Tips for a Sustainable Move-Out

By: LOUIS SPANIAS, Sustainability Program Manager

Harvey Mudd students won’t have to move out for another few weeks, but as I learned during my time in college, it’s wise to start thinking about the move-out process early. Chances are that, as a student, you’ve accumulated a lot of stuff over the past year. As soon as the time comes to move all of that stuff out, you might realize that there’s a lot of stuff you either don’t need, or can’t take with you.

This problem is ubiquitous amongst college students, and it produces a lot of waste and, consequently, a lot of hassle for colleges and universities around the country. Institutions have to find a way to dispose of all the things students leave behind, and most of the time, that means that perfectly good and usable items (e.g., furniture, clothes, books) end up in landfills. It also means extra work for the staff members responsible for cleaning up and turning over dorm rooms in time for summer programs. Scrambling to get rid of things you can’t keep puts a lot of stress on you!

So, save yourself and others the stress, and do your part for the environment all at the same time. Here are a few easy, but impactful, tips that you can adopt to prepare for move-out next month:

  • Give away, don’t throw away – It’s easy to give up on furniture items, fridges, microwaves, clothes, or textbooks that you don’t think you’ll need anymore. Chances are, someone could really use it. Consider local thrift stores such as Goodwill to donate your stuff, or designate items as ‘free’ in lounges and other public spaces in your dorm.
  • Coming back? Store your items – There are multiple storage facilities and services across town where you can leave larger items over the summer. While it is an expense, there may be student discounts available.
  • Need some cash? Sell, sell, sell – Looking to get some money back on that purchase you made? Craigslist and Facebook are just two ways to sell your unwanted items.
  • Don’t want that book? Can’t sell it or donate it? Try Amazon – While there are more sustainable ways of getting rid of that unwanted textbook or class material, a good last resort is selling something back to Amazon. Depending on the condition of the book, you can get decent money back – and Amazon will cover the shipping costs.
  • Return those dishes, cups and utensils to the dining halls early – We get it. It’s easy to take that cup or that bowl with you from the Hoch, especially if you don’t have your own, but don’t leave it in the dorm. Take it back before Finals are upon you!
  • For anything else? Recycle or throw away as needed – Facilities & Maintenance will provide large containers for folks to throw away recyclable or disposable items at the end of the year. Do your part and make sure you properly sort your waste at the end of the year.

Lastly, start doing this stuff sooner rather than later. Moving out can be a frantic process, so don’t leave too much for the last minute!

If you want to learn more about eco-friendly living and move-out, check out the Hixon Center’s Guide to Sustainable Living. Feel free to send any and all questions to