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.
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 Donnons.org. 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!