Emma Puftahl – Opinion Columnist
As we are nearing the end of the semester, it means it is the time of year where you curse yourself for having too much crap. As we all plan and coordinate when we are moving out, take the time to make a game plan for all of the things you don’t want or need anymore.
Yes, Gustavus gives us dumpsters to put all or our trash as well as excess furniture. Normally I would just recommend that everyone consider going dumpster diving before they leave campus, but with COVID, I’m not quite sure this is safe. Let’s talk about what we can do to keep our stuff out of landfills.
If you are reading this, you may still be on campus. Sit in your room and look around. There are definitely items that won’t be going home with you. I can’t be the only one thinking that just throwing it away is such a waste. That shirt, the storage box, the shampoo you used twice before hating the scent, the rug that won’t fit in the backseat of your car. These all have more life to them.
I know in years past, each floor would put the extra stuff not going home with the original owner in the community rooms. This is a great way to keep things out of landfills while maybe trading out the things you are leaving behind for something else or something better. This still works for the small stuff, assuming the community areas are open, but the bigger stuff needs a bit more planning.
I would highly suggest that everyone post their extra stuff to Facebook Marketplace or somewhere similar for free or next to free. If it’s something you planned on just throwing out, why not have it be available ‘first come, first serve’? Yes, a few extra bucks would be nice, but if the current plan is to just throw it away or leave it behind, offering it for free to whoever can come pick it up first will at least give a second life to the item.
I think most of us know that Goodwill is not a good company, but if it’s the only thrift store near you or the only one you know about, it is sufficient. But the good thing about this location is that there are thrift stores or second hand shops everywhere. Just put in ‘thrift stores’ on Google Maps, call ahead and see if they would be interested in what you have to offer and go drop it off (and maybe consider checking the dumpsters before going and bringing other people’s salvageable goods as well).
There are plenty of options of where to drop off items for each type of good. Animal shelters will take old blankets. Many women or homeless shelters would love that extra pair of shoes that were worn twice, or that shirt that never fit right that you bought for an interview. If your caf account has too much money left, buy items that could be donated to a local food shelf. There are plenty of places old items could go, we just have to be willing to put in a little time and research.
A great question might be “Emma, why don’t you just give us the name of places we can donate our goods?” I would love to help each individual do research on the best places to donate, but we may have different values and might disagree on the best ways to donate. There is no wrong way to donate goods. If items are getting a second chance, that is a major plus and makes a difference. I will publicly shame Goodwill’s business model, but there are other places that feel wrong to shame (i.e. The Salvation Army). There are pros and cons to every donation center, but putting in the thought about what you want for your goods once they are no longer yours is an important part of the process.
I hope that everyone will take a second to reflect on what they plan to get rid of as we all start to move out and reflect on what could make the largest positive impact. Don’t throw out your crap. To end on a very cheesy note, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”