By: Jordan Sapir
The obvious part of Spring Cleaning is getting rid of your unwanted junk. Yes, junk, we wouldn’t call it that if you didn’t want to get rid of it. Instead of sitting on your bedroom floor surrounded by piles of clothes and unused gadgets purchased during that week of weaning from the home shopping network, it’s time to come up with a plan.
Now that you have dispelled of the leech that is capitalist consumerism, where do you take it?
Given that much of the essential information on daily life in Munich is in German. I thought I’d help you navigate through the bureaucracy of waste management here. Yay, how exciting, I know, yet necessary to becoming the Marie Kondo of Bavaria.
Here are the top 5 things to do with your unwanted items in your home away from home.
- Trade it:
We have a great network of moms who are always, at some point, in need of baby toys, clothes, shoes and household items. It’s expensive being a parent and I’d much rather receive something secondhand from someone I know.
We used to have great parties in New York, during our broke days, impersonating Carrie Bradshaw and we called them, “My Girlfriend’s Closet”. We’d have a cocktail-themed night bring the things we’d like to trade, come up with bartering rules and presto chango — new wardrobe.
We did this for Über Moms and it was great fun.
- Sell It:
With the helpful tool of the internet you can become a DIY entrepreneur. There are several different sites to sell unwanted items:
- Parents in Munich has a site specifically dedicated to buying and selling. If you aren’t a member of Parents in Munich, it’s an informative Facebook Group for, well, parents in Munich.
- Toytown Germany also has a page dedicated to buying/selling items.
There are also several German selling sites.
- Ebay Kleinanzeigen, the German version of Ebay: https://www.ebay-kleinanzeigen.de
- Mami Kreisel, specifically dedicated to buying and selling baby items: https://www.mamikreisel.de
And a few others…
- Donate It
You may have seen those huge clothing dispensary containers next to your local recycling bins. Some of them are for miscellaneous churches and charitable organizations, but most of them are provided by the local Red Cross (Die Rotes Kreuz).
You can take old clothes, shoes (Make sure if they have laces to tie them together, as not to be separated), coats and place them in a closed plastic bag so that they don’t get wet or damaged and they’ll be picked up.
Rotes Kreuz will also pick up clothes from your home.
Other charitable organizations accepting clothing and household items include:
- Give It Away
There are “Free stuff” sections in nearly all of the selling sites, including Items for Sale and Ebay. If you can’t find the time to sell something or donate it, but don’t want it to go to waste, post it as free and arrange a pickup date and time. You’d be surprised. One man’s trash…
You often see Germans writing on a box Zu Verschenken, please don’t do this.
I think that it is atrocious because either 2 things happen. One, the neighbors ransack the box like vultures, leaving the undesirables to clean up and an empty box of garbage. Two, undesirables ransack the box late night and pee on the remains, or worse, also leaving a box that is now most certainly rubbish. If there are a few items that you are sure someone will have, leave it in the lobby of your building and check on it frequently, as not to annoy the neighbors, which still most likely will. Your best bet is to just dispose of the items on your own.
- Trash it
Why would the waste management in this country be any less complex than filling out your Elternzeit paperwork, it’s obviously equally as important?
Luckily, some genius in the waste management administration had the great idea of making the site in English so that foreigners could actually dispose of their waste properly.
So here it is, no need to further explain. Whatever you can’t trade, sell, refurbish, fix or giveaway and is larger than the bins provided for you at either your own trash receptacles or recycling points, you have to take it to the Abfallwirtschaftsbetrieb, short form, the dump.
They have extremely inflexible hours and often long cues, but luckily you can also call them to have a pickup arranged. Don’t expect them to speak English, because they most certainly will not, if you need help ask a friend, it is well worth not having to haul all of your items there and wait in line.
If you just want to thin your wardrobe and are looking to support a charity organization, the influx of refugees has caused an insatiable need of in season clothing. There are a lot of groups online who will be more than thrilled to receive any items.
Not only will you have done something good for the environment, your fellow man and your home, you will find it easier to stay organised with a less cluttered space.