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21 June 2013

Moving Day

I'm not really moving today. Moving day is coming (in four weeks, yikes!), but we're not there yet. However, we are going to be leaving this apartment where we've lived for our first three years in Austin and moving across town to one a little bit closer to the action. We're pretty excited.

I see one of these in my
future. From garann on
stock.xchng.
My friend Jenni over at Talking Hairdryer, though, has just packed up her entire grown-up house, including a husband and three children, and is moving a couple of states. Seeing her document the saga on Facebook has made me grateful that 1) We're only moving across town, and 2) We haven't tried very hard to have a grown-up house. Three adults do not need nearly as much stuff as two adults and three children, thank goodness, and we frequently mutter that even what we have is too much stuff. In other words: Jenni rocks, me not so much.

Godspeed on your new adventure, Jenni.

However! Even though I count myself in the non-rocking club, I don't want to let this opportunity go by without making it into a green living post. Obviously, for the purist, a house move is always going to come with some offenses against Mother Earth, but I'm willing to live with that. Here, then is how we green up our moves:

1. Give stuff away. I've used Facebook, Freecycle, and the local thrift stores to unload all my excess stuff onto unsuspecting victims. I started to use Craigslist this time around, too, but within five seconds of me posting "I'm selling a juicer and breadmaker" on Facebook, I had a taker; no Craigslist required. As we get deeper into our stuff, though, I may still find a need.

Why this is green: Keeps things out of the landfill, gives your stuff a new lease on life, and keeps the recipient from having to get a new thing.

2. Use old newspaper to wrap stuff up. On our last move, we asked our friends if they had any stacks of newspaper sitting around the house waiting for a trip to the recycler, and if they did, we wanted to take it off their hands. I also collected used papers from my office. We ended up not having to get one single free newspaper from anywhere, which is what we'd done in the past. This time around-- well, I'll get to that in just a second.

Why this is green: No need for bubble wrap or similar protective things. In fact, anything fragile enough to need bubble wrap we wrapped up in clothes or towels, anyway. Gave the newspaper another use before it was recycled (and I suspect that some of the stuff we reused would have ended up in the landfill if we hadn't claimed it). No need to get new newspaper from the free racks.

3. Reuse cardboard boxes. U-Haul and their ilk will try to sell you new cardboard boxes, because they want all of your money. Once again, we asked our friends for help and met with quite a few grateful people who were only too happy to give us their boxes that they didn't want. I also got a few from my office, and we got some from the local grocery store. Ask around and get some free, still-useable boxes before you shell out the cash for new ones. Or, if you must shell out cash, look for a service like Ecobox, which sells used boxes.
This time around, we still have most of the boxes from last time. I know this is crazy, but we couldn't immediately find a good place to recycle our boxes and newspaper, so we shoved them into an outdoor, non-climate controlled closet on our balcony where we didn't want to put anything else anyway. So, we're all set.

Why this is green: Saves new materials being used. Keeps older, but still good, stuff in circulation instead of going to the landfill. And please recycle them if you can't find a new home for them when you're done.

4. Get the right moving truck/trailer/whatever to fit the size of your house, and fill it up. Insist that your moving service do the same. The jury is still out for us on what we'll do this time, and we may end up renting a Zipcar (well, Ziptruck) and making multiple trips. Which is not ideal, because that uses more gas, and we're not into that sort of thing. However, for cross-country moves, pack your truck to the gills. It will save you cash and gas if you get the smallest possible truck (which still may not be that small) and use every inch.

Why this is green: One full vehicle making one trip uses less fuel than multiple vehicles and multiple trips. Kind of like only running your dishwasher when it's full.

5. Pack a "first night" kit with all the things you'll need for snacking, eating, showering, sleeping, and getting dressed the next morning.

Why this is green: It's to save at least some of your sanity. Happy people = happier planet.

Are these tips the most obvious things the world has ever seen? Well, of course they are. But they also require some forward thinking and planning ahead, which is why I've written them all down, so you (and I) have them in advance.

What do you do when you move? Did I miss anything important?

4 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Hope it all goes smoothly for you.

Jenni at talking hairdryer said...

haha! Love this post! We actually had one of my mom's friends give us ALL of the boxes we used. We bought the wardrobe boxes we needed, but other than that the rest were given to us. She also gave us the bubble wrap and paper she used, so we bought zero of that.

We were short a few boxes, so while Honey was in CO unloading the first round of our stuff, he unpacked a few boxes and brought them back for us to repack. Not ideal when moving cross country, but since we'd planned 2 trips from the beginning it worked for us.

We plan on using the wardrobe boxes to store off season clothing while we're renting since we'll be short on closet space.

I've also heard of people selling their boxes and packing materials on Craigslist when they are done. Someone else uses them and you make a bit of $$.

If we hadn't given away, donated, and sold stuff, we would have never made it in 2 trips. Crazy, huh?

J E Oneil said...

Green moving tips. Smart idea :)

Su Wilcox said...

@Delores: Thanks!

@Jenni: Wow, I didn't realise you guys were making two trips. Holy smokes. You rock EVEN MORE than I thought!

@JE: Thanks! We'll see how smart it is after it's over, methinks. :/

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