Largest-yet Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale Aug. 24 at new warehouse location

Aug. 15, 2013

It’s kind of Zen how each spring in Bloomington, the mass exodus of IU students leaves behind a seeming absence of space.

H2H sale lamps

This is the fourth Hoosier to Hoosier sale, a community-campus partnership that this year takes place at The Warehouse at 1525 S. Rogers. | Photo By Ric Cradick

There’s a sudden proliferation of parking spaces. There are shorter lines everywhere, no waits at restaurants, more breathing room at the gym. But the departing students leave a little something behind as well.

The students leaving IU’s 12 residence halls, for example, leave literally tons of stuff behind: Comforters. Lamps. Jackets. Desk organizers. Couches. Shower caddies. Paintings. Brand-new designer clothes with tags. Unworn shoes still in their boxes. Unexpected, random stuff, like a paint-by-number kit or a power saw, or that last load of dirty laundry they just didn’t get to.

All of the items are boxed at the end of April, stored for 30 days with each student’s name on them until they can be deemed unclaimed, then sorted in time for what has become an annual tradition: the Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale (H2H), this year taking place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 24 at a new location, The Warehouse at 1525 S. Rogers.

Hoosier to Hoosier is a partnership between Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County, the City of Bloomington, the IU Office of Sustainability and IU Residential Programs and Services, with support from off-campus housing sites and scores of volunteers.

Since its inception, H2H has diverted increasing tons of items from the landfill while raising money for the local nonprofits who organize the sale.

"Even though the Hoosier To Hoosier Community Sale is a new experience for incoming freshman, returning IU students are familiar with the sale and actually have it in their return to campus plans for furnishing their new digs," said Steve Akers, IU associate director of RPS-Environmental Operations. "It's also is an annual must-do for Bloomington residents who look forward to the sale with its variety of items and cheap prices."

Jacqui Bauer, sustainability coordinator for the City of Bloomington, said about 1,000 volunteer hours go into the collection and sorting of items for the sale, which began in 2010. The mission of H2H is threefold: to divert reusable items from the landfill; to prevent additional resource consumption by selling collected items; and to raise funds for local organizations that support sustainability efforts in Bloomington.

“If you walk in the warehouse now, you’ll see so many of those plastic boxes and drawers stacked up, it looks like Target in there,” said Bauer, two weeks before the sale. While the “left behind” items are interesting -- kind of like an archaeology of a person, Bauer said -- the amount of stuff left in rooms points to a lack of consciousness about what happens to the items after the students have no use for them.

The first year of the H2H sale, in 2010, 20 tons of waste materials were diverted from the landfill, with $10,469 raised for sustainability programs of the IU Office of Sustainability, the City of Bloomington and Habitat ReStore.

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Items are sorted by groups in preparation for the Hoosier to Hoosier sale, taking place Aug. 24. | Photo By Ric Cradick

In 2011, 27 tons of items went on to be reused instead of entering the landfill and $17,603.54 was raised; in 2012, 35 tons were diverted and $29,000 was raised. The 2013 sale is expected to break the records from last year’s totals.

"Our first priority is to save items from the landfill and put them back into reuse, but we are also anxious to sell all the items we have collected, so prices are set to sell," Akers said.

"That's why we recommend shoppers to come early as the amazing finds at inexpensive prices will go quick. It's well worth the $5 to enter when the doors open at 8 am through 9:30 a.m."

The H2H sale is complemented by the Annual Bloomington Resale Trail, seven reuse- and resale-themed events that take place on Aug. 24 to coordinate with a day of resale shopping at H2H.

  • IU Surplus Stores
  • Vintage Vogue
  • Unitarian Universalist Church
  • Near West Side Neighborhood Association
  • Habitat for Humanity Restore
  • Makevention

IU Surplus Stores participated in the Resale Trail for the first time last year, and sold $7,000 worth of stuff (compared with an average of $2,000 on a typical business day. In its first year of participation, Habitat ReStore made over $5,000 in a single day as part of the Resale Trail, compared with $1,500 to 1,700 on a usual business day.

Volunteers are still needed to help out, Bauer said. H2H volunteer opportunities can be found online.

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