Summer tends to be “moving season”, so we were grateful when FlatRate Moving sent us a few tips to make your move as sustainable as possible. We recently went through an office move and can attest to the stress it brings, but at least with these tips, you can know you’re doing your part for the planet as you relocate–whether moving across the street or across the country.
1. Mind Your Boxes. Of course, you can simply seek out cardboard boxes made out of recycled materials and you’re already doing the environment a favor, but be careful about sacrificing quality and make sure that the boxes are still sturdy enough to protect your belongings throughout the day.
2. Borrow, Share Or Reuse Your Packing Materials. Good boxes are meant to withstand a lot of moving – meaning they aren’t done after just one use. If you can, borrow packing materials from your friends, pick up used boxes from local stores or ask your moving company if they have an option to buy used boxes from them at a discounted rate. Move a lot? “Invest” in boxes and store them carefully for use later – saving you money while saving the environment.
3. Forego the Boxes Completely! No, you don’t have to carry items with your hands – but there are lots of third party options that allow you to rent plastic containers to pack and transport your belongings – eliminating the need for boxes at all. These plastic containers are used over and over, cleaned and returned to facilities, and are generally durable and safe for protecting your belongings. Just be careful not to over pack them – these containers are typically larger than your average book box and may end up difficult to move if you pack them full of heavy items.
4. You Don’t Have To Move It. It may sound obvious, but moving items you no longer want is neither eco-friendly nor community-friendly. Going through your items before moving to determine which items are worth keeping and which are not is a good way to cut down on the resources dedicated to your move. Not sure what to get rid of? Consider what will fit or be appropriate in your new home – some furniture you have may simply not fit in the new space or might be first on your list to replace after getting settled. If it won’t work in the new space, don’t waste resources (and money!) getting it there.
5. Donate, Sell And Give away. Not sure what to do with items you don’t want to move? If your unwanted items are gently used or new clothing, furniture, toys or books, consider donating them to charity, having a moving sale or giving them to friends, family, neighbors or local organizations. Daycare centers and preschools are especially good places to donate toys, books and clothing that your children may have outgrown.
6. Investigate Your Options. Not all moving companies are equally green. Shop around and discuss the eco-friendly features of the moving companies you are considering. Many moving companies will be able to explain the ways they promote environmentally friendly practices while also offering you options to improve your green move. They may have their own recycled boxes or plastic moving bins for you to borrow, have special green trucks or fuel-efficient vehicles, employ energy-saving best practices or other green measures. Make sure to ask whether these options have an additional financial costs.
7. Ask About Charitable Or Community Programs. Your moving company may have established relationships to help you donate items, sell furniture or otherwise “be green”. Make sure to ask who they work with since these organizations are likely already setup to help you distribute your unwanted goods easily, rent plastic containers are a favorable rate or borrow used packing materials.