Green Moving Tips: How To Find Reusable Packing Materials And Eco-Friendly Movers

How To Make Moving Day Eco-Friendly

Packing up and moving doesn’t seem so easy on the Earth, does it? I mean, think about it. You’re putting all your stuff in boxes, putting those boxes in a moving truck, driving it across town, or worse, across the country, and unpacking it again. And then you’re left with all that packing material. And let’s not forget the oodles of stuff you’re getting rid of before you even step foot out of your door — let’s hope it’s not going to the landfill.

So what’s a gal to do? Plenty, actually.

First, start early. If you know you’re moving in August, for example, start paring down in June. Don’t wait until mid-July to start packing. If you don’t leave yourself enough time, you end up throwing too much stuff out just because it’s easier. If you start early enough, you have time to figure out what can be recycled and where. For example, if you’ve got lots of shoes you no longer wear, you can donate them here. If you have an old printer sitting in your basement, you can drop it off at any Staples location and they’ll recycle it for you. (Same goes for pretty much any electronics item, by the way.) What about all that paperwork sitting at the top of your shelf in your closet? Shred anything sensitive and then recycle everything. What about all those odds and ends that end up in the trash on moving day? Set them aside early, hold a yard sale just before you leave, and arrange for a donation truck to come pick up whatever’s left at the end of the day. Of course, there’s always Craigslist, eBay, and Freecycle — all great resources for passing along your unwanted items to someone who can use them.

Also, instead of buying boxes, start collecting them up to six months before your move — from friends, from gifts you receive in the mail, online shopping, even from the grocery store. You can also ask your moving company if they will supply some moving boxes for you. Some companies will offer you used boxes and even take back your boxes when you’re done with your move so that someone else can use them. Bottom line: If you play your cards right, you should buy almost no new boxes.

Though it also pays to use nationally recognized moving companies because you’re getting a reliable product, it’s also better to use these companies because they often put three or four households on one truck at a time, saving gas. You can go one step further and look for a green moving company. What does that mean exactly? These moving companies will often use biodiesel instead of regular fuel, pack in recyclable plastic storage containers instead of cardboard, or provide a more Earth-friendly solution for fragile packing besides traditional foam packing peanuts (like this company’s solution — recocubes). You can find a green mover here.

Whatever you do, don’t make yourself crazy. Moving is stressful enough as it is without trying to make over the whole darn thing. Just do the best you can and don’t sweat the small stuff — after all, there’ll be plenty of sweating on moving day.

— Chanie

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