It’s August! This is a big month for moving – primarily for college students, but also for people changing apartments or getting settled into new houses before school starts. Moving can be a chaotic and stressful time, and if you can reduce the stress for yourself and the environment, that’s a win-win!
- Pack it in! When using a rental truck to move all of that stuff, pack it to capacity. Have more space than you’re going to use? Find a buddy and team up. By splitting a big box truck you can save your own money on rental rates and gas, as well as reduce your carbon footprint. And as anybody who has ever packed a truck can tell you, the more stuff in there, the safer it is. Boxes can’t fall over if they’re packed in tight! Using your own vehicle to move? Same theory, different scale. You’d be amazed how much more stuff you can put in a car after you deem it “full.” (But make sure you leave some space to see out the rear view.)
- When packing breakables, instead of paper or plastic wrap you buy for that purpose (or paper towels like my mom used to do) use your already soft belongings as cushion. Slip glasses into tube socks. Put washcloths between plates. Wrap vases in t-shirts. If you do use paper, use old newspapers or something that would otherwise wind up in the recycle bin – and then put it there after you unpack!
- Don’t buy brand new moving boxes! Borrow from friends, or scavenge from your local liquor or grocery store. (A friend of mine who used to work at a pizza shop swore by the boxes that cheese was delivered in. Since cheese is heavy the boxes are smallish but incredibly strong and perfect for heavy stuff like books.) Have time to plan ahead? Start hoarding all of those StitchFix and Amazon Prime boxes that come right to your front door. And why stick to boxes? Use grocery or tote bags for light items.
- Speaking of recycling… don’t throw out any unwanted furniture or housewares. Just because something is “old” or you don’t like it anymore doesn’t mean it has no value. Don’t let that stuff wind up in the landfill. Have a tag sale or donate items to a charity that can use them. And don’t forget the power of social media – post giveaways on sites like Craigslist, Facebook, Letgo, Offerup, and Declutter. There are even organizations (like Arc’s Value Village) that will come pick things up!
- When all of your stuff is moved out and the “I gotta get my deposit back so this place needs to look good” cleaning is the only thing left on your to-do list, use green cleaning supplies. The environment and your nose will thank you. By now, your trash bin is probably very full, so use reusable towels and wash them later at your new place.
And the greenest thing you can do while moving… is not to move at all. Ask yourself – do I REALLY need to move? Or are there ways to refresh or reconfigure your current space to get more out of where you live now? Sometimes saving the money, time and stress of moving can be well worth the effort it takes to change up what you currently have – and can be a big help to your carbon footprint too.