Yes, it’s true. Pulling up stakes and moving is an awful lot of work. No matter how much you are looking forward to life in your new home, change is difficult and stressful. That doesn’t mean you should forget about your green goals, though. Minimizing the wear and tear on our planet when you move is really not so hard. Just follow some — or all — of these 10 tips for an eco-friendly move.
- Choose a green new home. There are so many environmentally friendly angles to focus on when selecting a new place to live. Perhaps you will look for a house or apartment with a high Walk Score, LEED-certified construction, or a place to share with roommates or other family members.
- Start early. Take plenty of time to decide which green elements are a must for you to include in your move. Then do your homework to discover how to achieve your aims.
- Declutter responsibly. Bringing along only what you really need/want will reduce the quantity of packing materials you require and the amount of fuel your transport vehicle will consume. Try to sell, donate, or recycle as much as you can. Fringe benefit: This way, you will also pay less for the reduced poundage if you’ll be using professional movers.
- Remember your furred and feathered friends, If you have been feeding the birds and squirrels in your current locale, don’t just stop abruptly. Find someone to take over for you when you’re going to move away in the wintertime.
- Use sustainable packing boxes. For a small local move, clean secondhand cartons from the nearby grocery or liquor store will be fine. Pass your containers on once you are settled in your new home sweet home. If you are planning a larger or long distance move, you’re likely to need a substantial number of uniformly sized containers. Rent from your moving company, if you’re using one, or a green packing company. We recommend sturdy crates manufactured from plastic bottles — which can be used and reused an amazing 400 times — and recycled packing and wrapping materials.
- Pad your fragile items with towels or sheets. This beats using and discarding newspaper or (shudder!) Styrofoam. Unpack with care.
- Minimize your carbon footprint when transporting your possessions.Though making multiple short hops to drop off stuff at your new place may be convenient, it sure does use a lot of gasoline. One trip in as small a truck as possible is much more efficient. When hiring a mover, look for one that practices environmental responsibility, such as working with trucks that run on biodiesel fuel, bicycles, or train transport for long distance moves.
- Pick green cleaning supplies. One of the many chores that moving brings is a ton of cleanup (often at both ends of the move). Even though you’ll be tired and stressed, take the time to use green cleaning supplies, such as vinegar and old rags, rather than paper towels and harmful chemical cleansers.
- Prep your new home the green way. Seal potential sources of air leakage (cracks around doors and windows, for example) and insulate (ductwork, attic, and crawlspace are excellent places to start). Both these simple home improvements will allow your heating and cooling system to work more efficiently. When you redecorate, choose low- to no-VOC latexto paint the walls.
- Don’t forget the furnishings. Shop charity stores and garage sales for home furnishings to reuse or repurpose. Should you plan to purchase new appliances like a washing machine or air conditioner, opt for Energy Star models.