As Americans begin to jump on the bandwagon to start seriously protecting the environment, green moving is emerging as one of the smartest new options available. At first blush, it seems like “eco-friendly” and “moving” should never be used in the same sentence, yet there are ways to make a move environmentally friendly. Whether one is moving across town or across the country, it is becoming easier to make a green move.
Green moving begins and ends with careful planning and attention to details. Here are our top ten tips for green moving.
1. Make plans that will ensure no heating or cooling of an empty house on either end of your move. Arrange with your realtor to ensure that the utilities in the new home will be transferred to your name (effective the day you move in) and that the heating/cooling system will be turned off by the builder or the previous owner or tenant. Turn off the heating/cooling system in the home you are leaving when the movers arrive. This avoids heating or cooling the outdoors. Also have your utilities switched out of your name effective the day you move out. This will also save money.
2. Check for water leaks and drips immediately upon arrival in the new home. You will probably note any drips or leaks when you inspect the new home, but it is always a smart idea to either have your realtor check prior to your arrival or for you to check immediately upon arrival. Make this part of your initial walk-through checklist and do the walk-through before the movers start unloading the truck. It will be easier, faster and more effective to check for problems in an empty house. Also flush all toilets and check all faucets for problems. Leaks, drips and running toilets can waste a huge amount of water over time and run up your water bill.
3. Choose a Green Mover. Spend time early in your planning researching the moving companies you are considering before you make a decision. Carefully review and make notes on the claims they make about green moving and ask questions about how they accomplish these goals. Choose a company that is as committed to eco-friendly moving as you are.
4. Lighten the load as much as possible before you start packing. Start packing as early as possible so you don’t come to the day before the move and just throw everything into a box without thinking. Mentally place your furniture and other possessions in your new home. If something is unnecessary or if you don’t know where you will put it, don’t take it. Go through all dresser drawers, kitchen and bathroom cabinets and closets to extract anything you don’t need or will not use in your new home. Sell or donate those items. The lighter the load, the smaller the truck needs to be. The smaller the truck and the lighter the load, the less fuel will be needed. This will also help to reduce the cost of your move.
5. Think green when you get moving containers. There are several ways to choose moving containers that are eco-friendly. Most of these options will also save you some money. Choose to use stackable plastic tubs. Although these are not yet readily available in all locations, check around and see if this is an option. If not, consider using previously used moving boxes or cartons. You can also use boxes you can obtain from local stores. Grocery and liquor stores are a good source. Then sell or recycle the boxes after you unpack.
6. Don’t use newspaper or other packing paper. Newspaper can be incredibly messy because the ink smudges and rubs off on your possessions. Buying packing paper is probably not necessary if you pack smart. Wrap your items in towels, washcloths, sheets, rugs, etc. Use divided liquor boxes for glasses, stemware, small fragile items, etc. Move large pictures by packing them tightly between mattress and box spring. Be creative in your packing and you will not need paper, you will save money, and you will move a smaller number of boxes.
7. Create you own alternatives to packing peanuts. Extremely valuable and fragile items can be safely packed in packing materials in parcels you receive. There are many other alternatives. For example, cut up egg cartons and use the pieces, some people use actual popped popcorn, or save grocery bags and fill them with air and tie them shut. Pillows are good filler materials when you pack.
8. Have your car loaded into the truck or towed by the truck on a long-distance move. This saves gas, especially if you need to reach your destination a day or more before the truck. Keep in mind that there are legal restrictions on the length of time movers can work without a break and on the number of hours they can drive without sleep.
9. Use an environmentally-friendly storage facility if your possessions will be stored by a moving company. This might be easier than you think at first. Many moving companies are making this the first step in going green. It also saves them a large amount of money.
10. Recycle packing materials after you unpack. Whether you buy or gather boxes for your move, keep in mind that most can be reused. Break them down and offer them for sale or give them away free to someone else who is moving. Plastic tubs will need to be returned.
These ten tips for green moving will help you protect the environment and save money on any move. By taking the time to consider every step of the move and every material used in packing, moving and unpacking, you can make a move that has minimal impact on the environment.