You’ve finally decided on your next home, but the biggest hurdle remains – getting all your belongings from here to there. With the average American throwing away 4.6 pounds of trash per day, it’s important to reconsider buying a bunch of filling peanuts just because it’s the traditional way to pack. Instead, try to incorporate an eco-friendly mindset to the moving process.
Being eco-friendly during your move is simpler than you might think, and it will ultimately save you a bunch of cash. Read on for seven tips to move to your new home without increasing your environmental footprint.
Use the KonMari Method
Popularized by the show “Tidying up with Mari Kondo,” the KonMari Method suggests that we limit our belongings only to those that spark joy. Before you even begin the packing process, take out bulk items like clothing, kitchenware, books, and other paper materials, and go through them one by one. Get rid of clothing you haven’t worn in a year, duplicate items, and anything else that feels unessential to your life. Go through the file cabinets or desks full of mail that you’ve been avoiding, and finally tackle decluttering your closet of shoes. When you’ve sorted out what you no longer need, gift it to someone else: friends, family, or your local Salvation Army or other donation sites.
Treat Garbage Responsibly
During the declutter process, you’ll likely encounter junk: the stuff that’s too broken, worn out, or old for anyone to possibly want. Rather than throwing away these items in the trash so that it ends up in a landfill, hire a professional company to go through your junk for you and sort out recyclables. Over 80% of items in landfills could have been recycled, and by calling in a professional, you’ll reduce waste overall.
Throughout the year, make sure to keep any box or container you accumulate. Unfold boxes and store them flat in a closet, under a bed, or behind furniture. By the time you’re ready to move, you hopefully will have a good number of boxes ready to re-tape and use to pack away your things.
If you don’t get boxes throughout the year, reach out to friends and family to ask if they have any boxes you could use. You can also reach out to local grocery stores, pharmacies, and wine stores to see if they have boxes leftover that they’d be willing to donate. Cardboard boxes only take up a little space while you’re storing them, but you elongate the lifespan of a box if you re-use it again as a moving box before it’s recycled.
Pack Smart Not Hard
Organizing your stuff is one of the most challenging aspects of the moving process. To simplify the difficulty, consider going room by room rather than tackling the entire home at once. Move from a room you use the least, such as an office space, and end with rooms you use most often, such as the bedroom or kitchen. Make sure to label each of your boxes as you pack to keep things tidy. Think about what you already own that can be used as a container, such as dresser drawers, tote bags, or purses, and utilize those items to store what you can.
Make sure to consider the eco-friendliness of your packing materials during this part of the process. When packing away valuables or breakables, utilize things you already own like towels, bedding, blankets, and even clothes, as packing protection rather than environmentally damaging bubble wrap. If what you own isn’t enough, borrow from friends, or consider buying a painter’s drop cloth that you can reuse in the future.
Save the Kitchen for Last
Although it might seem smart to pack away your utensils and dishware right away, in truth the kitchen is the last spot in your home you should pack up if you’re trying to be green. Without dishware, you’ll be forced to order takeout and/or use plastic eating-ware. If you absolutely must pack up your kitchen first, consider setting aside enough dishware to get you through your remaining days and save a box specially for those items.
Call an Eco-Friendly Moving Company
If all of this seems like a lot of work, consider bringing in professionals to handle the moving process for you. Green moving companies are often local, which means supporting the local economy, and they usually provide reusable plastic bins to pack up your belongings. They will also transport your belongings across town in a large truck, which means fewer trips in your overfull car and therefore fewer harmful emissions. Some green moving companies even offer eco-friendly storage options.
Spread the Love
After you’ve unpacked the last of your items into your brand-new space, you’ll need to rehome your moving materials. There’s no need to toss all your boxes in the recycling right away; if you acquired boxes and they’re still in good shape, consider paying it forward by seeing if anyone in your area needs them by posting on social media sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. They and the earth will thank you for it.