It’s not hard to get people to unpack their feelings about moving. Consider this survey that found respondents get more stressed about moving than they do filing taxes or starting a new job. Never mind that almost a fifth said they would rather stare down a root canal than a moving van. Clearly, getting from Point A to Point B is never as simple and, well, straight-forward as it should be.
Yet that’s just what many of us will face in the coming weeks. Autumn, after all, is a time of transition as temperatures drop, daylight dwindles and winter looms. But whether you’re moving for a new job or leaving home to start school, there’s also no reason to leave the environment in the dust. While relocating can generate plenty of waste — from plastic wrap to heaps of trash — there are a few green moving tips and tricks you can unbox in time for the big move.
Rummage through your belongings
Before you begin packing, take a little detour and declutter. Go through your belongings and separate items you no longer need or want. You’ll lighten your load for the move and avoid transporting unnecessary items to your new abode. Looking for ways to get rid of clutter in your house? Host a pre-moving party and invite friends to “shop” from your forgotten treasures. You can also sell your stuff on online marketplaces or donate used items to local charities. Even dropping off a bag of belongings you think no one will want could be a treasure trove for someone else. So, don’t trash it, donate it!
Get secondhand packing essentials
As you pack for your green move, consider scavenging secondhand boxes and packing materials. Seek out used moving boxes from local businesses or check online marketplaces. Reusing boxes saves you money and reduces the demand for new cardboard, which means fewer trees are shredded for packing purposes. When wrapping up your valuables or breakables like picture frames and dishware, opt for eco-friendly packing materials. Use newspaper, towels, or other fabrics like clothing to protect your items during transport to their new home.
Instead of using plastic bubble wrap that clogs landfills and often contains toxic chemicals, wrap your fragile items in towels or clothing. Fill gaps in boxes with crumpled newspaper to avoid unnecessary bubble wrap. And remember to label boxes clearly to make unpacking a breeze — or at least less of a nightmare.
Embrace green cleaning on your way out
As you say farewell to your old home, embrace green cleaning for a sustainable departure. Use eco-friendly cleaning products or make your own using simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. You’ll leave your old home sparkling while reducing the harmful chemicals that often end up in our waterways.
We also recommend washing all your clothes and bedding with eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets before you depart to make unpacking and settling into your new home much less stressful. It’s like when you put fresh sheets on your bed just before going on a trip so that you can come home to a clean space and relax.
Rent eco-friendly transportation for the move
Did you know every mile driving a U-Haul emits 12 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions? If you’re moving a considerable distance, explore greener transportation options to reduce your carbon footprint. Consider renting a hybrid or electric moving truck or hiring a company that uses environmentally friendly vehicles.
Make fewer back-and-forth trips
Those carbon emissions add up. The more you can fit into your vehicle, the better. So, skip the small trips and consolidate everything into as few journeys as possible. This can cut your emissions, save time, and make unloading less hassle.
Recycle your moving supplies
After you’ve unboxed and settled in, don’t throw out all your packing materials. Just put your cardboard boxes on the curbside, where they’ll either get picked up by a recycling truck or a lucky pedestrian making a green move soon. Otherwise, you can post on your new city or town’s community marketplace (like Facebook Marketplace) and give away your used boxes and newspapers. It’s a great way to give perfectly good boxes a third — or even fourth — life.
Settle into your new home with a green outlook
As you enjoy your new space, continue making greener choices to live more sustainably. From cleaning house to choosing more eco-conscious products such as plant-based laundry detergent sheets, there are so many ways to incorporate sustainable living habits into your new routine in your new city or town.
So, don’t get too stressed if you move this autumn. Look at your fresh start as a chance to embrace pro-planet lifestyle habits — beginning with the journey to your new home.