Essential Green Packing Tips for Your Next Move
Packing and moving can be a crazy, chaotic and stressful time. With so many things to do, it can be easy to just opt for the simplest and most expedient options. In many cases, however, the simplest and most expedient options can also be both the worst for the planet and the most expensive. While going green sometimes takes a little bit of extra effort, it can also save you a great deal of money. Moving can already be prohibitively expensive on its own, not to mention potentially creating an enormous amount of waste. For your next move, here are 6 essential green packing tips to help you save money and the home we all live on.
1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Whenever we are in a hurry, we are more likely to make poor choices. This is true of food choices, on-the-job decisions and even common moving mistakes. All of your good intentions will go right out the window if you procrastinate and wait until the last minute to either plan or pack for your move. The best chance you have of making good choices is by giving yourself plenty of time to make them.
The less you have to pack, the fewer materials you will use doing it. The fewer things you need to move, the smaller the vehicle you will need to move them in. The smaller the vehicle, the less fossil fuels you will consume. In addition, the less you have to move, the less you spend doing so.
There is possibly no greener thing you can do than to simply move the fewest amount of things possible. In addition, when you see all the things you have to pack and move or get rid of, it might encourage you to accumulate less once you are in your new home. The less you accumulate, the less you have to pack, move or get rid of the next time you move.
3. Use Recycled Boxes and Packing Materials
There is no question that one of the easiest ways to get packing supplies is to simply run to the nearest packing store and pick up a few dozen boxes, and some packing materials. Not only can that get prohibitively expensive, however, but it will generate a great deal of waste. Yes, you can always offer up your boxes to someone else once you move, but you can go one step further by collecting used boxes in the first place.
Liquor stores are one great place to find used boxes, but grocery stores, Craigslist and even your own office are others. As an added bonus, many of the recycled boxes you get may actually have been used to ship items and may come with packing materials already in them.
Not only does collecting boxes help save money and the planet, but it will also give you a far greater variety of options to choose from when packing. Buying giant moving boxes can seem like a great idea at first since you can pack more into them and use fewer boxes. On moving day, however, people often find out the hard way why this is such a bad idea.
Not only are large boxes hard to carry, but they are hard on knees, joints and backs. While dollies can help ease the burden considerably, dollies are also generally only able to carry heavy boxes a certain amount of the way before you have to do the rest yourself.
4. Use What You Already Have For Packing Materials
You have to move your sheets, towels, bath mats and t-shirts anyway, so why not use them as packing materials? Not only can using your linens and clothing as packing materials cut down on waste, but it will also cut down on the number of boxes you need to pack and the materials you need to move in the first place.
Instead of having 5 boxes of dishes and a box of t-shirts you need to move, you can just use the t-shirts to pack the dishes and then that’s one less box you have to use, pack, move or recycle. Socks make excellent wrappers for delicate stemware or as a cushion between dishes to keep them from cracking or chipping.
Clothing is also not the only thing that makes excellent packing materials. Bags of noodles or rice, flour and other foods can also provide excellent cushioning for fragile items. Here are some other ways to use the things you need to move anyway as packing materials. If you absolutely must purchase packing materials such as styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap, try and at least purchase green materials made of recycled products.
5. Pack The Items You Will Need First Last and In Clear Bins
Let’s face it, a lot of the waste that is created when moving comes from all of the temporary items we use while regular items are packed away. From disposable toothbrushes and travel sized items to paper plates, cups, napkins and plastic cutlery, just packing your household items away can create waste.
You can significantly cut down on this waste by packing away the things you use the most last and packing them in clear bins. By packing them in clear bins, you will be able to find them immediately once you arrive in your new location. The faster you get the things unpacked that you use the most, the less waste you will create in between. In addition, the clear bins can be used to store away items in your new home, rather than thrown away or have to be recycled.
6. Make As Few Trips As Possible
Obviously, if you are moving across the country, you will most likely only be making one trip. If you are moving across town or nearby, however, it can be tempting to make several trips where you only take a few things at a time. This might be because you need to clean first or want to get children’s rooms set up first or are just going to meet repairmen or cable installers or other workers doing work on your new home.
Ultimately, all of these “quick” trips can add up to a lot of gas and a lot of burned fossil fuels. While it may be inconvenient to take a full load of items with you every time you need to make a visit to your new house, it will cut down significantly on waste and wasted trips. In fact, if you take a single, full load every time you need to make a visit to your new house, you may find moving day itself to be surprisingly short.
Similarly, on moving day, it can seem more convenient to take one load of large items and then several loads of smaller items. In fact, you will save far more by getting a larger truck and making one trip than using a smaller truck and making several trips. Since moving trucks generally charge you mileage as well, this can also skyrocket the price of your move. One way to avoid this is to simply plan a short move the same way you would if you were moving across the country.