Anyone who lives in or around a college town knows move-in day. In Boston, with so many major colleges and universities in and around the city, we are all aware of what day/weekend the 250,000 students that attend Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Northeastern, Boston University, and 100 other colleges move in. And on that weekend, we go on vacation. We exit the city. We wait for the dust to settle. We avoid the restaurants where undergrads will bring their parents after their dorm rooms are set up. We stay away from tourist traps where they will opportunistically visit as part of the celebration of their child making it to a prestigious university in a historic part of the country.
And we avoid driving altogether.
But what you may not know about is the lesser celebrated, but equally exiting event which takes place in the weeks leading up to move-in day. Before the thousands of new temporary residents can migrate to Boston, thousands must move out. That means FREE STUFF, lightly used, on every street corner and sidewalk in the region from the transient population of students, post-grads, and university staff who likely just figured out how to get from one end of the city to the other without using a map (Boston is annoyingly complicated to navigate, see below).
Exactly. (Original source unknown, it’s been filtered all over the internet by half the people I know)
Every year for the first few years that I lived in the city, I would watch the sidewalks in June and August, looking for great items to furnish our apartment. And when my sister got her first apartment in college, we did the exact same thing.
It’s a wonderful example of the reuse economy at it’s finest. And everyone wins. Because, I don’t know about you, but my move out of college was less than 24 hours before I flew out on a 6-week trip to East Africa. My crap just needed to be moved, dumped, and abandoned until I returned. And I know that was not a unique situation.
Curb treasures are the best!
I used this knowledge after our first yard sale back in June. As I mentioned in my previous post, we made a modest amount of money for the time invested and I felt really good that I was able to get rid of so much stuff and that others were able to benefit from the things we didn’t need (DVDs 3 for a $1, yes, please! Used jogging stroller for $20, heck, yes!).
If it doesn’t sell, come back later for curbside goodies!
Despite our surprising success at our yard sale, however, we still had a lot of stuff left over at the end. As I mentioned before, I hate waste. HATE it. And I also understand the resale value of things that are well kept and in great condition. I separated the remaining items into four piles:
1. Things that could go with items people bought. This was easy because we knew several people that bought things. I collected the items that went with those things and delivered them.
2. Books. There are a ton of used book stores in our area. This was easy to part with.
3. High quality goods. This is a little tricky, depending on where you live. But in our small town we actually have several resale shops that sell high quality goods. People love them. So it was easy to take the items priced “too high” for a yard sale downtown.
4. Leftovers to donate. Tricky distinction between #3, but basically things that didn’t fit the products sold at the resale shops downtown, but would be beneficial for an organization like Goodwill to sell. These items also give you a tax return.
5. The rest. Everything else went to the curb and was literally picked up less than 3 hours after the sale finished.
If you are going to try the methods of resale I mentioned above, I would recommend choosing a similar order. One of the bonuses to bringing your goods to a resale shop is that you support local businesses and your neighbors. It’s an endeavor worth the effort if you can find the time. Besides, whatever they can’t take can be donated or left curbside until trash day.
Happy curb hunting!
PS. If you find any curbside treasures please link in the comments.