A sustainable (and sensible-ish) guide to moving out of your Selly gaff

Just because people are throwing out their old cowboy hats, doesn’t mean you need three!!!!

You move into your new home and for the next year, consistently cram your room and living area with seven woks (because a wise third year once told fresher you that literally any meal can be cheffed up in a wok), strings of flickering novelty fairy lights, because there’s only so much waking up to a bare, damp covered wall that you’re prepared to do, and countless drinking games that were enthusiastically played once before realising Ring of Fire is an undisputed classic for a reason. Then move-out day arrives and, in a clutter, crazed panic, you realise your accumulation of goods won’t shove into the boot of the family Citroen Picasso.

Annually, Tiverton’s front doors spill with a range of unwanted Tupperware (tomato sauce stains with a determination I could only dream of), Harrow’s doorsteps present meticulously balanced cardboard cutouts of Z-list celebrities that once made a living room a home, stretching all the way to the one-wheeled, clothing rail and discarded cupboard clad doorways of Katie Road. The rich tapestry of familiar scenes that connect all Selly streets year in, year out, where the Selly Express fails. Community spirit! Communism in action! Sustainable? Probably not.

In the space of a week, I accumulated three pink cowboy hats (remember Old McDonald that once had a farm? She grew up), a hateful, hateful little shelving unit that didn’t fit into my room, and a crate of beer that expired last year. Myself and my housemates became women obsessed with refreshing Fab and Fresh to grab the latest giveaways. Duck shaped watering can? Go on then. Oven tray with the McCains and chicken strips still on there? Okay, okay! Fine we’ll take it! However, moving-out season has generated masses of waste, from excess landfill, to litter being strewn across the street, creating a messy and unsustainable system.

Here’s how we as students can act more sustainably, environmentally friendly, and generally community minded during moving out:

Clothes swap

Clothes swaps are the best way to give your preloved garms a new home, whilst taking some new threads back for yourself. Instead of seeing your once-loved Joni jeans crunched up on the side of the bin-lined street, they could be re-homed and re-loved. There are many ways to get clothes swapping. Convenient apps such as Hazaar allow students to buy and sell clothes all without the extra financial and environmental cost of postage thanks to in-person exchanges. Alternatively, you can host your own clothes swap with mates or housemates. A couple of clothing rails (there’s loads selling on Fab), a speaker, mates and a few pieces each: day in sorted.

Ukranian Crisis Appeal

Donating good quality goods to Ukraine Crisis charities are one of the most worthwhile ways to directly help those most in need, whilst reducing waste and ensuring those who most need urgent supplies receive them. Several collection sites have been set up across local communities in the UK that collect key items such as bedding, toiletries, warm clothing, and medicine and deliver them to Ukrainian refugees. You can check your local news to find out where your closest drop-off point is, and which/if donations are still being collected.

Charity shops

Every Depop gal knows the thrill of raiding your local charity shop’ bargain bucket and finding hidden gems. Donating to charity shops is hassle-free and sustainable, knowing your donations will be reused, whilst giving to charity. Whether you donate to our local St Mary’s Hospice charity shop on Heeley Road, head to the many charity shops in Harborne, or go into central, you’re never too far from a shop who often takes the majority of donations including bric-a-brac, clothing, electronics, and even furniture.

Food banks

Food waste is one of the key problems when moving out. After all, it seems naff to trek heavy tins of untouched baked beans from door to door when I can just restock on my first Aldi shop of the new year, right? However, especially during the Cost of Living Crisis there are so many people living around us going hungry and who rely on food banks to put food on the table. The Life House food bank takes bookings for food donation drop-offs, as well as many supermarkets in Selly that have food donation points inside, such as Selly’s big Sainsburys.

Sell (you cheeky Capitalist)

If the promise of profit makes sustainability all that more attractive to you, then get selling! Set realistic prices, offer bundle deals and be open to offers and bartering. Set up that Vinted, eBay, Depop account (three types of people) and enjoy the glory of being able to finally buy a round without instantly Monzo requesting your mates.

Chances are, if you’re chucking away something that you once loved, there’s someone out there who will love it again (and yes, if you have any cowboy hats going, I will take them, I have no shame x).

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