Moving house in France: 4 ways to get rid of your stuff

I moved about eight times in four years in France. You’d think it wouldn’t phase me anymore, but no. I hate moving. I dread moving. I hang onto stuff I should throw out and I throw out stuff I later regret. And I have no upper body strength, so I suck at the actual moving things part too.

(Remind me to tell you about that one time Hugo and I moved a convertible sofa, just the two of us. Actually, I’ll tell you now. It was really, really, really heavy, and there was no parking in front of our building. We had to park several blocks away and carry the damn couch. I literally howled all the way down the street. Hugo was super embarrassed.)

Anyway. Every time I have to transport all my stuff to a new abode, I just want to ditch all my worldly possessions and live an uber-minimalistic life like a hermit crab.

And in fact, for the most recent move (you know, the one to a different continent) we had to get rid of almost everything. Furniture, kitchenware, books, even some clothes. And we had to do it fast. It was not fun, but we did it. Here’s are some resources that helped us out:


If you live in France, you know what Leboncoin is. (If you don’t, it’s similar to Craigslist.) It’s great for selling furniture and other things, or for getting a bargain if you’re the one shopping.

Gibert Joseph

I found out in my last month in France that Gibert Joseph buys books and DVDs for cash! All you need is a photo ID. They won’t take everything (e.g. books in a foreign language) but I still walked out with almost 50 euros in cash.

When I need to get rid of furniture fast and no one is buying on Leboncoin, I swear by It has never failed me. Someone has always come to take away my stuff for free. One time, my roommate moved out but left a bunch of odds and ends that I had to get rid of, and I put them all in a garbage bag and called it a “surprise bag.” It was gone by the next day.


We donated most of our kitchenware, extra blankets, and clothes to ActForRef, an organization that gives aid to refugees. I can’t speak for other cities, but in Lyon, the volunteers who run it are absolutely fantastic – they actually came to our place to pick up everything we were donating, which was really helpful.

If there’s not an organization like this near you, you can still donate your things; we also donated things to Le Relais, which Shannon recommended when I was preparing to move, and if you still have stuff left over, you can always recycle.

If you have any other tips for moving house in France, please share in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Moving house in France: 4 ways to get rid of your stuff

  1. I’d be absolutely hopeless at hauling a couch down the street! It’s amazing how when it’s time to leave, you realise how much stuff you’ve accumulated. I was fairly disciplined, but leaflets and paper tickets are my weakness and I always end up with a carrier bag full of them… When I left Lyon, my little suitcase was so heavy that I could barely lift it into the overhead lockers – I was super relieved they hadn’t weighed my hand luggage as well as my hold luggage.

    1. I also accumulate leaflets and tickets from my travels, and they take up space but I can’t bear to let them go! I buy so little and still feel like I have way too much stuff, I don’t understand it! I want to be one of those people who gets rid of everything and lives out of a tiny home… but I would miss my scented candles. Guess I can’t have it both ways!

      1. I know the feeling! I hardly ever buy things for myself as I always end up talking myself out of it, but still seem to have enough stuff for two rooms crammed into one… (Heaven only knows what I’ll do with all that stuff when it eventually has to go from my parents’ house!) I’m sure there’d be room for scented candles in a tiny home 🙂 (Plus, no home today is ever going to be smaller than ‘The Smallest House in Great Britain’ in Conwy, and even that had a windowsill for a candle!)

  2. I’ve moved so many times in France as well. It’s always so stressful. This last time we had professional movers (yay jobs that pay for relocation!) and just had to pack and unpack boxes (which they provided), and while still stressful, not having to deal with moving large items or taking things apart was the best. Though I did have to deal with a week of having no furniture or appliances but a folding chair and air mattress.

    Someone recently recommended an app for giving items away in France, but I can’t remember the name. If I come across it, I’ll let you know, because it could be a great addition to this list!

    And another tip: If you need boxes, local shops or supermarkets will sometimes put aside boxes for you if you ask. Or go around on recycling pickup days. We did this outside the boutiques in Vieux Lille when we moved within the city. Didn’t pay a dime for cardboard boxes!

    1. Moving is the worst ever!! I think all the worst moments in my life have happened while moving. It must have been so nice to have movers for once, even if it mean a week of sleeping on an air mattress. Thanks for the tips! Great idea to go around to get boxes on recycling pickup days. The other thing that I sometimes forget until the last moment is to get a bunch of those free newspapers that they hand out in the morning by the metro for packing breakables.

    1. At least you always have somewhere to sit 🙂 It sounds like downsizing would be quite a trial! Thank you for the tip about Co-Recyclage! That looks very useful – wish I had heard of it sooner!

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