Thursday, July 30, 2009

Almost Moving Day

The end of the lease year is an event in Iowa City. This is the time when a great portion of the town has to move...move to a bigger place, a smaller place, a place closer to campus, or just plain move away. It's the best organized chaos of the summer.
I have moved 7 times in the 10 years I have lived in Iowa City and I have relished the years when I have been able to stay put. Moving day is anytime between July 29th and August 1st which means that the heat and humidity are near unbearable even when you're not carrying a sofa up and down 3 flights of stairs. Movers are usually seen armed with gatorade and brow-rags for wiping themselves down between loads. For many of these tenants, there is a gap between the time the old lease ends and the new one begins. This is good news for the storage unit businesses in the area, but they're about the only ones. For those of us that are homeless for 2-3 days out of the year, it's a huge problem. It means either renting a u-haul for the entire time (if you planned early enough to have gotten a u-haul reservation) which is pricey or to store all your stuff somewhere and crash someone's couch for a few days. All the way around it is a huge pain in the booty that there is, apparently, no better solution for...

Moving day(s) also means that the city is a giant swap meet for unwanted and discarded items. You can drive up and down the blocks and find displays of furniture and household items on front lawns with notes saying "FREE- PLEASE TAKE" If you're one of the lucky ones, you might just find a treasure. Several years ago I picked up a near mint club chair up off the curb and loved it for two years until I had to move again and leave it on the curb for the next person. Doug and I also found a perfect steel bookshelf for our friends who, at the time, were in need of one. It's not always trash, although there is a great deal of that, too.

I was riding my bike home down Dubuque Street a couple days ago and saw one of the above-mentioned junk piles waiting to be scooped up by our reliable trash collectors. It makes me very sad to think about where all this stuff ends up and if any of it could have instead been donated or reconstructed or even recycled.

Another common sight in Iowa City these days is the FOR RENT sign. You'll find them stuck in front lawns, stapled to posts and on bulletin boards everywhere. I remember what it's like to write down 15 phone numbers a day and then make calls only to discover the place is too expensive, too dumpy or doesn't allow pets. (Iowa City landlords could do more to cater to responsible pet owners in Iowa City.....this has been my biggest frustration for the better part of the last decade.)

If you're living in Iowa City and you have reusable items that you'd like to donate instead of throwing them away, click the title of this blog for information on how to donate to Rummage in the Ramp, going on until August 1st. (They will have volunteers pick your stuff up so there's no excuse not to donate that chair that doesn't fit in your car!)

Also check out This is a great site designed to hook up people seeking things/getting rid of things so that all these things don't end up in landfills. Look up your city's message board and see if anyone is in need of the things in your garage that you no longer need. In fact, I am going to go check them out right now. You should too.



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