A big hassle and expense of relocation is getting furniture and house hold furnishings. If you are arriving somewhere then you need lots of stuff. If you are leaving then it’s often a question what to do with the things you can’t take with you. Sometimes people think getting a furnished place is the answer for a limited stay and then they realize that the cost even for just a few months is often more than simply buying things and leaving them behind.
There are chains that specialize in such things like Möbel Rieger and the standard bearer Ikea. A difficulty in Stuttgart is that one has a choice of the Ikea near Lüdwigsburg or in Sindelfingen – both about 20 Km north and south of the city. One can get to them by public transportation but cannot take sizable furniture along. They have delivery but it usually cost 10 to 15%. Yet both tend to have good prices and quality.
Another phenomenon is Spermühl. This referrers on larger objects that are not allowed in the normal garbage containers. There are special recycling and disposal places where one can take such things but they are to be separated into different categories and one usually has to pay depending on volume and the type of material. There is also a city pick-up service in Stuttgart. Years ago, the pickups were done on a neighborhood basis. Everyone around put stuff out at the same time. This gave people a good opportunity to look through lots of things and often had a carnival atmosphere.
When foreigners hear of this they often respond with; “OMG I wouldn’t pick through the garbage”. But in Europe we tend to have much smaller living spaces than say in America. With less space for storage, a LOT of perfectly good furniture and household things simply get tossed. The system has now changed in Stuttgart although it’s used in other cities. Now, each household is allowed a limited volume of 2 pick-ups per year for general things like furniture, wood, metal objects. One registers online a pickup date from in front of your house. For the pickup crews they tend to organize the pickups in clusters. So one will see a number of piles of stuff within a few blocks but it’s no longer a whole neighborhood thing.
Of course a lot of stuff tossed is simply junk but undamaged stuff just gets compacted and recycled which is a waste. In America there are organizations like Goodwill that take donations and sell cheaply or donate to people in need. This is less common in Germany but it does exist. On the official Stuttgart website they list a couple of charity organizations that do this:
https://www.stuttgart.de/item/show/3058 … pt/138748?
And Sozialunternehmen Neue Arbeit gGmbH -
https://www.stuttgart.de/item/show/3058 … pt/139290?
There is also a special Stuttgart area website for people to list things they have to give away or conversely things they are looking for. Sales are not allowed on this site but one often needs to pickup things given on your own.
Their motto is give away instead of throw away.
This is a good solution for people who have objections to collecting things on the street. For others, just taking things from the Sperrmühl is preferable because it is anonymous. Paradoxically, some people will prefer to look at the occasional second hand shop than taking things off of the street – ignoring the reality that most of the things there were probably acquired in this manner by the shop owner.
One thing that is not supposed to get thrown out with the Sperrmühl street pickups is cloths. There are organizations and the occasional metal donation box set up for this. But inevitably one sees a lot of cloths tossed. Even when I don't want anything for myself, I sometimes stop at a pile of Sperrmühl and take the cloths along and donate them in the proper places rather than see them go to waste. Something to think about for the socially conscious.