Are you doing a house move in the near future? Maybe you’re headed back to school, or you’re buying a house. (Like me–can you tell what has been on my mind lately? :) )
If you are, here are a few common sense tips for making your move as green as possible:
1) Find boxes for moving at local stores or through acquaintances. Before plunking down good money for new boxes for moving that you’ll use only once, consider going to local stores and asking if they have spare boxes you could take off their hands. You might be pleasantly surprised.
I recently visited a nearby REI store and was amazed at the number of boxes they had stacked up just to throw out (and presumably recycle.) I walked away a winner, with my only limitation being my relatively small car so there were only so many boxes I could take. I’ve had similarly good results at Target and Williams-Sonoma.
The last time I moved I had the good luck of having a friend post on his blog that he had a ton of boxes available from a recent move of his own. Don’t forget to ask around–one of your friends might be moving and she might love to unload her boxes to you.
Getting boxes in this way is not only good for the environment, but also free!
2) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. There’s nothing like moving to reveal every last bit of clutter and unwanted items lurking in our closets and the other dark places in the house.
This is the time to develop a close relationship with your local Goodwill, other nearby charities, the Freecycle.org group in your area, and Craig’s List. Whether it be old clothing or a worn down sofa, there are people in need out there (especially in this terrible recession) who can make good use of things you no longer want or need. Anything you donate to Goodwill or other non profit organizations is also tax-deductible, making donations even more attractive.
If you find clutter that can’t be donated for some reason, then please recycle it properly. It could be old paint in the garage, motor oil you never disposed of, or wrapping paper you never got around to using. Whatever it is, find its proper home instead of throwing it away or damaging the environment through improper disposal. I’ve previously written about things you should always recycle and never throw away, which can serve as a guide to the most important things to recycle.
Not only is it environmentally friendly when you recycle or give unwanted things away, but you also end up not bringing lots of things you’ll never use to your shiny new home.
3) Go Paperless. As you turn off your current utilities and turn them on at the new place, you will usually be given the opportunity to sign up for paperless billing (especially if you sign up online.) Do it! The post office might hate you for lessening the mail you get, but forests will love you as you reduce demand for paper. You can view your bills online and set up automatic payments from your bank account. If you don’t feel comfortable with automatic payments, you can sign on at bill time and schedule one-time payments as you go. There is no need to mail the old stub-and-check anymore.
4) Minimize your trips. Whether it’s multiple trips to Goodwill or multiple trips in your moving truck, the more you do this the more gas you waste. Try to consolidate things and maximize the trips you do have to make. If you can make drop-off trips on your way to work, that’s great. Don’t underestimate the size of truck you’ll need so you can do the entire move in one haul.
5) Bonus Tip: compost cardboard and paper after you move. I forgot this one until after I’d posted, so it’s a bonus tip! Non-glossy paper and soft cardboard you use for your move can serve as “brown” material for your compost bin! Just break them down into small pieces so they don’t take forever to decompose.
A house move is stressful, but it doesn’t have to be hard on the environment if you follow a bit of green common sense.