Moving Green & Clean
Finding your next home can be an exciting time, if not a bit chaotic. New surroundings, communities, jobs, and other opportunities all promise challenges as well as a bit of adventure and a chance to rebuild much of your lifestyle from a clean slate. However, the actual move to your new home can be hard on the environment as well as your finances.
It takes a lot of fuel and packaging materials to moving your belongings, whether you’re traveling to the other side of town or across the country. While you have many convenient options available, these aren’t always the best choice. Here are some strategies for making your move as green as possible without spending a fortune.
Packing and Unpacking
Making a more sustainable move doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. There are some small steps you can take that will help you to minimize the environmental impact of your move. You can start by assessing your options for packaging materials. While most moving boxes are recyclable, it’s best to utilize existing containers within your home first. Before buying a stack of cardboard boxes, gather all your suitcases, reusable tote bags, and plastic bins and make a plan for which items could travel safely in each.
Tissue paper, bubble wrap, and styrofoam packing products can ensure your belongings don’t shift too much within their containers, but these also produce a lot of waste. Before investing in a lot of single-use items, try to utilize towels, pillows, and blankets to protect fragile items.
Inevitably, you’ll need to buy some of these items, but you can invest in environmentally friendly options. For example, there are packing peanuts made from grain products, some of which are biodegradable. However, packing paper may be your best option as this is easily recyclable. While you may be exhausted by the time you move everything into your new home, it’s important that you take the time to gather and set aside recyclable materials like paper and cardboard boxes.
Purge and Donate Unnecessary Items
As you pack, keep in mind that this is a great opportunity to make positive changes and take advantage of a fresh start. There are probably many things in your home that haven’t gotten as much use as you thought they might. Or perhaps you’re not sure these items will fit well within your new home. This could include things like clothing, appliances, electronics, furniture, knick-knacks, art, rugs, and other items.
Papers, files, and other records are often taken for granted before a move, yet these can use up limited packing space and weigh more than you’d expect. Unfortunately, stacks of paper also prove difficult to sort through, especially if you have a lot of other packing and arrangements to make. Rather than working to protect and ship a lot of files, consider scanning and uploading your records to a digital format when possible. This can help ensure your documents are organized and safe from any unexpected circumstances during shipping.
In the months before your move, pay attention to what you really want to bring with you and what could be left behind. Selling these items could potentially turn a profit and help offset your moving costs, though this might take considerable time and effort during an already hectic time. Instead, donating your unwanted items is an easy process and could benefit individuals and charitable organizations within your community.
While it can be difficult to let go of the things you’ve accumulated, it can also be a great relief to unburden yourself as you make this major change. By getting rid of things you don’t need, you won’t need to take up as much space in your vehicle, a moving truck, or a shipping container. This stands to greatly reduce what you’ll pay in shipping costs as well as lessen the amount of fuel needed to transport your belongings.
Moving to a new home forces you to shake up your life. Purging unnecessary items before the move can give you the momentum to embrace minimalist organizational habits in your new home. This can help you from filling your home with things you don’t really need, which will save you money over time and free up both physical and mental space for more meaningful experiences.
Shipping Your Belongings
Even with the best intentions, your move may still contribute to a significant amount of fuel consumption and pollution during shipping. However, it’s worth doing research into eco-friendly options. For example, you may be able to find a moving company that relies on biodiesel fuels. These fuels burn cleaner and because they are made from natural sources like animals fats and vegetable oils, they are non-toxic and biodegradable.
Some sustainable moving companies will provide you with reusable moving boxes and eco-friendly packing supplies. They may also collect, recycle, and reuse packing materials after delivery, giving you one less thing to think about during your move.
While many companies will offer to take care of the heavy lifting and transportation of your belongings, it’s important that you consider the environmental impact small decisions can make. Choosing alternative containers and recyclable packaging materials can greatly reduce the amount of waste produced during your move. Along with this, being realistic about which items you actually need to move to your new home will lower your shipping costs and reduce the amount of fuel needed to ship your belongings. By keeping these strategies in mind, you can minimize the environmental impacts of this next step in your life.