Moving is one of the most stressful life events a person can have, right behind bereavement, unemployment, new employment, and pregnancy. It is also very stressful to the environment. Requiring a plethora of boxes, tape, packing and packaging material, and transportation moving is a nasty slap in the face to mother earth. We are making the move from Spokane to Denver here in less than three weeks! I can’t believe it is all going by so fast! I feel so un-prepared!
As we are finishing up final touches on the house, sorting through all the crap we have thus far acquired in life, and trying to determine what to move, donate, or toss, I find my self being cheap. Thankfully this also is translating into being green! Here are some green moving tips I have come up with so far:
1. Use old recycled boxes. It seems like a no-brainer, why pay a moving company, u-haul or any one else to give you brand new manufactured boxes when there are so many perfectly good, once used boxes from super markets, grocery stores, electronic stores, whole foods, etc. that are just going to be tossed or recycled? As soon as we knew we had a move pending I started collecting boxes every time I went shopping, weather at a grocery stores, world market, electronic stores, book stores, etc. I just asked if they had any extra boxes I could take with me. This way I was not driving around using extra gas to get the boxes, I just collected them as I went.
Also, I went recycle dumpster diving. You can find a lot of great boxes and packing materials behind electronics stores! In more eco-friendly cities there are services that let you rent plastic bins that are made of recycled plastic and they just charge rent on the box by the week. This guy is in CA and has a great business http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-g8DYsVyu8. I wish we lived near and could utilize them! but alas, we are not.
Freecycle.org is also a great place to get used cardboard boxes and moving supplies. It is also a great way to reuse your boxes yet again once you are done with them!
I am using towels, sheets, and the plastic bags I have been keeping from grocery shopping (yeah I get plastic bags when I forget my cloth ones, no one is perfect!), to pack my fragile glass and dinner ware. This way we don’t have to get packing peanuts, and are not adding additional weight. We have to pack the towels anyway, why not utilize them!
2. Unload all your stuff that you don’t LOVE or NEED. I noticed that after only four years of living in this house we have loads of stuff that we have not even touched since our last move! These things are not coming with us to Denver. First of all, we are selling a nice big 2k square foot house and moving into a 2 bedroom apartment until we can find a house there, we have no where to put our stuff! Secondly, there is no need to pay the money to move stuff we have not used in years. Lastly, the extra gas it costs to move all that stuff is not worth it! Instead we are selling a lot of our stuff at yard sales, on craigslist, Mike has a lot of collectible books and gaming stuff we are selling on e-bay, I am selling some books on amazon.com, and what we can not sell will be donated to our local good will. This has the extra bonus of giving us some extra fundage.
Have electronics that you cant get rid of because they are old or don’t work? We have a portion in our basement committed to dead, outdated tech. Don’t toss them! Electronics have a lot of nasty chemicals that leach into the ground water, instead recycle them! Just google for an electronics re cycler in your area. http://www.earthworksrecycling.com/ is who we are using and they do a great job.
3. If you are selling a house you are probably doing some fixing up. Use recycled paint to repaint your house instead of new paint. It is less expensive and you are doing some good! You dont have the same color variety, but I find us choosing boring beiges to make the house more sell-able. This is perfect!
Also, we are doing finish work on the upstairs, so instead of going to a home store, we went to the habitat for humanity store and got new molding for the upstairs, and can lights lightly used or new left over from other projects for dirt cheap! Great deals! And you are recycling AND helping out a great cause.
4. When you move out you will be doing a lot of cleaning. Make sure you use eco-friendly, biodegradable cleaning products. I love the Melaleuca cleaning products, they work well, are non toxic, biodegradable, and smell great! There is also a lot to be said for good ole baking soda and vinegar.
5. You will be driving your car a lot, be sure to get a tune up and check your tire pressure to make sure you will be getting the best miles per gallon during your move!
I hope this helps. It is a little different from most other articles I have seen, but this is my outtake on things, not just a general list for every person. What are your green moving tips?