Moving can bring about a whirlwind of conflicting emotions often felt concurrently, from excitement, disappointment, hope, dread, surprise, reassurance and everything in between. Moving day can seem far away, only to sneak up on you when the actual day arrives. But move you must, and move you will. With a little bit of organization and ingenuity, you can make your move an environmentally friendly one.

Purging Your Belongings Should Be One of Your First Priorities

As you go through your belongings and begin to pack, keep in mind the hierarchy of purging: Keep, Sell, Donate, Recycle. 

Only when you actually move do you realize how much stuff you actually have, so paring down to the essentials should be one of your first to-dos. And making a plan for those on the “Sell” and “Donate” lists can require a bit of patience and research. 

Purging early prevents our old friend Procrastination from showing up and ruining the party. Waiting until the end often means you’ll either move your unwanted belongings to your next place – only to deal with them then during the unpacking process – or you’ll end up making the last-minute decision to toss it all in a landfill because in a time-crunched panic, you had no other option.

Selling or Donating Furniture

If you have furniture you know you won’t be using at your new place, list it as soon as possible on a place like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or Nextdoor. This maximizes your window of opportunity to find prospective buyers and sell for the right price. And on moving day, cash in your hand is a lot easier to deal with than an armoire you don’t even want anymore. 

Selling or Donating Clothes

If you have clothes you know you don’t want but that are neither destroyed nor criminally outdated (though isn’t fashion in the eye of the beholder?), let others put them to use again and sell or donate them. Extending the lifespan of clothing reduces the environmental impact (after all, fast fashion and other textiles are among the leading producers of greenhouse gas). 

Be realistic and ask yourself what you truly need and use every day. Don’t move and store based on hopes and aspirations; keep them for reality and practicality. If 10 years down the road you find yourself recommitting to a bowling league, go ahead and buy a bowling ball at that time. It’s probably not worth continuing to lug around and store the hand-me-down your uncle. 

What to Do With E-Waste
New York is cracking down on e-waste. There is now a $100 fine for dumping electronics on the street, and there are eco-friendly ways to handle electronics you no longer want. For electronics you no longer want, there are a number of companies that will take them and recycle or reuse e-waste responsibly.

Tips for Moving Efficiently

If you can, try to give yourself a day (or at least a few hours) between moving your stuff out of your old place and when you give up your keys. This will give you time to clean or have the place cleaned. Cleaning as you pack also helps with efficiency (and sanity!).

Try your best to handle things once, don’t move them from one pile to another before being packed. Sometimes you need to be in a certain mood to pack certain things … Try to work with those moods. As long as you’re productive and stay within the timeframe you laid out, you’re good. 

And consider skipping that SoulCycle or H.I.I.T class at the gym. Instead, use your energy to empty out your entire closet into a pile for purging into those “Keep, Sell, Donate, Recycle” piles. Crank up the music and get aerobic with your wardrobe. That’s your warm-up! For your cardio, tackle packing up your kitchen!

Like most people, I start off packing with the best of intentions. But I have not once moved without compiling multiple boxes of nothing junk, most of which get shipped to my next place only to be later sorted many months later when I feel guilty and unproductive watching a movie on the couch. 

You’d think that it’d be easy to just sort through a single box of your own random objects in an evening and put the contents away. It isn’t because it’s mentally exhausting to invent places for – or make decisions about – so many different things. There is always one box, however, that really never gets sorted. Opened from time to time, its contents bring about a sigh and a sudden wave of exhaustion, and the box is closed and stored again. 

Try to Leave as Small a Footprint as Possible

Many things in this world you cannot change, but a number of little changes can add up to bigger changes for everyone.

Things You Can Do to Move Responsibly

  • Instead of buying cardboard boxes, you can rent plastic bins from companies who specialize in this sort of thing, or choose a moving company like Movers Not Shakers, who will include them free of charge with your move. But isn’t paper better for the environment, you ask? Well yes, it’s better than single-use plastic. But plastic that is able to be reused hundreds of times is far better than its equivalent in cardboard boxes.  
  • If you’re still getting your bills and bank statements in the mail, consider switching to paperless. Not only will you be able to access them anytime, anywhere, but you just saved a lot of paper as well as precious storage space. Instead, use that for your shoes or hummel collection.
  • Choose a green moving company that uses Biodiesel trucks. There’s no avoiding the fact that you need horsepower to get the job done. However, by making the transportation of your stuff as environmentally friendly as possible, you can further reduce your carbon footprint.  
  • Say no to bubble wrap. There are a plethora of environmentally friendly packing options literally right under your nose. Forgoing bubble wrap can actually save space and weight, maximizing your packing and reducing your waste to nearly zero. This packing supply requires no time or effort to acquire. It is … you guessed it, your own clothes, towels, sheets, and socks! If you must use disposable packing materials, choose ones that are paper-based or use old newspapers.  
  • When you change your address with USPS, deselect the box where it says “Select from our exclusive offers.”  You’ll likely get a packet of coupons in the mail anyway when you register a permanent move because the Post Office sells your address, but you’ll get less. For a more aggressive approach in reducing unwanted junk mail, check out this article.
  • When it’s time to clean up, use rags (or old t-shirts!) when you are cleaning. Not only will you have a lot less trash to clean up, rags are a purchase-once domestic accessory. They definitely beat getting down to the brown paper towel roll, consuming roll after roll until you’ve turned a one-eighth pound of dust into a full plastic bag of garbage headed for a landfill. Reusable rags take up a fraction of the space than do the necessary amount of paper towels to do the same job. 

Tips From the Pros

Look around you and imagine how the things that you have can help protect other things. Socks fit well in glassware. Protect your china with your sweaters. Stuff unfolded clothes inside corners, nooks and crannies. Use folded clothes between dishes: plate, shirt, plate, shirt. You get the picture.  Packing is like a game of Tetris using the objects you own. 

Tighter packing almost always means safer things. Rattling is usually a bad sign unless it’s your board game collection. This is also why thorough labeling is crucial, so you know which box or bin should rattle and which shouldn’t. Better packing means less breakage, less waste and overall an easier time for you and the planet. 

Basic Moving: The ‘Unavoidables’

  • You and your stuff need to get from your old to your new address. Unfortunately, teleportation is still in R&D, and walking would suck. 
  • Your stuff needs to be wrapped to protect it (hopefully your own stuff, as outlined above).
  • You need to change your address with USPS (It will cost you a whopping $1, so have your credit card handy).
  • If you have utilities and a bank account in your name, these will need to be changed as well.  
  • You need to return your old key and make sure that your new key works before you and your stuff arrive.  
  • The likelihood of needing some new furniture or storage solutions is high (whether you’re moving from large to small or small to large).

Relocation always creates some environmental waste, but by making a few small changes to how you do it, you can offset much of that and conscientious moving companies like Movers Not Shakers are the perfect solution to minimizing the environmental effects.

Call now to get a quote and talk to one of our green moving experts about how you can make this your greenest and most stress-free move yet.  

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With over 20 years and 20,000 moves under our belt, Movers, Not Shakers! makes your move stress-free.