I’ll be getting married soon (in May 2023 to be exact!!). So, that means Steve + I have been apartment hunting for a place to hang our hats – and we just officially secured our new apartment! It’s not far from where I live now, so it won’t be a HUGE move that requires a moving truck or anything. But it’s still a BIG step for us. While it’s not quite ready to be lived in yet (still needs furniture and all that), we’ve already started purchasing some essentials and furniture for it. I’m doing my best to make this a zero waste move too, as well as support sustainable brands where I can. There’s a lot of waste that goes into moving, so reducing waste where you can is always a good idea. If you’re moving soon, here are a few zero waste moving tips I have to share with you.
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6 Zero Waste Moving Tips You Need to Know
1. Collect used boxes
For packing your belongings, the most frugal choice is to save up cardboard boxes and reuse them. If you like to order things online, be sure to flatten and save the boxes for reuse!
You can also go to local restaurants, grocery stores, or even your neighbors for their old cardboard boxes. Liquor stores are also a good option. Most of the time, they’ll be happy to get rid of them!
2. Utilize tote bags + suitcases
You can also pack a lot of stuff into reusable tote bags and suitcases. This is especially good for lightweight, smaller items like clothing, bed sheets, towels, etc. Books and shoes do really well in suitcases, as these are sturdier options.
3. Rent moving boxes
If you have a really big move, you may want to consider renting moving boxes. There are several companies out there that will bring the boxes to you, then take them back and reuse them for other moves. This helps create a circular economy, and you don’t get stuck wondering “what am I going to do with all these boxes??”
Here are some sustainable moving box companies worth checking out:
- Gorilla Bins (Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn)
- Rent a Green Box (Greater Los Angeles area)
- FrogBox (Seattle, Boise, and Canada areas)
- Bin It (NYC, NJ, Philadelphia, Nashville, Indianapolis)
- BoxUp (NYC)
- Redi-Box (Chicago and Portland)
- HiveBoxx (Seattle area)
- RedBin (NYC area)
4. Choose a sustainable moving company
If you’re doing a big move, chances are you’re going to need a moving company (and not just a few friends/family helping you out like me). Did you know there are sustainable moving companies out there? These companies try their best to reduce waste and lower emissions as much as possible (usually through taking more efficient routes).
Here are some sustainable moving companies worth checking out:
5. Upcycle packaging materials
You’ll likely need packaging materials to secure and cushion some of your items during the move (especially fragile things like glass). Instead of using tons of new bubble wrap made from virgin plastic (which is a fossil fuel derived from crude oil, FYI), why not use what you already have?
Check inside old packages from online orders – any salvageable paper, bubble wrap, or shredded paper you can use? Do you have a stash of magazines or newspapers you haven’t read in ages? Wrap your fragile items in that, or use it to cushion them inside a box.
You can also use old bed sheets, blankets, towels, t-shirts, helmets, or socks to secure fragile items as well. You can even use junk mail to provide cushioning. Get creative!
6. Choose secondhand and/or sustainable furniture
Choosing new furniture for a home can be daunting and pricy. Not to mention, annually 9 million tons of furniture end up in landfills while over 3 billion pounds of flame retardants are used in consumer products. Not okay!
Save some money, and help the planet, by choosing secondhand items you get at thrift stores, garage sales, or from relatives that simply don’t need it anymore. Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, Etsy and buy nothing groups are good places to search too.
Of course, using what you already have is the best option. If your furniture is still good, don’t toss it just for the sake of getting something new – reuse it! And if you must, see to it that it goes to a good home.
If you’re on the market for new pieces, try to support sustainable businesses as well. I’m currently moving from my parent’s apartment so I need ALL new stuff, essentially.
Here are some sustainable furniture brands worth checking out:
FYI, I’ve purchased from a few of these myself! Others I’m eyeing…
- Avocado mattress: They sell sustainable mattresses made from 100% GOLS certified organic latex and 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. They also have bed frames made from sustainably sourced wood, organic bed sheets, pillows and more. I decided to go for their eco organic mattress. It’s been AMAZING – very durable, supportive and comfortable! Full review incoming.
- Sabai: Recycled couches made from recycled velvet or polyester. They even have a replacement components available for purchase if parts of your couch need patching up! Talk about closed loop. FYI, I just purchased their sectional in upcycled velvet moss and I’m so excited to assemble it! Use code GREENIFYME for a discount! Full review incoming!
- Etsy: They have tons of handmade, reclaimed and vintage furniture options. All you basically have to do is type in what you want and a lot will pop up. I purchased a unique coffee table and nesting tables for the living room. I’m totally in love with them! They’re very well made.
- MadeTrade: They sell a bunch of handmade, sustainably sourced furniture you can’t get anywhere else. You’ll find everything from curtains to dining tables here. You can also shop by room. Only downside is it’s pricy!
So, what do you think of these zero waste moving tips? Stay tuned for updates!
I’ll be sharing some more sustainable home + décor content soon enough! Maybe even a few pictures once my place is all setup!
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