwanted yet useable items on the Madison Stuff Exchange.
Residents of Madison and Dane County can register to use the site at no charge.  Items can be given away or offered for sale.  There is a maximum sale price of $99 for any item. Businesses may not use the site to sell their products or services.  Residents looking for items can also register and post their wanted list.
The address of the Madison Stuff Exchange is