Kermit the Frog famously complains that “it’s not easy being green,” which leads us to believe that he’s probably no stranger to moving.
Most people – even those who dedicate their lives living in an environmentally sustainable way – sort of give themselves a pass when it comes to moving. Who can blame them? When most people imagine their moving day, they see their home cluttered with cardboard boxes – most of which will never be used again. Fortunately, as “greening” has become a priority in the lives of many (especially in the Bay Area), there are several ways that you can green your own move.
1. Find a green place to live – Solar panels, insulated windows and renewable building materials all help make a home more desirable for green minded people, but greenness doesn’t have to stop with the construction. Find a neighborhood that is bike and pedestrian friendly. If possible, choose one close to work. Even more ideally, telecommute. Grow a garden or buy locally whenever possible. The Bay Area prides itself in sustainable living communities.
2. Either hire a professional mover or rent a big enough truck – One of the biggest mistakes people make when moving is renting a truck that is not big enough for their home. Part of the job of a professional mover is to determine the size of the truck needed to avoid unnecessary trips back and forth. For families, two trucks are often required, but that is still preferable to multiple wasted return trips.
3. Move as little as possible – Earlier, I advised that trying to get rid of things before your move can be a waste of time, and for most people it is. Eliminating what might fit into a box or three is typically not worth the time dedicated to sorting, however, if you are able to significantly downsize (and not have to replace everything in your new home) then do it.
4. Try not to buy new furniture – When you move to a new home, you want it to feel new. Your old furniture might not be the best fit. The temptation is to buy new. Avoid it if possible. If you must go furniture shopping, try antique and even junk stores. There are thousands of books and YouTube videos dedicated to helping make old pieces of furniture look new and interesting.
5. Get reusable moving boxes – Moving typically requires a lot of cardboard and much of it is used only once. That doesn’t have to be the case. You can purchase used moving boxes, but there are risks involved. Bed bugs can live in cardboard and they can be difficult to remove without toxic insecticides. Some movers are turning to a cleaner alternative – reusable plastic cartons. They are cleaned out after every move and can be used over and over again. Some are even made of recycled plastic. If you are moving yourself, check into renting reusable cartons.
6. Use the right packing materials – Use paper instead of bubble wrap (paper conforms better to oddly shaped items anyway). To save even more, you can use kitchen linens and even bedsheets as packing material.
7. Once in your new home, recycle.