Moving is awful. What do I do with all this stuff??

After 30 years of living in Chicago we’re moving to another state. We don’t want to move in the middle of a pandemic, but it can’t be helped. I’m going to miss Chicago so much.

One big problem of moving now is that the thrift stores and, I believe, The Salvation Army are closed. I have to cull down to not only move but to fit into a much, much smaller place. I’m heartbroken at the thought of just throwing away everything we can’t take. We have tons of clothes, kitchen stuff, shoes, bags, books, toys and so much more (including thousands of magazines).

Does anyone have suggestions on what we can do? We’re under a time crunch so we can’t put anything on eBay or otherwise sell anything. It’s all free if anyone is interested. We’ve been sheltering in place for weeks so there’s no sickness here (if you’re worried you could let the bags sit for a week or so). It’s also a non-smoking home (I quit about 8 years ago). We have no pets now but we did have cats until recently (one died of old age a few months ago and one died of cancer a couple of years ago).

I’ve already thrown away a lot but I’m spacing it out so the waste management workers aren’t too overwhelmed yet. We have about 3 more weeks to go.

The clothes are pretty average, some better than others. They could be cut up for crafts projects, quilts or such.

I would confirm that the Salvation Army drop off points are closed, not assume it, first. Then, check to see if there are any unmanned drop off points for stuff. There used to be several where I once lived.

Magazines go in the recycling bin. Just chuck them.

There are sites like freecycle and craigslist which are good for giving away stuff. There are lots of people who have flea market booths or thrift stores who may take all of your stuff. Put up some pictures and say whoever comes has to take everything. I wouldn’t recommend trying to piece out stuff on those sites since it will be a huge hassle.

Check also with your local Family Services organization - they may still be accepting donations since there will always be a need for clothing, shoes, kids stuff - pandemic or not. In my area Family Services is also associated with the Food Bank, so that may be another way to find out who else may be accepting donated items.

Try other thrift stores, too, like St Vincent de Paul or ones connected to charities.

Do you have any friends with a basement that has some space and which you can easily get into once they open the proper doors in their house? Drive over to their place and put your boxes of stuff into their basement as quickly as possible while not coming close to anyone there. When places open up that will take donations, have them donate the boxes. If the boxes sit there for several months, there will be no living virus on them.

As an alternative if you don’t have a friend with a basement, you might consider paying for storage if you can afford it. Sometimes there are deals on the first few months, which is hopefully all you’ll need.

You could pay for storage, either in Chicago or at your new place. If you leave it in Chicago, let a friend sell and/or donate everything and give them a cut. If you take it with you, you sell and/or donate everything once you’re settled.

Ugh, the Board ate my first attempt, which should then show up immediately after this…

Is putting stuff out on the curb with a “FREE” sign an option in your neighborhood?

I can’t imagine paying to store stuff you don’t want or moving it with you to store/sell later. Moving is hassle enough with the stuff you DO want! I would check with your local social service agencies- there’s likely a shelter or need-based service that would take the items, or even pick them up.

I suspect that any place that takes donated stuff would ask, “Have you touched the boxes and the stuff in them recently?” You would presumably tell them that you have just gone through your house and carefully picked out all the stuff you don’t want in order to put those things in the boxes. And of course you would have touched the boxes to put them in your car and then touched them again when you get to this place for donations. I suspect they would say, “No, thank you.”

Interesting. I’m moving cross country next week, and I intend to donate a bunch of stuff this weekend. I keep checking, and Goodwill donation centers appear open around me.

(Also, the building I live in is next to an alley with two trash dumpsters where homeless people tend to sleep. I intend to drag my (old, lumpy) mattress and recliner chair out there. I hope I’m a hero!)

Your options for getting rid of your stuff is practically non-existent right now. Here’s a list of possible sites. Almost all of them but Goodwill say they’re not accepting donations, and Goodwill says on its site it’s not accepting donated items at this time.

I second the suggestion of a storage locker. When things ease up, you can probably get some charity to pick up the stuff right at the storage locker.

Good luck on your move. I moved away 43 years ago and still miss Chicago.

Put it in storage for one month. Look for a place that offers “first month free”. After you’ve been delinquent for about 45 days, the storage unit owner will cut the lock off, and then auction your stuff away. Maybe it will end up on storage wars…make sure you put at least one valuable item in that highest bidder will need to get appraised.

Omar Little, brilliant!

Moving last summer was one of the worst experiences of my life. Going from a 4 BR house that we had lived in for 47 years to a 2 BR apartment meant getting rid of half our books, all of our accumulated magazines (over 50 years of Scientific American and 40 or Analog). One of the hardest parts was what to do with all the art work hanging on the walls. A lot it was painted by my father-in-law, a damned good amateur artist. Well, we have mostly done it but there are still about 8 boxes sitting unopened in a storage locker off the garage.

Please don’t. That’s just dumping your trash on public property.

Nellie, you forgot to post a link.

We’re on our local “Next Door” app, with an extensive For Sale section. But many items say “Magazines! Free on Curb!” or “Check the 1900 block of W. Lawn Drive for free boxes of clothes and kitchen stuff.”

Thank you everyone for responding. I’ve been crazy busy. I appreciate the suggestions. It’s hard to multi-quote on my phone. Please forgive me for not responding to everyone individually. I don’t mean to be rude, I’m just frazzled.

I wrote to the Salvation Army and they’re closed, not taking donations at all.

I joined Next Door and my neighborhood is Ravenswood Manor. Unfortunately they needed me to recommend a neighbor before letting me continue, but I can’t do that. I hate to admit it but I don’t know any of my neighbors. I’m insular to the extreme. Even if I did know anyone I don’t give out other people’s names and email addresses.

A storage unit is out. We don’t have a car and it would be a pain to make several trips back and forth on a bus, plus we want to keep interactions with other people to a minimum. I’ve only been out twice since mid-March, to the store a block away. Yes, wearing a mask.

I will try some of your other suggestions over the next week, including Craigslist. I’m fairly resigned to it all going into the trash if necessary. I just threw away hundreds of Onions, papers with Straight Dope columns and 10 years’ worth of Gene Siskel Film Center Gazettes. That barely scratched the surface. I’m not a hoarder but I would classify myself as a pack rat. I’m being cured of that. I have (had) thousands of movie tickets because, well, I’m crazy. I saw 662 movies in the theater just last year. I’ve always kept my movie tickets. I don’t know why. The majority are gone now, but I still have several boxes to go through.

I spent hours earlier going through our seemingly hundreds of band t-shirts. I’ve never been much of a t-shirt wearer, but we saw a lot live music over the 30 years we lived here and we always liked to buy CDs and t-shirts to support the bands. I’ve been ruthless, but I’ll still end up keeping at least 30-50 that I can’t bear to get rid of.

It’ll all be for the better. I tell myself, what if I died? Someone else, probably my husband, would have to go through all my crap which would be bad for them. Culling now will help them. I’m not a morbid person but it’s a motivator. Moving to a much smaller place is THE motivator, but that thought helps.

So who says you have to “recommend” a real person? Pick a nice house, make up a name and an email. Heck, the email could be a throwaway one of yours; they’ll send a "One of your neighbors thinks YOU’d love Next Door! :slight_smile: " email, and you can ignore it.

I’m reaching the point where I’m skipping that step and just tossing whole boxes. If I open one, it’s an hour of indecisiveness and I end up keeping half of it.

Isn’t it Sweden that has “Death Cleaning”? Same deal, toss stuff before your descendants have to do it.