City Info on 2016 Downtown Moving Days

Moving on the Isthmus is about to begin - not everyone moves on August 15th - but most do!  Here's some information you may need!

Moving on the Isthmus is about to begin - not everyone moves on August 15th - but most do!  Here's some information you may need!

Moving Days Are Here Again

The annual downtown Madison ritual 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 2016, over one million pounds of unwanted goods was landfilled just from the August 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, or recycled.

The Streets Division wants to encourage everyone participating in the downtown moving days first to seek out donation opportunities.  There are several places to donate useable items, such as couches, desks, clothes, non-perishable food, and many other things.  Items could also be resold through the Madison Stuff Exchange or other person-to-person exchanges.

If the unwanted item cannot be donated or resold, then the Streets Division also encourages everyone to follow the collection guidelines outlined below.  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. 

The Streets Division will be providing additional collections in the downtown moving area on the days leading up to August 15 when downtown leases traditionally end.  More details regarding the additional collections can be found below.

Donation Opportunities

Here is a list of potential places where unwanted yet usable items can be donated.  This list is not exhaustive as other options for your items may exist locally through consignment shops or other reputable donation opportunities. 

Be sure to contact the donation organization prior to arriving with your items to be sure they will accept what you seek to give.  For example, Habitat for Humanity may take a gently used microwave, but they will not take clothing.  And the YWCA may accept the cookware and non-perishable food items that you no longer need, but they cannot accept furniture.  Many of these organizations also post a list of what they can and cannot accept on their websites.

Agrace Thrift Store

Bethesda House of Thrift

Boomerang’s Resale Store

Easter Seals Donation Station


Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Salvation Army

  1. Schedule a home collection: 1-800-728-7825


St. Vincent de Paul


  1. Phone: 608-257-1436, option 2

Residents of the large downtown apartment buildings may have access to donation opportunities within their buildings.  A list of buildings that have partnered with Goodwill to provide this service for their residents can be found on the Streets Division’s Moving Days website.

Streets Division Operations

Starting on Monday, July 31, residents in the downtown moving days area who have their refuse and recycling collected on Thursdays can place their collection carts at the curb every day. 

Crews from the Streets Division will be in this area every day between July 31 and August 15 to empty the refuse and recycling carts so 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.  Using the carts makes collection operations safer and faster for everyone. 

Guidelines for Refuse, Recycling, and Using the Carts

  • Please keep your refuse and recycling separated from each other.
  • Do not put trash in cardboard boxes. Boxes are recyclable. Stuffing them with trash means they get sent to the landfill. Please flatten and bundle cardboard boxes for recycling.
  • Only put appropriate recyclable items in your green recycling cart. Consult the Recyclopedia (page 8) to learn what can go into it.
  • Do not put recycling in your tan refuse cart - all material in the tan cart goes to the landfill.
  • If you have more recycling than can fit into the cart, and you cannot wait until your cart has been emptied for you to refill it, bring the excess to a drop-off site or place the recyclables in clear plastic bags outside your filled cart. Do not make loose piles of recycling, and do not stuff it into other containers.
  • Put all refuse at the curb in your tan refuse cart or trash bags. Do not pile your trash loose at the curb.
  • Make sure your carts remain accessible for our trucks and do not pile bagged trash, bagged recyclables, or large items around them.
  • Leave the collection arts at your apartment. Do not take them with you. The carts belong to the City and must remain for the new tenants. There will be carts at your new apartment if that building uses City refuse and recycling services.

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, such as filing cabinets or bed frames, separate from other material so they can be easily collected and recycled.
  • Most appliances, including microwaves, require a fee for collection. You will need to purchase a fee sticker prior to placing that item out for collection. Check the Streets Division website or the Recyclopedia to verify if your appliance needs a fee sticker.

Guidelines for Televisions, Computers, Laptops, and Other Electronics

The Streets Division offers drop-off site services for all residents of the city of Madison.  Televisions, computers, and other electronics must be taken to a drop-off site, but other material, such as excess refuse or recycling, can be taken to a drop-off site as well.

Residents can bring one load a day of refuse, recycling, or large items to either the 1501 W. Badger Rd. or the 4141 Nakoosa Trail drop-off site. The single load cannot be larger than what would fit into a standard pick-up truck bed or small single-axle trailer.  Loads larger than those guidelines will be denied access to the site. Individuals wanting to use the drop-off site will need to provide proof of their City of Madison residency.

Appliance Sticker Sales

If you have an item that requires an appliance sticker, they can be purchased at the Streets Division offices at 1501 W. Badger Rd. and 4602 Sycamore Ave. between the hours of 7:30am and 4:00pm Monday to Friday.  Sticker sales are not available at the Nakoosa Trail drop-off site.

Stickers can also be purchased at any city of Madison public library and the Treasurer’s office in the City-County Building.

Stickers can also be purchased online at, but stickers will need to be mailed to you after purchase, which may delay their arrival.

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 usable 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 web address of the Madison Stuff Exchange is

Additional Information

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. 

Additional information can also be found in the Recyclopedia and the Streets Division’s Moving Days website.