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sustainNU - Office of Sustainability

Move Out & Donating Reusables

Take it or Leave it Move out ProgramOn-campus donations

Every June, the Office of Sustainability offers the “Take it or Leave it” program. Boxes will be placed in the lobby/entry of each residential building to collect nonperishable food items, clothing, sheets, and small household items. Food will be donated to Campus Kitchens. Clothing and household items will be donated to local charities. If you see something you could use in the donation boxes, you are welcome to take it. One person’s trash is another’s treasure!

Every year, Take it or Leave it donates more than 10,000 lbs of reusables to charity. This program has been in existence since 1994. For information email NU Recycling or call 847-467-1374. 

Off-campus options

If you are looking to sell furniture or other larger items, consider selling or giving them away via CraigslistNU's Free and For Sale Facebook Group, or Evanston’s Freecycle Group. Some charity groups, such as the Brown Elephant, Salvation Army, and Amvets will pickup donations; be sure to schedule a pickup in advance.


Please remember to recycle cardboard, paper, plastic, cans, and glass when moving out. Check out the full list of what is recyclable on NU’s campus. If you live off campus, review Evanston’s recycling practices.

The Office of Sustainability collects and recycles computers, cell phones, televisions, media (CDs, tapes, etc.), microwaves, computer mice, keyboards, speakers, and printers throughout the year and have special locations during Take it or Leave it in the lobbies of Allison, Elder, Foster Walker, Sargent, 1835 Hinman, Engelhart, McManus, and Willard. For more information, contact Julie Cahillane.

The Office of Sustainability collects these materials throughout the year in more centralized collections as well.


Sell your textbooks back to Norris. Using your campus bookstore reduces the environmental impact by keeping books on campus and avoiding the need to ship them across the country for redistribution. 

Storing items over the summer

If you have items you want to keep but cannot take them home with you, consider Northwestern's student-run storage company, BoxCo.

Donating throughout the year

There are many options for donating items in the Evanston area. The Evanston YWCA has a list of donation drop boxes located throughout the community.

Charitable resale shops are another option, and some charitable organizations will make pickups for larger items:   

The SWANCC Green Pages Directory is another resource for donation, reuse, and recycling options.

Donating Northwestern University materials

Reusable Equipment, Electronics, or Furniture
The Surplus Property Exchange is an online bulletin board where NU departments can list useable surplus University property. If a significant quantity of furniture is being replaced/removed, please reach out at least a month in advance.

Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse
ERW accepts reclaimed building materials from deconstruction, renovation, and remodeling projects for resale at their warehouse.

When donating items be sure to have the receiver complete the NU Indemnification Agreement.