Published on 03 Mar 2021 in packing, interstate moving, moving by Mark Zappia

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling image

As people around the world have become more environmentally conscious, they have looked for ways to "go green" and become more sustainable in every area of their lives. As you shift toward greener living and eco-friendly options, you may want to consider those options for your move, too.

IMAGEEco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

Moving in an eco-friendly way seems incredibly challenging. Each year, around 900 million cardboard boxes get used to aid in moves. Add in packing material, gas for moving trucks, and the other waste associated with moving into a new house--including the sheer volume of items many people throw away when they get ready to move--and you may find yourself with a conundrum. How can you engage in eco-friendly moving options?

Step One: Downsize

Before your move, prepare for any downsizing that you're planning to do. The more possessions you have, the more energy it will take to move them: the more gas in the moving truck and the more space you will need in your new home, which can lead to overall increases in energy costs. The average Australian household has 23 unwanted or unused items. Those items don't just take up unnecessary space in your home. They can also take up space--and weight--in your moving truck.

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

Walk through your home as you're preparing for your move. Take a look at the items you really don't want or don't need. Do you have a bookshelf filled with books that no one in your household will ever read again? A collection that now serves only to gather dust, since it no longer represents the things you love? What about furniture: do you have hand-me-down furniture, or old pieces of furniture that you picked up at a discount, that now simply takes up room in your home that you don't need?

It's time to get rid of those items.

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

Follow these steps to make it easier to downsize.

1. Take a look at your possessions and remove any items that you do not want.

Removing unwanted items is a critical part of the moving process. You do not want to waste the time and energy--not to mention resources--necessary to move those items. Instead, go ahead and donate, give away, or repurpose items you don't want. Often, you'll find that this simple act helps decrease the energy needed to complete your move successfully, which may make you feel less stressed about the process.

2. Consider your new home.

Do you already know that you're moving into a property that offers considerably less space than the one you're currently living in? Consider downsizing ahead of time. Picture your furniture and other possessions in your new home. If you already know that there's not going to be space for them, go ahead and get rid of those possessions now to save time and energy on the other end.

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

3. Consider your changing or growing family.

Many families have storage spaces--attics, garages, and storage units--filled with items they no longer need for their growing or changing families. Suppose, for example, that you no longer plan to have more children. That crib, changing table, and other baby equipment taking up space in your garage doesn't need to make the move with you. Likewise, if your children have moved out, you may not want a houseful of spare bedrooms that no one will sleep in. Downsize the items that you no longer need for your growing family.

Step Two: Donate

As you walk through your home, consider your possessions--especially the ones you no longer want or need. Many of those items are still in great shape. You may simply not need them. As a simple example, you may not ever use two skillets in your kitchen. You may even have a favorite skillet that you use the majority of the time, while the other one simply gathers dust under the cabinet. The unused skillet functions just fine and has no damage, which means that someone could put it to great use, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you will.

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

Donating that item will help prevent it from landing in a landfill and remove the need for you to find a place for it when you reach your new home.

As you're preparing for your move, you may also uncover items that you had forgotten you had, or items you thought you lost long ago. For example, you might uncover an old soccer ball (or three) kicked into the back corner of the garage: still as good as new, but you have more than one replacement. You might discover old kitchen appliances, clothing, or toys that no longer serve the needs of your family, but that still have a lot of life in them.

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

When deciding whether to donate an item, carefully consider:

1. Do you need it?

If you open a box still taped from your last move and discover items in it, chances are, you need none of them. If you have not already replaced those items, you probably have little use for them.

Likewise, if you have a "favorite" of a specific item and never use the other one, you may find that your life is simpler without it. Ask yourself if you really need two, or three, or five of that item. Do you really need five pairs of scissors? If you have small children or lose them frequently, the answer may be yes. On the other hand, if you always use a favorite pair of scissors that is always exactly where you need it, you may find that the additional items are simply adding to the clutter in your home.

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

2. Do you know someone else who needs it?

You may have a friend or family member that you know can put an item to good use. For example, if you have a friend who regularly repurposes old sweaters into new works of art, you may want to donate your old clothing to her, rather than taking it straight to a thrift store. If you know a young couple just starting out or a young person moving into their own property for the first time, that could be the perfect place for kitchen utensils or even furniture that you no longer want.

3. Is the item still functional?

You do not want to donate an item that no longer functions according to its intended purpose or that is filthy and cannot be cleaned. For example, if you have a toaster oven that has sat unused for years, the crumbs of its last meal still inside, you may plug it in to discover that it will no longer heat up--making it useless. If the item no longer functions, you may want to go ahead and get rid of it, unless you know someone who might have the skills to get it up and running again.

On the other hand, if the item still functions perfectly well, but simply no longer fits your needs, donating that item can help give it new life.

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling


4. Do you need to clean up the item before you donate it?

Sometimes, you may have an item that still functions perfectly well, but that needs to be cleaned up, you may want to take the time to clean it up before donating it. If you pass the item on to a friend or family member that needs it, they may be willing to take on that task, rather than making you take care of it before they take the item. On the other hand, if you're donating that item to a thrift store or an organization that accepts donations for needy individuals, you may want to take the time to clean it up before you pass it on.

If you're worried about the time needed to clean up an item, consider talking to the organization. Sometimes, they will have professionals who are in an ideal position to take care of those tasks.

Step Three: Recycle

Recycling is a critical part of an eco-friendly move, especially when it comes to electronics. As you prepare for your move, make sure you recycle items that can be recycled before you throw them away. You can also consider recycling in other areas of your move: using eco-friendly options for boxes and packing materials, for example.

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

Managing Electronics Disposal in an Eco-Friendly Way

Can I recycle a printer? What should I do with electronics? Can I throw away my unwanted electronics?

Electronic devices often contain chemicals that can be dangerous to the environment if you simply throw them away. Almost 100% of e-waste is recyclable. Instead of tossing those items in the dumpster, look into a recycling facility near you. You can recycle unwanted:

  • Laptops and computers
  • Game systems
  • Calculators
  • Printers
  • Phones
  • Music players
  • And more!

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

Many major electronics manufacturers make recycling easy for you. Some of them will allow you to mail in your electronics for eco-friendly disposal. You may also choose to look into local electronics stores, which may have drop-offs for those items. You can also look into donation opportunities for unwanted electronics, since some facilities will take them and make them like new again.

Before recycling your items, make sure you remove any external storage and wipe your internal memory. You may also want to disconnect the device from your online accounts to prevent someone from stealing your data in the future.

Eco-Friendly Moving MaterialsEco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

In addition to the recycling items you no longer want, as part of your move, consider using eco-friendly or recycled moving materials. Choose some of these options:

Use boxes and packing materials made of recycled materials.

Some companies, rather than making their boxes and packing materials from "new" materials, will choose to use recycled materials. This can offer a more eco-friendly option for your moving needs. Look into the percentage of the packing material made from recycled products. Some may have a relatively low percentage, while others may be made from a large quantity of recycled materials. Avoid items like styrofoam, which can lead to a great deal of waste at the end of your move, whenever possible.

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling


Reuse boxes and packing materials.

Liquor stores, big box stores, and other large retailers may allow you to come in and take their unwanted boxes. Your friends and family members may save their shipping boxes for you as you prepare for your move. These boxes have already been used for another purpose, and using them for your move doesn't add additional waste. Likewise, you can often use packing materials that have already been used for another purpose: newspapers, for example.

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

Turn items in your home into packing materials.

Rags, towels, and sheets, for example, are fantastic packing materials for many of your fragile possessions. Instead of packing those items in their own, separate boxes, consider using them to surround other items. Not only will this help cut down on the amount of packing you need for your boxes, it can make your overall load smaller, which can reduce your moving costs and the amount of time needed for your move.

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling

Plan to recycle your boxes and packing materials when you're done.

Have a plan for what you're going to do with your boxes and packing materials when you're done--one that doesn't include pitching them into the trash when you're finished. You may want to donate them to a friend or family member who is planning a move of their own or choose to have them recycled. Whatever you do, try to avoid just pitching them out with the trash. Consider having a plan in place to handle your recycling before you move, whether that means locating a nearby recycling center or using recycling offered by your trash collection service.

Are you getting ready for a big move? Whether you want your move to be as eco-friendly as possible or you're simply looking for removalists who will help you get to your new home while decreasing the burden you place on the environment, contact Clear Sky Moving and Storage today to talk to our professional removalists.

Eco Friendly Moving: Move Green by Downsizing, Donating and Recycling