Thank you so much to my very kind Guest Blogger, Jessica, for this wonderful insight into Eco Friendly House Moves!
Read Part One (Getting Ready and Packing Up) below and you can find Part Two here.
Moving is daunting! I know for me it is one of the most stressful times, and I have done it a lot! My husband has been on active duty for 12 years! I have worked all over the place as well. After 10 moves in 10 years, I have moving down to a system, but it remains one of the most stressful times of life.
I find that in moments of frustration and total upheaval, many of the eco-friendly habits I work so hard to have, go out the window. I trade in doing what is right for what is convenient. But this happens when I don’t follow my own tips (which has not happened in at least the last 6 moves). Every move is different, some of you might be moving across the country while others are just moving across town. You will need a different plan for each move but here are my tips to make it as eco-friendly as possible.
GETTING READY TO MOVE
Plan, plan, plan: The first and most important thing you can do to make your move Eco-Friendly is to plan. Start planning the minute you know you are going to be moving. There are some important things to decide (movers vs no movers, container shipping, trailers, etc.), if your house feels overwhelming then its best to start early.
Organise: When you know a move is coming the best thing you can do is spend some time going through your whole house and organising. This gives you time to find out what you actually have. Decide what you can donate or sell and will prevent you from buying something you already have. This is also a great time to really inventory what you have so you can determine what you will need to move.
I like to put everything away. Like really away. My home is generally more organised before I move out than when I move in. I like to get all the like items together. This will help you later. I make sure all the tools make it back to the toolbox, all my kid’s stuff is away, and all the cleaning supplies are in one spot.
This is when I send stuff to the thrift store or resell stuff. This is also when I find all the pieces that are missing toys and puzzles. I find that if I do not do this, it happens in the move in time and that is the worst!
Keep out the things that you need: I have used movers many times so this is important if you are having anyone help you pack. Pick a room in your house that no one is allowed to pack. Move the stuff you don’t want to be packed into that room. Include anything that is important to you (documents, jewelry, etc). Also, include the things you will need right when you move in or as you walk out of the house. (See pack a picnic below.) One of the things that happen when moving is that people rebuy things that they already have because they get packed up. Don’t do this! Make a plan.
Meal plan leading up to your move: Food waste is another place that moving is really not eco-friendly. Shop what you have in your cabinets and make a meal plan. Eat what you have so that you are not buying stuff you will throw out or tons of fast food.
Packing is the most stressful and time-consuming part of moving. If you can, take your time to do it, but we all know in the end you are hustling and doing a lot of work.
Keep a ledger and mark your boxes: When you are packing, number your boxes or label them and keep a master sheet! This will help you unpack, make sure no boxes are missing, and help you find what you need. Again, we don’t want to buy things we already have.
Keep your reusable storage: In that inventory you just did, how many reusable boxes or totes do you have? I have moved so many times that I invested in some and they all hang out together between moves. I have some that are plastic with the lids. I also have fabric ones that are collapsible for clothing and bedding. I know that the material is not eco-friendly (I hate plastic). These totes can help you be less wasteful long term. If you are doing a cross country move plastic totes mean worrying less about temperature fluctuation and moisture. If you are using a moving company this is really important! Sometimes your moving company will have more than one household on the truck, they load rain or shine. Mold is real!! And mold loves your clothing and those cardboard boxes!
Recyclable storage: If you do not have any reusable totes or you move once every 20 years or so, check Facebook or other websites for second-hand boxes and paper, then recycle it! There are always people who just moved and have all the boxes and packing paper that they used available (normally for free) if you are willing to come and pick it up. Boxes at U-Haul are expensive, this will save you money and is better for the environment.
Use eco-friendly packing tape: This means a paper-based tape. There is no perfect tape solution, but some are better than others. You can skip the applicator and use scissors. Any hardware store will carry this type of tape. Additionally, if you cannot find this tape remove as much of the tape as possible from the box before you recycle it.
Rent those packing blankets: If you are worried about your furniture you can tape those packing blankets around your furniture. I watched in horror as movers wrapped my couch in plastic wrap. I get it, it protects it and you know moisture, but packing blankets are great for your larger items.
Use what you have to pack your boxes: e.g. blankets, clothing, towels. Skip the packing peanuts, sometimes the packing paper, or whatever else. You have a house full of soft items. You can use socks and leggings to pack steam ware. Use dish towels for other fragile items, or blankets or towels. You can make it work!
Scan and shred instead of packing documents: If you can scan documents and then shred them do it. You can use the shredded paper to pack with and you will lighten your weight by not having to move heavy boxes.