UW-Madison Campus Move Out Night August 14-15

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Summer in Madison is a glorious time of the year. There are fewer students ignoring traffic signals, the weather is wonderful, and stress levels are down. All is fine and dandy until the week of August 15th comes... 

Most downtown leases end August 14th and begin August 15th. The 24 hour vacancy gives landlords time to make small repairs, touch up paint, and clean carpets before new tenants move in. The problem is that this "day of homelessness" is an utter nightmare for a lot of students (and the families who were guilted into coming down to help their college kids). With nowhere to go, students will pack up all of their belongings and stash them in various locations over night whether it's in a U-Haul, a hotel room, or in parents trailers. There are also always a handful of students who camp out with their belongings outside their old homes and have an all night party with their former roommates in an effort to either save money or face the day as a challenge (which is all fun and games until it starts raining). 

Whether you are directly involved in the madness or not, it's still a week to keep in mind as you are planning. Here are a few tips for surviving the week

  1. If you are planning to move in or out of a house or apartment during that week, reserve your U-Haul or moving truck as far in advance as possible. Most trucks are rented out for that week by July!

  2. Avoid downtown if at all possible. Imagine hundreds of 19 year olds driving U-Hauls for the first time and having to parallel park...it's bad. It's very very bad. 

  3. If you need furniture and it isn't raining, scope out the curbs! People come from far and wide to take advantage of the treasure that college kids get rid of simply because they are unable to move it themselves or don't have room in their car. Be careful with couches and such but I have picked up some gems during "hobo Christmas" including lawn chairs, a kitchen table and chairs, a dresser, end tables, book shelf, TV stand, and multiple lamps. I'm not kidding- it's amazing. 

  4. The weeks leading up to move out are a hot time for Craigslist! Some of the wiser students realize that they don't want to leave mom and dad's old couch that cost them $400 on the curb so they throw them on craigslist in hopes of getting a bit of cash. Opting for craigslist helps to ensure that you aren't getting a bug-infested porch couch which is a nice piece of mind. 

  5. Count on the majority of downtown ordering pizza over the course of the week. If you're in the mood for pizza, opt for picking it up or plan for delivery to take an extra 45min. I made this mistake last year and probably wasn't the only hangry person that evening. ​

​If you're far enough away from downtown you might not notice much of a change, but if you decide to venture downtown for dinner or to take a stroll down State Street, I would recommend parking in a parking garage to avoid the occasional stray U-Haul.