Thursday, January 17, 2013

Getting Rid of Stuff in Germany

I envy my US family members.  When they have a bunch of crap they want to get rid of but not throw away, they can just put up ads, throw up a table outside, put the things they want to get rid of on the tables, and people will come buy or take it.  All in one job.  Anything left over can be donated to a place like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, who will take even decorations.  Anything they reject isn't much and can be tossed with minimal guilt.

I want so, so desperately to get rid of my things via yard/garage sale.  But, that's not something you do here.  As for donating things...they take clothes and shoes.  The rest, you seem to be on your own.  I've asked around, and it seems the only ways to get rid of things are a little tedious.  List them all on eBay or Amazon and spend your days making tiny appointments for pickup of small crap or buying and wrapping and mailing zillions of packages off.  It's so labor-intensive compared to just plopping it all on the sidewalk or dropping it all off in one place.

If it does come down to wasting it all in the trash, that's not so simple either, of course. You can't just put it all on the curb on trash day.  Toxic or large trash requires pickup by appointment or delivery to the junkyard by car.

I'm still researching options that aren't so nitty gritty, so one-item-at-a-time, so much Deutsch speaking and appointment making and Post using.  Wish me luck.  Because all the way in the back of my mind is going to be that easy, easy garage sale that I cannot hold, and that Goodwill that would have taken my unneeded headphones and pillows.  I think moving out of Germany is going to be a lot harder than moving in!


  1. In our town there's a Salvation-Army-type shop called "Kaufhaus mit Herz" run by the Arbeiterwohlfahrt (AWO) that accepts pretty much all donations. Maybe you've got something similar... might be called a Sozialkaufhaus or a Gemeinnützige Kaufhaus.

  2. Have you tried Freecycle? It runs over Yahoo Groups here and we got rid of a TON of stuff that way.

    If you live on a street with some decent foot traffic, you can also just put it in a box outside with a sign that says "Zum Mitnehmen" and the stuff will usually disappear pretty quickly.

    If it's books, CDs, games or cell phones, I recommend - they buy them back. There's also a site that purchases phones without chargers and that sort of thing, but I can remember the name at the moment.

    Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead

  3. Toytown, do a flea market, or post it on the Uni's electronic bulletin board?

  4. Awesome, thanks you guys!! :)
    I had thought of Freecycle but it still has the billions of tiny appointments possibility, but I guess it's hard to get around that. A flea market would get around it but would need to find transport and then hope we make the Pauschale and meter rent for space back. I totally want to do the Seattle-style free box on the street, but I since I never see that here I'd actually assumed it was illegal!! It's not?

  5. What we did, once we became desperate and had TONS of small stuff to get rid off, was to put a box on the curb, and write a sign "zu verschenken". It worked.
    But it would have been nice to get some few euros for all this stuff.
    Well... we are overseas now, so it worked..
    Good luck with your preparation

  6. Ebay's 'kleinanzeigen' is probably pretty reliable but potentially appt-ridden. Why not try posting a link to a webpage where you have pictures of all your stuff and advertise an open house day between certain hours for questions, pick up and payment? You could probably advertise that on a flyer in the grocery stores and all the local free papers. I say give the in-house yardsale idea a whirl. I've always thought I would try this if we decide to move (even within town, lol).

    If the fine for a yard sale or free bucket are anything like their speeding tickets, I'd say it'd be worth it, ha!

  7. When I left, I used for all the smaller things as it was free to list and people picked up locally. Also, if you have a notice board at work, that is often an option.

    Looking back, this was my move experience:

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  9. I did all of the ones listed above, including the blog link (which I also used to nachmiete my apartment). Of all, I found Toytown the leats useful, which surprised me. I dropped over 275 books in a box and was very happy with watching them go, as well as bunches of other things.I didn't have the time, energy, or desire to try to sell them ( and the offers were maybe a nickel each, as they were English books).
    I found the blog (which I linked to on TT, CL , kleinanzeigen and other sites- like my book club), the most useful way to put up and take down pix as items sold. It's still there if you want to take a look.
    Good luck!

  10. Look at what people on the nearby military base are doing - and if there is the Stars and Stripes newspaper by you, you might be able to put in an ad for free. I haven't researched it yet, but does Germany do Freecycle? How about posting on the local Craigslist? Or, you could always try Ramstein Yard Sales. If stuff is free/cheap people from that area might come out. Just some ideas :)


    I know it's not "right next door", but it's not _that_ far away.

    They're a Sozialkaufhaus, and you can donate everything there. Literally everything.

    Okay; except pet supplies, but it doesn't sound like you have any pets ;-)

  12. THANK you everyone, you have been a huge help!! <3

  13. I second the idea of using Freecycle. We have been off loading plenty of stuff on that as well. Some of our friends have also be using Although is like, you can say that it is going for free.

  14. This is what I worry about when I leave...what do I do with all of this??? I have had visitors want to leave things like their old towels at my place, and all I can think about is how will I ever get rid of them? I am WAY behind on blogs...congrats on the move!!!

  15. Are there lots of expats around? Our international school had classified ads. THe relocation company had classified ads. Toytowngermany has ads for your area. Try some of those resources.

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