The Important Stuff

The Important Stuff

By: Sarah Hanauer, Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale Coordinator

Growing up, I always felt a little deprived. All my friends bought their lunch from school every day, and my mom packed mine. Everyone had cable TV, complete with Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, and I had broadcast, which for a short time had One Saturday Morning. Kids got brand new clothes and backpacks before school started each year, and I had to use old clothes, hand me downs, the same old backpack. Even when I got my first apartment, I was sent with my twin sized bed from home instead of being allowed to buy a full sized bed.

When I was young, I was embarrassed that I didn’t have as much new stuff as my peers. It was cool to have stuff. My mom always said “it’s not necessary.” She was always right. I had more than I needed already. What I’ve come to realize is that the coolest thing is this:


The earth. The trees, water, sky, wind, and biodiversity around us that sustains us. It’s all we really have. It’s what gives us life, breath, and, yes, stuff. It is a necessity, if we humans are going to survive for many centuries to come, to take care of our environment. A big part of that is using less resources, aka stuff.

I came on to the Hoosier to Hoosier team in April. My mentors kept telling me how big the sale was, how much work it was, how much awesome stuff we collected that before the sale would have ended up in the landfill, a 55 mile trip from Bloomington. Even though I was prepared, I have still been blown away.

We have collected items from all the residence halls on IU’s campus, several campus apartments, and are just starting to get into the off campus pickups that will take up the rest of the summer until the sale. We have filled four and a half 40 foot semi trailers with the help of volunteers, who sort and pack all the items away as tight as they can.

We are on track to surpass last year’s record of 35 tons diverted from the landfill. This means we will likely raise a record amount of money for local nonprofits. However, that’s not the goal. The goal is to spread a culture of reuse and of wasting less. I’ve certainly realized through sorting donations that I don’t need as much as I thought, and with my own move-out date looming over me, becoming minimalist is becoming more and more attractive.

Next time you step out to purchase something, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is it necessary? Do I really need it?
  2. Can I borrow it from a friend or neighbor?
  3. Will I take it with me if I move?
  4. Can I find it used from Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or Craigslist?
  5. Do I have something else that can be repurposed in place of buying it new?

If you are moving into a new residence and need furniture or supplies, come to the Hoosier to Hoosier Sale on August 24 from 8am-3pm. This is a great time for incoming freshmen to get all their dorm supplies for a low price! You can also check out our Facebook, and Twitter for updates and check out our Pinterest for lots of reuse tips.

If you’re looking to donate items, email We will be collecting until August 17th. However, not every day is an H2H day, and there are tons of other ways to get rid of your stuff so someone else can use it! We also need volunteers, especially for August!

Follow this link for a document with many options for donating reusable items.

Through this internship, I am learning to thrive while living sustainably. It makes me feel good, makes me healthier, and will leave the earth in better shape for those who come after me. You have the power to do the same.


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