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Moving Days






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Donate & ReSell Your Usable Goods

After you have gathered all you you need for your new apartment, let's find a home for the stuff you don't need instead of adding it to the landfill.

Check out our "Reuse It!" website for a list of just some of the many, many options available locally that acceptable usable items from neighborhood thrift stores to online exchanges.


Apartment Building Sites

In years prior, Goodwill partnered with select large apartment towers during move out times to reclaim items for another use.

If you are unsure if your building will be doing this, or if you would like your building to participate, contact your property manager to see if Goodwill or another resale organization could set up a donation station for residents.


Fill 'Em Up & Roll 'Em Out - DAILY cart COLLECTION

For 2023, the Streets Division will empty refuse and recycling carts in the student moving area every work day between Monday, August 7 through Thursday, August 17.

During this window, fill up your carts with the appropriate material according to the guidelines below and roll them to the curb by 6:30 a.m.

We will empty your carts so you can fill them up again. And we'll empty them again the next day.

Use the carts as much as possible.

It keeps your neighborhood clean, and makes our collection much faster so we can stay out of your way while you move.

Crews will begin patrolling the student move out area starting August 1 as staffing and time allows. They will be collecting carts and large items.  As more material is set out, more staff will be diverted from regular duties to help with the cleanup. 

Trash cart being emptied into truck


the large item work order system and student move out

Disposal of Items that Are Free (Furniture, Mattresses, Etc.)

If you live in the student move out area, you will not be required to complete a work order for free large items from August 7, 2023 until the morning of Friday, August 18, 2023. Large item collection crews will be roving the student areas during that time.

In other words, during that above window of time, you will not be required to submit a work order to have couches, chairs, box springs, mattresses, bookshelves, tables, and other free large items picked up from the curb.

If you need a large item picked up after or before this window of time listed above, you must create a work order.

A list of items that require a fee can be found on the Large Item page.

If your large item is not listed, and it is also not an electronics item that must be recycled by state law, then it can be collected at the curb without a work order in the student move area during the window of time noted above.

What if you do not live in the student move out area? The normal large item work order requirements still apply.


Disposal of Items that Require a Fee (Microwaves, Air Conditioners, Etc.)

If you are disposing of an item that requires a fee, for example a microwave or air conditioner, you will need to use the work order form to pay those fees.  There are no exceptions to this.

If you are choosing curbside pickup, set the item out for pickup on the set-out date available for you. After you complete the work order for curbside pickup, you will not receive a fee sticker in the mail. Just set the item out on the date you selected.

If you are choosing to take the item to a drop-off site, or if you are required to take it to a drop-off site, then you will receive a fee sticker in the mail.


What about televisions, computers, laptops, monitors, printers, and other electronics?

These items must be taken to a drop-off site for appropriate recycling.

There are no fees for these items when you take them to a City drop-off site.

Do not set electronics to the curb. And do not put them into the trash or recycling carts.



the rules & guidelines

The Basics

  • Use the right cart for the right material
  • Please keep your refuse and recycling carts separated from each other.
  • Make sure your carts remain accessible for our trucks and do not pile bagged trash, bagged recyclables, or large items around them.
  • Do not take the collection carts with you. Appropriate carts or dumpsters will be at your next apartment.


Guidelines for Trash

  • Put all refuse at the curb in your tan refuse cart or trash bags. Do not pile your trash loose at the curb.
  • Do not put recycling in your tan refuse cart - all material in the tan cart goes to the landfill
  • Do NOT put trash in cardboard boxes. Boxes are recyclable. Stuffing them with trash means they get sent to the landfill
  • Place trash that will not fit into the cart in bags.


Guidelines for Green Recycling Carts

  • Only put recyclables in your green recycling cart.
  • If the recyclables are in the cart they should be loose. Do not bag them.
  • Have too much cardboard? Here are your options.
  • Use clear plastic bags for recycling that does not fit into the cart. Do not pile it loose at the curb or stuffed into another container
  • Do not stuff extra recycling into a cardboard box, either.


Guidelines for Furniture, Appliances, and Other Large Items

  • Do not pile bagged trash or recyclables on top of large items furniture or appliances set out for collection
  • Keep larger metal items separate from other material so that it can be recycled.

  • Most appliances, including microwaves and air conditioners, require a fee for collection.

  • You will need to use the new work order system to pay for these items and scheduled your pickup or get the stickers you need for drop-off.



Guidelines for Televisions, Computers, Laptops, and Other Electronics


a bad example - do not be like this

Follow the rules and make a plan to avoid messy piles like below.

See the garbage stuffed into the green recycling carts?

See the garbage crammed into cardboard boxes? That means the whole box goes into the trash.

See the other small trash scattered around, and the other items piled under the tree?

We can be better.

Bad student move out - don't do this!


why are there so many special rules for the move out?

Around August 15 each year, most leases in the student moving area in downtown Madison expire.

According to the University of Wisconsin, 35,000 UW students live in the neighborhoods around campus .

That’s roughly equivalent to the entire population City of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin all moving out simultaneously.

And every year, the move out generates over 1 million pounds of garbage that Streets Division crews work hard to collect, much of it by hand.

It is a large operation.


A note for property owners & managers

In 2023, individuals that own non-owner occupied property in the student move area will receive a letter providing notification about how the Streets Division will handle certain items set to the curb that should not be. (Click here for a blank version of the 2023 letter)

In the mailing, you also received a print out of the student move map, which is available below. You also received a flyer explaining the drop-off site hours and locations for this year and also a flyer explaining large item rules.

Be sure your tenants know their responsibilities on how to safely handle these items.  Provide them with the full current Recyclopedia or the 2021 condensed version (update to the condensed version coming soon).

Also, if items are dumped illegally on your property, it is a crime and should be reported to the Madison Police Department. After obtaining the case number from MPD, contact the Streets Division to learn the next steps.