This question has been going on in my head the past few days while I have been working hard to pack up our house for our move on Monday. I felt like I was doing a halfway decent job with it until yesterday - when I looked around and saw a ton of boxes everywhere! So here is a list of stuff I've tried to do to make our move as green as possible. I think I needed to write these down today to remind myself that even though it looks like I'm creating a ton of waste in our house right now, I have taken some measures to try to be as green as I could.
Planning The Move
Once we knew we were going to move, my first project was to go through all of our stuff (and by the way, how have we accumulated this much stuff????). So - once I figured out that we didn't need something, what to do with it? I didn't want to put much in the trash. I already work so hard to keep our weekly trash to a minimum and didn't want our move to revert us back to our old ways! A yard sale would have been great, but unfortunately we can't have one where we live. So here are some ways to get rid of extra stuff you may have without putting it into the landfills:
Craigslist: for my big and bulky items that were still in good condition, I listed them on craigslist. I tried to list things pretty cheap so as to sell them fast. My main goal was slim down on the amount of stuff in our house. I would rather take a little less money and just get the stuff out of the house, rather than wait a few weeks to make a few extra dollars. That's just me though.
Ebay: for items that are easy to ship, I went right to ebay. I sold various old CD's, DVD's, baby clothes and other items here. I was hesitant at first to do ebay because I absolutely despise going to the post office with my 3 kids. I could probably write a whole other post on my frustrations with the post office! So I ended up ordering some flat rate priority boxes from the post office website. They were delivered right to my door for free. Once one of my auctions was up, I packed up the box, addressed it, paid for my postage online, scheduled a pickup, and let my carrier pick up the box from my front door the next day. Woohoo!! I found a way to mail all my ebay stuff without subjecting myself to the post office! If I hadn't been able to have the post office pick up my packages, I probably would have just donated all that stuff.
Freecycle: I joined my local freecycle group and gave away a bunch of items to local residents who could use them. Overall, this was a great way to give away some stuff, but I will warn you, even though people are receiving something (in very good condition) for free, they can still be inconsiderate and not show up.
Goodwill: When our garage wasn't emptying out fast enough for my husband, he loaded up my minivan and donated a bunch of stuff to goodwill.
Recycling old electronics: Our local recycling center takes old electronics so you don't have to throw them away. I had been collecting some old electronics that I knew I needed to bring to recycling, but waited until they had a few promotions so I ended up getting a free cloth grocery bag, a stainless steel water bottle and a $5 gift card to Best Buy!
So if we came across something old that we didn't need anymore, it only landed in the trash if I couldn't get rid of it through one of the ways above.
Time to Pack
As some of you may know already from my previous posts, I really try to spend as little money as possible, especially on wasteful stuff (i.e.: boxes!). I was going to try very hard to not buy any boxes, but only reuse old ones.
- A few months before our move, I started to save any boxes and bubble wrap we got in the mail or from purchases at the store.
- I was able to meet up with a few people on my local freecycle group who gave me all their used boxes after they just moved. One woman was also so nice as to not flatten the boxes so I wouldn't have to use extra tape to retape them back together.
- I went to my local Walmart and Target to try to get a few extra boxes. I must say though, I got a whole lot more boxes from freecycle!
- Before using bubble wrap and packing paper (I absolutely refuse to use packing peanuts - I hate how they make such a mess!!!) I used stuff in my linen closet to wrap and pack some fragile items in our house.
- Last time we moved, I had saved up our newspapers for awhile to use to pack our stuff. We don't receive the newspaper anymore (part of going green and saving money - we just read our news online!). So I did go to our storage center and buy packing paper, but I don't feel that bad about it because the kids are already using it to color on. While I pack, they have their crayons and markers out and color on the paper. If not coloring, then they just love to crinkle it up and throw in the boxes. I'm sure the coloring will also keep them busy while we unpack next week. Whatever doesn't get used for their artwork next week I will save for some fun fingerpainting in a few weeks!
- Now that it is coming down to the wire though, we had to break down and buy some boxes - ugh!
- But here is a cool company I found online, if only we lived in California!!!! rentagreenbox.com - this company has recycled boxes that you can rent for your move! The boxes are made from recycled materials, are reusable and are delivered right to your door a week before you move and picked up a week after your move. Such a great idea!
Cleaning Our New Home
We were able to pick up the keys this evening to the new house we are moving into. Even though the owners did a great job at leaving the house in great condition (and appears very clean), I have a "Type A" personality, and of course, need to clean it myself before moving my kids into it! The movers aren't moving our stuff until Monday, so that gives me a few days to clean. To keep with my green move, I will be cleaning the new house with green cleaners as well as homemade cleaners. I am sure I will be going through lots of vinegar, baking soda, and Dr. Bronner's liquid magic soap this weekend!
I already signed up with the local freecycle group where we are moving to. My plan to give away all our moving boxes to someone in the area that needs them. And then as I unpack those boxes, hopefully I will come across more stuff that we don't really need (because looking in my house right now, I still think we have too much stuff!). If so, I will try to get rid of them through either craigslist, ebay, freecycle, donating or recycling.
So even though it looks like I'm creating a ton of trash right now, I do feel good with the fact that I have put much more effort in this move at trying to be green than I have ever done before (and I have moved a lot before!). If anyone has any other ideas on how to be green while moving, please share!!!!