If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll know that I moved house recently. Moving is a BIG task that can come with a lot of waste, so that got me thinking: how can I have an eco-friendly move? I’m sharing some ideas here on how to move house sustainably.
5 Ways to Move House Sustainably
In my life I’ve moved a lot. There was a stretch of time where I moved on average once a year, so I’ve got a ton of practice with the whole moving thing. While moving can create waste, there are some ways to reduce that and move house sustainably.
Here are five ideas for a more eco-friendly move:
1. Find used boxes for packing
While there are places that sell new moving boxes, there are so many boxes out there in circulation already. Reusing an item is always a greener approach and an easy way to make your move more sustainable.
Where to find used boxes:
- Craigslist freebies, Kijiji or other resale sites for free boxes
- Buy Nothing Groups (Find your local one here)
- Facebook groups such as Ship Again Vancouver or your local Zero Waste page
- Stores–retail, fast food, grocery stores, or liquor stores are all great options
Helpful tip: Stores will often tell you what days they receive shipments so you can pick up boxes before they’re broken down. This will save you not only time, but also on the amount of tape needed.
Another option is to find alternatives to moving boxes. When I move, I always utilize things I have around the house to pack my belongings in.
Some green alternatives to moving boxes are:
- Plastic storage totes
- Large purses or travel bags
- Laundry baskets
2. Shipping and packing materials
Just like boxes, it is completely possible to find and use second hand shipping and packing materials. Whether it’s packing paper, bubble wrap, or something else to protect your valuables, reusing items is a great way to move house sustainably.
There are groups on Facebook and Instagram that are specifically for reusing shipping and packing materials. Our local one is called “Ship Again Vancouver,” but I’ve seen others mention groups near them around the world. It’s a great initiative to give these supplies new life and keep them from the landfill.
Where to find eco-friendly packing materials:
- Use newspapers and flyers
- Utilize your towels/blankets/sheets/other soft items to pack breakable items
- Look for groups like Ship Again Vancouver for second hand packing materials
- Craigslist freebies, Kijiji or other resale sites for free materials
- Ask in your Buy Nothing Group
3. Book the correct size moving van
This likely seems straightforward, but it can be easy to underestimate the amount of things we own. Booking a large enough van or truck will ensure you only have to do one trip between homes. Spending less time driving and burning gas will always be better for the environment.
4. Downsize your items
Moving is the main time that I realize just how much stuff I have. Sometimes it is overwhelming how much we can accumulate in our lives. With that, though, moving can also be a great motivation to declutter and downsize our belongings.
Downsizing belongings might sound like an odd thing to add to an eco-friendly moving list, but there are a few reasons why I have it on the list:
- Taking the time to intentionally declutter in advance instead of at the last minute, means that you can also take the time to find ways to responsibly dispose of your items.
- Having less items to pack, means using less resources–less tape, less boxes, less packing materials.
- If you downsize enough, you may be able to utilize a smaller moving vehicle.
- Letting go of items you don’t need can help bolster a sustainable mindset.
Once you take time to declutter, focus on finding responsible ways to dispose of them.
For some ways to dispose of your belongings, check out these posts for ideas:
Eco-Friendly Ways for Disposing your Unwanted Belongings
10 Unique Recycling Programs you Need to Know About
How to Sell Your Used Items Online
5. Plan ahead for new purchases
Even though I own a full apartment of stuff, I always seem to need to buy something when I move. Whether it’s a new shower curtain or toilet brush or a piece of furniture that better fits the new space, there are a number of things one might need to buy.
If you’re able to plan ahead, this will give you time to research the most sustainable options for your new purchases. This could mean finding a sustainable company to purchase your new product from or taking the time to source out a second hand option.
With my most recent move, I was needing to swap out some furniture for my new space. I started letting people know I was on the hunt for new-to-me furniture and was connected with a friend’s family member who was downsizing their home. It was the perfect situation for both of us! I was grateful that I had the time to look into second hand furniture instead of purchasing new.
How would you move house sustainably?
Have you ever though of how to have a sustainable move? We’d love to hear your thoughts on ways to make the task of moving more eco-friendly!