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What you need to know about “Hippie Christmas” in Madison

It’s moving week in Madison. If you live on the isthmus, you know that Hippie Christmas is in full-swing. Help the Streets Division help you by adhering to this week’s guidelines.

furniture on a curb

Don’t be that guy. The City uses this photo as an example of what not to do. | Photo via City of Madison

It’s moving week in Madison, otherwise known as Hippie Christmas. Every year, roughly 35,000 off-campus housing leases end around August 15. Think: The entire population of Sun Prairie moving at once.

This makes for a weekend of overflowing dumpsters, crowded curbs, and a literal showcase of one man’s trash being another’s treasure.


Maybe your lease is up, or maybe this time of year just gets you in the cleaning spirit. Either way, here are some ground rules.

Most of your household electronics — TVs, computers, printers etc. — are banned from Wisconsin landfills. Instead of the curb, you’ll have to get these items to a drop-off site:

  • 402 South Point Rd.
  • 4602 Sycamore Ave.
  • 121 E. Olin Ave.

Large items Through Friday, August 18, the Streets Department will be making daily rounds collecting all curb trash, including large items. So if you live in the move-out area, no need to fill out a work order form for things like beds, dressers, or tables.

Pro tip: Even if you’re not moving, large items often require a fee to be collected. Take advantage of this week to get rid of any items that have overstayed their welcome in your home.

As long as your empty, flattened cardboard is not stopping your recycling bin from fully closing, you’re good to go. Any excess cardboard can be cut into three-ft. by three-ft. squares and should be bundled with string before setting out next to your bins. These bundles shouldn’t be taller than six inches.

fold cardboard, do not stack to overflow bin

Cardboard should not interfere with the lid closing.

Photos via City of Madison

Or treasure?

Are those college kids really throwing away that vintage caned armchair?! If you strike gold this moving season, these folks can help you breathe new life into your find.

Straight Thread | 1960 Atwood Ave., Madison
Staple and Stitch | 2711 Allen Blvd., Middleton
Mahon Antique Restoration | 901 Watson Ave., Madison
Papendieck’s Upholstery | 6621 Century Ave., Middleton