Moving Day Resources - Tenant Resource Center

Moving Day Resources

The Great Day Of Moving is upon us! Many Madison leases turn over on August 14-16, and here's the crucial informational goods:

  • There are so many ways to get rid of your stuff! There are donation sites all over town, more trash pickups than usual, and lots of ways to recycle. More information below!
  • You can contact us if you have questions! (Though our most commonly asked questions are below!) Our contact info is here, but you can also find our staff at our Moving Day Fundraiser on August 14th!

Below are answers to our most commonly asked Moving Day questions. 

"I want to pick up a gorgeous piece of furniture that's free on the sidewalk. How do I know if it has bedbugs?"

Bedbugs are a big deal! They are very difficult to detect, and if you end up with bedbugs in your apartment, it can cost thousands of dollars to get rid of them. If you are picking up a piece of furniture, it's a good idea to look it over really, really well and see if you can find the little bugs. Bedbug eggs can stay dormant for up to a year, so it's possible that you won't see the suckers, even though the eggs are there. Bedbugs leave rust colored droppings, and tend to make furniture smell musty. If you bring it home, clean the object well, and if you are able to get it really hot, often that will kill bedbugs. More info on bedbugs is here.

Tip: If you had bedbugs in your apartment, and now you are throwing away furniture, please spraypaint or mark the furniture to show that it had bedbugs. The rest of the city will thank you.

"My new apartment is so dirty/in need of repair! Is my lease void? Could I clean/fix it and get paid back?"

No, probably your lease is not void. The contract is likely still in effect, and it is the landlord's responsibility to maintain the rental unit and to keep it in a reasonable state of repair. When the landlord rents out a unit, there is an implied warranty of habitability (see notes at the end of this law), which means that it should be livable when tenants move in.

However, getting the landlord to clean the unit can be tricky, as can trying to get important repairs made quickly. It can also be difficult to try and clean or fix the problem yourself, hoping for reimbursement. Here's what we recommend:

"I wasn't done moving, but my landlord threw my stuff out! What do I do?"

Before you do anything else, document what was tossed! Write an email, or a letter, and make sure you note down everything you know was thrown out. If you are able to recover it (look in the garbage bins), great, but if not, you'll be glad you wrote it down. 

Your second step should be looking through your most recent lease. As of March 2012, it is legal for landlords to write their own rules into the lease about disposing of property you leave behind. If there is nothing in your lease about it, then they have to store ALL property and, within 10 days, they have to tell you where it is, along with any charges, and give you 30 days’ notice if they will throw it out. You can be required to pay the moving and storing costs in order to get it back. Medical equipment and prescription medication must be stored for 7 days and returned promptly upon request– no matter what. More info on property left behind here.

If your landlord incorrectly (according the law and lease) threw away your belongings, and you were not able to get them back, then you might be able to sue to be compensated for your stuff. Small Claims Court tips are here

"I'm afraid my landlord is going to take my security deposit. How do I make sure that I get it back?"

We talked about this last week! All our suggestions are here:

Tip: Avoid this problem in the future by doing a really good job of filling out your check-in form, and make sure to take photos, if you are able. Doing so when you move in means that you will be able to prove, at the end of your lease, the damage that you did or did not do.

"I have a lot of things to throw out. Where can I take my stuff?"

The City of Madison published a great guide for where to take donations, how to dispose of trash, and some other resources:

-- City of Madison August Moving Days Tips --

From: August Moving Days


On August 14th and 15th leases for most downtown area apartments end. That means that thousands of residents will be moving out of their old apartments and into new ones.

In 2018, Madison’s student moving days put over 1 million pounds of material into the landfill. That’s so much stuff. It is crucial to follow the rules and regulations so Streets Division crews can collect all that waste material as quickly and safely as possible.

Also, 1 million pounds into the landfill !?! We can do better than that. Before you landfill it, donate it, or sell it, or best yet, move it with you.

See below for the resources to help reduce the amount of your stuff going to the landfill during these moving days.


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

Usable items like clean clothing, functional household items, small furniture, unopened nonperishable food, and kitchen items are all very easily donated.

There are many, many thrift stores in the Madison area that accept items. A list of several of them are later on this website.

(And don’t forget – you can probably sell your items through the Madison Stuff Exchange or several other person-to-person exchanges)

Apartment Building Sites

Goodwill donation stations have been set up at the following apartment buildings during move out times. The use of these apartment building donation stations are limited to residents of the respective buildings. For dates and other information, residents of these buildings should check with their property manager.

    • Equinox
    • 420 Gorham
    • 625 Langdon
    • Vantage Point
    • Grand Central
    • X01
    • Lucky
    • Regent
    • Henry Street Apartments
    • Highland
    • Embassy
    • La Ville
    • Park Regent
    • Varsity Quarters
    • The Hub

Other Donation Opportunities

If you do not live in one of the apartments listed above, and still have useable goods you would like to donate, and also maybe help out a good cause in the process, use these resources listed below. Be sure to contact the organization you would like to donate these items to before showing up just to be sure they accept what you have.
Agrace Thrift Store

  • Madison East phone: 608-327-7200
  • Madison West phone: 608-833-4556

Boomerangs Resale Store

  • Phone: 608-268-0793

Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin

  • Phone: 608-246-4730

Dane County Humane Society Thrift Store

  • Phone: 608- 827-8997


  • Madison East: 608-246-1990
  • Madison West: 608-271-0048

Habitat for Humanity

  • Madison East: 608-661-2813
  • Madison West: 608-442-9919

Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM)

  • Phone: 608-836-7338


  • Phone: 608-257-2534, extension 20

Salvation Army

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

St. Vincent de Paul

    • Madison East: 608-257-0673
    • Madison West: 608-278-6370
    • Schedule a free home collection: 608-278-2920, extension 1


  • Phone: 608-257-1436, option 2


For 2019, the Streets Division will empty refuse and recycling carts in the downtown moving area every day between August 5 through August 15th.

During this window, fill up your carts with the appropriate material according to the guidelines below and roll them to the curb by 7:00 a.m.

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

Using your carts for refuse and recycling is easier than hauling bags or piling loose material to the curb. Plus, it keeps your neighborhood clean, and makes our collection much faster so we can stay out of your way while you move.

The moving areas will be monitored daily starting July 29. Crews collecting large items and emptying carts will be assigned to the student move areas as needed.


  • 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. Flatten and bundle all of the boxes that cannot fit into the recycling cart or take the excess cardboard to a drop-off site.
  • Only put recyclables in your green recycling cart.
  • Do not put recycling in your tan refuse cart – all material in the tan cart goes to the landfill
  • Put all recyclables at the curb in the green recycling cart or, if necessary, in clear plastic bags outside the filled cart. No loose piles of recycling, or stuffed 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 YOUR APARTMENT’S CARTS THERE. Do not take them with you. The carts belong to the City and must remain behind when you move for the new tenants.


  • 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, require a fee for collection. You will need to purchase a fee sticker prior to placing that item out for collection.



Check the Recyclopedia.

Or call:
(608)246-4532 if you live east of S. Park Street (and that includes the isthmus) or
(608)266-4681 if you live west of S. Park (and that includes the area around Camp Randall).

And you can email us.


In 2019, individuals that own non-owner occupied property in the student move area will have received a copy of this letter providing notification about how the Streets Division will handle certain items set to the curb that should not be.

Be sure your tenants know their responsibilities on how to safely handle these items.  Provide them with the Recyclopedia. You can also elect share with them the fact sheets we have for recycling, refuse, large item collection, and cart use.

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.

Sell or Give Away Usable Items or Find Bargains for Your New Apartment on the Madison Stuff Exchange.

Because so many people are 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 items you no longer use 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 and businesses may not use the site to sell their products or services. Residents looking for items can also register and post their wanted list on line.

The address of the Madison Stuff Exchange is


Hi! Did you know? We are not attorneys here at the TRC!  And this isn't legal advice, either.  If what we've written here doesn't sound right to you, talk about it with someone you trust. For help finding an attorney, check out our attorney referral list.

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