For those of you who don't know, I am a military spouse. With this comes lots of moving. Three times in our first three years of marriage, precisely. This time around we are moving Internationally.
Moving can create A LOT of waste; whether it is from using all disposable items, because everything else is packed, or finally digging through your junk drawer and realizing you have 100 keys and you don't know what they go to. The biggest tip to planning and executing a more sustainable moving process is PLANNING! The earlier you start thinking through, organizing and planning donations the better it will be in the long run. If you wait until you are actually in the middle of the move, chances are you are scatter brained and fatigued and are less likely to make a more conscious choice.
I have separated my tips into two sections. The first includes all tips about actually packing your items and the moving time-frame that my husband and I call "camping mode."
Packing & Moving:
SHIP SHAP SHAPE
Save one pan, one spatula, one pot, a couple of each table ware item and use your kitchen towels as padding when you pack them up. Then ship them out on your way out of town. You can ship them to someone else's address in the location you are headed to if you know someone there already, or to a family member so they can send them once you have obtained a new address.
2. THAT'S A WRAP
Speaking of wrapping, instead of using plastic wrap or bubble wrap, try using magazine pages, newspapers, towels and linens to wrap up your valuables when you can. If you are SUPER dedicated you can grab GreenWrap, it is a biodegradable alternative to bubble wrap (Greenwrap).
If you have to use disposable goods, I HIGHLY recommend the brand Repurpose Compostables. Military gals, I found plates and bowls at the commissary. For non-military, you can find the brand at most Targets & Walmarts.
4. CUTE THE CUTLERY
As for utensils, using camping cutlery is the best decision we have ever made! It is so easy to pack in our checked baggage if we are flying for our move, and works well for the road if we are driving. We got our's at Dick's Sporting Goods.
5. RENT REUSABLE MOVING BOXES
Most of the time, the military hires movers to pack our homes which means I don't get a say on what kind of boxes can be used. For partial moves or fully moving yourself, you can rent reusable moving boxes! Here are a couple I would recommend:
Not only does this help eliminate box waste, but also tape waste. Each year we use roughly 30 million rolls of tape and 900 million cardboard boxes (Ocampo, 2020). Tape is NOT biodegradable and sits in landfills when you are all unpacked. By using reusable bins, no tape is required thus leaving less waste behind.
6. DOUBLE BAG IT
Tip, hang a trash bag & a recycling bag on the door in each room as you go through it. When you are done with the recycling bag, dump it's contents into the recycling bin. Items do not recycle if they are held in a bag, they must be loose. This really helped me not to landfill items that are easily recyclable. Ready our "Guide to Recycling" post for help on what is recyclable.
SCRUBBA - DUB
TONS of paper towels are used to deep clean the house before final move out. One way to cut back on that is by using Swedish Dish Cloths or Scotch Plant Based Sponges/ Scour pads. If you prefer paper towels, the Grove Collaborative has "Tree-Free" Paper towels.
2. CLEANER CLEAN:
While you are deep cleaning every crevice of your home, you are inhaling so many fumes. Use more natural cleaning supplies that are better for you and the environment. A couple brands I recommend are:
- Aunt Fannies
- Branch Basics
- Common Good
- Dr. Bronner's
- 7th Generation
- Mrs. Meyer's
You can find some of the top Natural Cleaning products at this link here.
3. GUTTING GOOD
So we all know when a move comes around, we tend to gut our closets, kids toys, drawers, etc. etc., but there are some better ways to go about this.
a. Buy less to begin with (easier said than done, but really, it helps the most)
b. Avoid Goodwill. I will be writing a post soon, but around 700,000 tons of used clothing gets exported overseas and cripples third world country economy (Porte.
c. Host a Clothing Swap/ Garage Sale
d. Donate books to schools or local libraries if you can
4. HELPFUL PANTRY
The pantry always ends up with things in it, no matter how hard you try. If you can't move any liquids or non parish-able food items coordinate with a local food bank to deliver them.
Moving is a HUGE task there is no doubt, but the more you can plan ahead of time the less of a burden being conscious will be. At the end of the day, it feels so good knowing everything we didn't want is going to good use. I hope you are able to apply some of these tips to your life easily and they help ease the burdens of moving. If you have any more questions, comment on the post below I would be MORE than happy to talk more specifically with you about making more conscious moves.
Until Next Time,
XOXO KARA JO
Becker, E. (2021, January 04). You can clean your whole house and brush your teeth with this natural soap. Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/g28261359/natural-cleaning-products/?slide=17
GreenWrap. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://www.ecoenclose.com/shop/paper-cushioning-void-fill/greenwrap/
Higgins, C. (2020, September 23). 7 creative tips for a more Sustainable Move. Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/eco-friendly-moving-tips
Ocampo, S. (2020, March 27). How much waste does moving create? Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://www.movebuddha.com/blog/moving-waste/
Porter, B. (n.d.). What really happens to unwanted clothes? Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://www.greenamerica.org/unraveling-fashion-industry/what-really-happens-unwanted-clothes