Moving can be incredibly stressful, especially if you have a lot of stuff and have to do it in a short time span. It may seem impossible to consider the environment when you have a seemingly endless number of things to worry about. But if you know how much danger the planet is in right now due to unregulated carbon emissions, you know how important it is for each of us to do our part and stay green. So to help you accomplish this, here are five tips to make your upcoming move as sustainable as possible.
1. Donate Old Furniture and Mattresses
A key factor in moving sustainably is limiting the amount of stuff you bring to the new house. This limits the number of things that you need to fit into your moving truck, which can allow you to choose a smaller vehicle like a van, or simply increase fuel efficiency on the ride. So something to consider is furniture and mattress donations. Of course, you should only do this if your furniture and mattresses are old and worn out. The average lifespan of a couch is 15 years, for example, while one for a mattress is only 7. This is a much more sustainable option than throwing these things out, and now is a perfect time to do so.
2. Host a Yard Sale Before Moving
Unless you’re already a flawless minimalist, in which case moving would probably be super easy for you anyway, you have a fair amount of stuff. Maybe you’re downsizing, or maybe while preparing to move you realized that you don’t need a lot of your things anymore. Instead of throwing everything away and contributing to landfills, having a yard sale is a great way to easily get rid of everything that you don’t need. If you can’t sell everything after a day or two, list the rest on Facebook Marketplace for free and have the buyers pick them up.
3. Pack Breakables in T-Shirts
Instead of using bubble wrap for dishes and glassware, you can avoid using plastic while saving space at the same time by using clothes instead. Of course, any soft fabrics will do, like towels, curtains, or sheets. But a simple cotton T-shirt is perfect for wrapping most dishes.
If you have a lot of fragile things and run out of fabric, there are also biodegradable packing options that replace bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts.
4. Rent Moving Boxes or Use Pre-Used Cardboard Ones
Some cities have companies that offer to rent you moving boxes that are usually more durable than cardboard ones. Another option is to ask your friends if they have any boxes lying around or to go to the local supermarket and ask if they have boxes you can have. Usually, grocery stores will get dozens if not hundreds of cardboard boxes daily that they will just immediately throw out, so this is a great way to give them a second use.
5. Take One Trip
If you’re moving somewhere nearby, it can be tempting to just make several small trips. But over time, this can add up to release a lot of unnecessary carbon into the atmosphere. It’s best to organize your move just the same as if it were across the country. Put everything into one U-Haul, get a few friends and family members to come, and just get it all done in one day. Or you could hire a moving company that specializes in eco-friendly moves. They may bring all of their own reusable boxes and drive electric vehicles. It may not seem like the easiest way of doing things, but it is definitely better for the planet.
There are so many more ways to be sustainable when moving, like recycling, not buying anything until you’re sure you don’t already have it, planning ahead carefully so as to not be wasteful, etc. With mindfulness and organization, you are sure to have a smooth, eco-friendly move.
Author: Finnegan Pierson