The idea of moving houses may be fun and exciting, but actually moving…not so much. There’s decluttering, cleaning, packing, protecting, donating, and oftentimes throwing stuff away. Moving is definitely on my list of “Avoid At All Costs”, yet somehow I’ve found myself moving twice in the past 4 months! With all of this moving, I’ve learned a few eco-friendly tips that will help you reduce waste and limit the amount of plastic you use.
Divide and Conquer
First things first, decide which items are going to your new place and which ones won’t be. When I pack, I make 4 piles: Keep, Sell, Donate, and Recycle. Be honest when sorting through your stuff; you don’t want to move clutter from one place to another! By breaking your stuff up into these different categories, you can prevent a lot of things from making their way to the landfill.
For the items I want to sell, I always go to Craigslist and to a local classifieds website first. Also, I’ve just recently discovered how great local garage sale groups can be on Facebook. I love all these options because you don’t have to worry about shipping! There are others out there, like Amazon, Let Go App, and Ebay but I’ve never tried them before. And don’t forget about nearby consignment stores! You won’t get much by selling to them but it’s better than nothing.
For everything that I can’t sell, I move it over to the Donate pile. This all goes to places like Goodwill and DI. Francine from Miss Minimalist has a great list of charities you can donate to, what they do and what they take. It is a great resource and I highly recommend you check it out!
With the items I have left that are not sellable or donate-able, I try and see what I can recycle. Earth 911 is THE best recycling resource I’ve been able to find. You can literally type in any item and it will pull up a list of companies that can recycle them.
Load Up the Bags
Instead of going straight for the cardboard boxes, load up your bags first! I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of sacks, reusable bags, duffle bags, suitcases, even baskets just sitting around, waiting to carry things from one place to another. They are the perfect moving companions and help reduce the amount of cardboard boxes you have to use. Yes, some may argue that cardboard boxes are recyclable and therefore eco-friendly, but I’ve come to learn that recycling isn’t the best way. You have to take into consideration the raw materials and energy it takes to create and recycle them. As other crunchy/granola/hippie people like me would say, reusing what we already have is better.
Tip: Place heavy items like books into a suitcase so you can roll them instead of carrying them, saving yourself (and your back!) a lot of trouble.
Choose Cloth, Not Plastic
Hands down, the kitchen is the worst place to pack up. You have plates, bowls, cups, pots, pans, casserole dishes, vases, etc., all of which can be breakable and awkward to pack. Bubble wrap is usually a go-to essential when packing such fragile things but because it is plastic, disposable (I don’t often see people reuse bubble wrap because of how bulky it is to store…), and wreaks havoc on the environment, I would stay away from it! Instead, use whatever cloth you have lying around, whether that be towels, rags, blankets, or sheets. These provide a nice cushion between your breakables, protecting them during your move. You have to pack all of those anyways, why not give them a better purpose in transit?
Once you’ve used all the bags you have at home already, try finding used cardboard boxes instead of buying brand new. You can look in your community on Freecycle to see if anyone local is giving away their cardboard boxes for free. Also, you can ask family, friends, and neighbors if they have any extra boxes lying around that they don’t mind you using.
What are some eco-friendly ways you pack up and move?