Posted in: Buying a home, Selling a home

How to plan an eco-friendly move with recycled materials

buyers unpacking moving boxes

Key insights

  • Donate unwanted items before you move. This saves energy and time and ensures only the essentials are packaged and transported.
  • Use blankets and other soft fabrics to wrap fragile items like mirrors or wine glasses.
  • Take advantage of reusable, eco-friendly packing containers for a minimal waste move.

Despite our best efforts at greener living practices, the chaos of a move tends to generate extra waste. Be sure to keep these eco-friendly tips in mind whether you’re making a big move into an energy-efficient home or you’d simply like to reduce your waste as you transition between properties.

Declutter your belongings prior to moving day

If you’re planning a home relocation in advance, begin to declutter your home well before moving day. By getting rid of unwanted or unused belongings prior to the move, you’ll end up transporting fewer items from house to house. You’ll require fewer packing materials and will produce less waste — plus, the items that you no longer need can find a new home!

After you’ve organized your things, you’ll want to take donation items to a local collection center, such as Goodwill, Salvation Army or your local charity of choice. Or, you can plan a yard sale or post big-ticket items online.

When it comes to purging larger home goods like electronics, appliances and furniture, do some research to find places that may accept these items for recycling or other uses. You may be tempted to trash unwanted things if you’re decluttering at the 11th hour, but refrain from tossing these goods in the landfill. Remember, there’s usually a more sustainable option available — like the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity Restore.

Repurpose home goods as packing materials

It’s important to put careful consideration into the supplies you use to pack your belongings. When preparing for a move, get creative and make use of existing belongings to wrap your more fragile items. Here are simple ways to turn items you’re already planning to move into packing materials:

  • Use soft materials like blankets and towels to transport mirrors, art and other breakables.
  • Pull out your suitcases, duffels, garment bags and even sturdy shopping totes. Fill up these containers with packable items, rather than stowing them in moving boxes.
  • Separate dinner plates, glassware and cutlery with cloth napkins, t-shirts or saved newspapers.
  • Wrap collectibles and other small breakables with bed sheets and similar materials.

Use recycled packing materials

In addition to helping the environment, you can save money by opting for used packing boxes and materials. Check online on sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor to see if anyone is getting rid of packing materials. You can also plan ahead and ask your workplace to save boxes from shipments they receive.

If you come up empty-handed, try posting on these social sites asking for moving supplies. You can even reach out to family, friends or coworkers to see if anyone has leftover boxes, bubble wrap or tape. People tend to hold onto packing items because they don’t want to waste them and may be eager to clear them out of their storage room.

When everything is packed in whatever recycled materials you can scavenge, it’s time to color code your move. With labels on your boxes, you’ll know exactly what’s in each container and what room it should be unpacked in. This will help minimize the number of times you open and close already packaged belongings, reducing the amount of moving tape used.

Take advantage of reusable moving boxes

You can also look into a more modern moving option! Reusable boxes are becoming a popular option for movers. A variety of companies offer these portable, durable containers for the duration of your move. Some reusable moving box brands include:

These containers are much stronger than your average moving box. Plus, they eliminate the need for moving tape and post-move cardboard disposal.

Typically, moving a three-bedroom home with reusable boxes costs around $200. This price usually includes container delivery and a standard rental rate averaging two to four weeks.

Clean your new home with all-natural products

Once you get to your new home, it’s time to clean your new space and unpack your belongings. Be sure to sanitize your space with eco-friendly cleaners or homemade household disinfectants. All-natural ingredients are better for the environment and they’re also safer for you, your family and your pets.

Finally, check to see if any of the materials used in your move are compostable. Composting these supplies can reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills after your move. Popular packing materials that can be composted include:

  • String
  • Twine
  • Newspaper
  • Starch-based packing peanuts

Take a step toward greener living

A few small eco-friendly changes can make a significant impact on the environment during your move, and homebuyers and sellers alike can take advantage of these tips as they transition properties. And, they can also save you money!

Are you ready to take a step toward greener living? Reach out to Edina Realty or one of our agents to find energy-efficient homes in your desired area.

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