5 Tips for a Greener Move: Save Money and Lower Your Environmental Footprint

January 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Eco-Friendly, Front Page, Green Living, Homes, Slideshow, Sustainability, Tips

You don't have to sacrifice your environmentally friendly values just because you're moving. Photo: © auremar - Fotolia.com

You don’t have to sacrifice your environmentally friendly values just because you’re moving. Photo: © auremar – Fotolia.com

From Styrofoam packing peanuts to gasoline-guzzling moving trucks, maintaining your well-honed green lifestyle on moving day can seem impossible. Yet, keeping your move sustainable and inexpensive doesn’t have to be such a challenge. With a little strategic planning ahead of time, these five tips can make moving affordable and eco-friendly.

1. Pare Down

The less your mover has to transport, the fewer resources required, and the greener and cheaper your move will be. It’s really that simple. Take a good look at all of those “must-have” items stuffed in closets, under beds and into crawlspaces. Clear out any unnecessary belongings before you pack. (Here’s a hint: If you’ve forgotten they’re there, you probably don’t need them).

Arrange a garage sale individually or with neighbors and recycle or donate the leftovers. Another good strategy is to list all of the items in a Google Drive spreadsheet and invite nearby friends and acquaintances to claim items. Or, simply post your items to Craigslist, eBay or Facebook Marketplace. These options create cash and limit the total number of items you’ll have to move. The less there is to move, the less it costs.

2. Collect Boxes

Start collecting boxes as soon as you schedule your move. Did your office make a supply order recently? Did an online package arrive? Tuck these boxes away for later, and avoid the cost of buying brand-new boxes. If you’ll need more boxes, head to the local grocery or department store to ask if they have any extras lying around. Stores often give packing boxes away for free.

If friends have recently moved, ask to borrow or keep their boxes. Or, post a request on Freecycle. Recycled boxes are also only a quick Google search away, as are moving box exchanges, and many moving companies have used boxes available for rent.

3. Avoid Bubble Wrap

Of course, it’s important to keep that favorite lamp from shattering, but plastic bubble wrap is just not worth the environmental cost; it’s not accepted for recycling in many locations. It may take a little bit more labor and care, but wrapping with newspaper should keep most of your fragile items safe, especially if you pad the boxes with pillows, sheets, or clothing. Even stuffed animals can make great shock absorbers. Just be careful that the newsprint doesn’t rub off and stain your fabric goods.

Packing and padding with household goods works best when you’re planning to move your items in a car or other personal vehicle. Items in a moving van don’t get the benefit of the same shock absorbers you do; they’ll need more packing care. Be sure to consult with your moving company to get their packing advice.

4. Find a Green Moving Company

With gas prices so high, many moving companies combine several households in a single truck, which has the added benefit of concentrating a move’s carbon footprint into one big haul. Be sure to research green moving companies online to confirm their claims, as “green” is just as often a marketing ploy as it is a real sign of sustainability. Truly green companies will use biodiesel, provide reusable plastic packing bins, and potentially even offer carbon dioxide offset credit payment plans.

If you don’t mind doing the move yourself, you can potentially save a lot 0f money. Opt for the smallest truck possible and try to stick to the fewest number of back-and-forth trips.

5. Clean with Environmentally Friendly Products

To clean your apartment for the last time or make that new home spic and span, stick to environmentally friendly cleaning products. Even general grocery stores tend to carry green products. Go a step further by cleaning just about everything with that vinegar in your cupboard. Remember to use washable rags rather than throwaway paper towels whenever possible.

From die-hard greenies to the casual environmentalist, there are plenty of ways to make the next move green. Keep in mind that green moving is only half the equation. Make sure your new home is environmentally friendly, too. Start by browsing online property search tools for eco-friendly homes in the area, to live the green lifestyle before, during, and after your move.

Tali Wee

Guest Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

About the Author

Tali Wee currently lives in Seattle, where she handles the Miami community outreach for Zillow. She is captivated by, and appreciates, everything real-estate related. Tali is also a new homeowner and enjoys spending time on projects around the house.

All photos via Shutterstock

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