The average Chicago summer itinerary can be quite long for some. And somewhere between logging beach time and attending as many street fests as possible is the dreaded move to a new apartment.
U-Haul's, flatbeds, and borrowed Ford F-150's become a regular sight in the warmer months as they double-park and cram themselves down side streets. Some might even call it a summer tradition in Chicago.
Despite the many variables when it comes to moving, the biggest might be the constant flux of losing and gaining furniture. When room mates put their stuff together for one lease cycle and then separate, renters can find themselvs back at square one.
Again, you face a compromise. Not only must you decide which couch to keep--the more expensive one, or the one that had least amount of sex on it--but how to dispose of the one you don't want as well.
If you decide to toss away that crusty, frat'd out futon, then you've made the right decision. However, don't start to think a homeless person is going to praise the Good Lord you graciously plopped your couch behind Aldi's.
If you believe there remains some remote amount of value in your old couch, yet don't feel like bartering it for 200 one-dollar bills and complimentary lock-inspection on Craigslist, consider donating it. There are many resale furniture shops located throughout the city that will not only pick up your coffee table, but offer a tax deduction as well.
The Ark Thrift Shop at 1302 North Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park is one such shop.
Ina Winer, a cashier at The Ark, says they will pretty much take anything you have except for televisions and mattresses (there is aslo a VHS copy of "Demolition Man" for 50 cents, FYI). All you need to do is call to schedule a pickup, and they will do the rest--clean it up, slap a price tag on it, and give you a tax form to fill out.
Ina said depending on your accountant, you can usually get up to 25 percent of the original value deducted from your taxes. If the shop deems the furniture unsellable, they will break it down to dispose of properly, or give it away to someone more deserving than the 20-something dreadlocked vagabond in patched pants, who will move it in front of a Starbucks to chill and strum his guitar.
On the other hand, if you can't stand to look at your coffee table for one more second, the city of Chicago is nice enough to not ticket you for just tossing it to the curb. They do, however, ask for the small courtesy of calling ahead.
According to Anne Sheahan, Director of Public Affairs for the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation, "for large furniture or large amounts of garbage left as a result of a move, [we] ask that people contact their ward office who will notify us of the issue so that we can respond to the pick-up in a timely manner."
She also added that the department adds extra trucks to the university areas as they let out for the summer.
So while you can leave an Ashley Furniture graveyard in the alley behind your old apartment, consider donating it, or at least calling the sanitation department to pick it up. That way, it will either be disposed of properly (yay eco-friendly!) or donated/sold to a new, appreciative owner (yay humanity!).
Quinn Myers is a RedEye special contributor.