Moving. It is an exciting time! It can also be stressful and wasteful. Between boxes, wrapping, and cleaning – it can be daunting. If you’re trying to move in a low-waste fashion, here are a few ideas to get you into your new place without a lot of trash.
Go Through Your Stuff – A month or more (preferably more) before the move, go through your clothes. Do you wear them? Do they fit? Are they worn out? If the items are in good shape, but you do not use them, sell or donate them. This also goes for shoes, furniture, and decorative items around your house.
Boxes – Before a move, I dumpster dive for packing materials. I start by going to my local liquor store and seeing if they have boxes I can use. They usually do. If not, there may be a specific dumpster just for cardboard nearby that you can rummage through.
For bigger or more fragile items, I suggest using reusable tote bins. These have made it through many a move with me and are still going strong. When I’m not using them to move, I use them to store out of season clothes or seasonal decorations. When I lived in a 400 square foot apartment I covered the bin with a cloth and used it as a coffee table.
Packing Materials – To reduce plastic waste, I wrap my plates, cups, and other fragile items in towels, blankets, and clothes. If you need more packing materials after this, try using newspaper or plastic bags you already have.
If you have boots, you can pack stuff in the tops of them to help them keep their shape during the move. Bonus, this also saves space. Use your common sense judgment here though. If you have gross work boots or your feet smell, this may not be the best idea.
Prepare a Moving Day Kit – My best friend gave me this idea years ago and it has been a lifesaver. When you start packing, make a box that you put aside for when you first get into your new place. Put a roll of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, a towel, medications, basically anything that you might need and wouldn’t want to have to search through all your boxes for.
About 2 weeks before the move, I would pack an overnight bag like I was going away for a week. That way, you don’t have to worry about having clothes to wear and you can pack the rest for the move.
Food - This is the hardest one for me. I always end up giving people some of my food or I pack it to go with me. Small side note: Have you seen the scene in Gilmore Girls where Rory and Paris are moving out of their apartment and Rory opens the door to an almost completely empty fridge with just enough milk for Paris to eat her moving day cereal? I have always aspired to get to that level of planning ahead. I have not gotten anywhere close.
Moving on, the point here is to eat down the amount of food you have in your fridge and pantry before moving day. This saves food from going bad during the move. It also saves space in the truck, and moving canned food is heavy.
During my last move, I ate microwave meals for the last 2 days we were there. Then on the way out of town, I treated myself to a meal at my favorite local restaurant on my way out of town so I didn’t have to worry about cleaning up the kitchen last minute.
Cleaning - This is honestly the step I hate most about moving. This is where you get to see all of the places the vacuum didn’t reach. I keep all of my cleaning supplies in a box under the sink all the time. That way it all stays together. It is one of the last things to get loaded onto the moving truck, so I have it when we get to the next location. Hey, you never know what you may have to clean when you get to your new living place.
Hiring Movers - If you hire movers, it is important to provide water and a bathroom for them. This may mean buying bottled water. Health and safety come before zero waste. I’ve seen a friend have a heat stroke during a move and it is no joke. Hydrate, please.
I hope you all found this information useful. Here’s to new adventures and moving into the future with less waste. Let me know if you have other ideas for reducing waste during the moving process!
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