Q: Any tips on how to green my move? Just the thought of all those boxes…
A: What about the thought of all those boxes?
You’re in luck! I just moved myself, and I’ve got some great tips for you. Firstly, I love freecycle. It’s a website that allows you to post things you need or are giving away to like-minded individuals in your neck of the woods. You can sign up and see if anyone just moved and is giving away their moving boxes, and presto! Instant moving kit! You can use moving boxes up to five times before they pretty much crap out on you, so if you plan on moving again yourself in a few years and have the space, it might even be worth it to keep them. But remember, the more you recycle these boxes, the more crossed-out numbers and labels you'll have, making for confused and angry movers backed up at your front door. (“Wait, does that say, kitchen or master bedroom? Is that box pots or is it stuff from the medicine cabinet? Hold on, let me check the list….”) Though this is definitely a way to green your move, it doesn’t always make for the most practical moving day.
The other downside to using boxes one too many times? The bottom falling out when that box you used for spices, then books, then linens just can’t hack it anymore. Again -- this will anger and frustrate your movers. And you want to keep these people happy, as they will determine whether or not your breakfront makes it into the dining room in one piece or many.
Another nifty idea is to invest in some plastic bins. Not only will this help you with your move because you can see what’s inside (no more putting that unmarked box in the kitchen thinking it’s pots and pans and realizing, in frustration when you’re trying to unpack, that it’s actually old pictures that need to go in the basement) but you can also use the bins for long-term storage in your new home. Moving companies use big plastic bins that go on rolling carts for corporate relocations. (In fact, employees love these so much that corporations actually account for 5 percent of these bins being taken home by people like Lisa in accounting to use for all her Christmas decorations.)
I happen to love, love, love plastic bins. I use them for everything. I’m one of those crazy people whose pantry you open and all you see is a sea of plastic bins labeled with things like Spices and Instant Oatmeal and Condiments I Stole From Restaurants.
Another thing I’ve learned from experience is to not use newspaper to wrap your dishes. You may think you’re going green by recycling all that newspaper, but you’re really not. See, what happens when you unpack all those dishes is this: They’re ALL COVERED IN NEWSPRINT. And you will spend the first three days in your new home doing load after load in the dishwasher. Or if you don’t have a dishwasher, washing all the dishes till your hands go raw. Not a lot of fun, and not very green because of all the water you wasted. Instead, go with recycled packing paper -- none of the hassle of newspaper and all of the joy of putting your bowls right into the cabinets.
Bear this in mind: with all the green tips I’m offering you, you’re still going to have to offer some pretty hefty ones to your movers at the end of the day, and they won’t be quite so easy on your wallet.