Moving: 8 Ways To Reduce Waste

We moved! Having lived in a tiny little cottage for three years (which we were grateful for and loved) and moving into a proper one bedroom apartment, I feel like I'm on vacation and staying in a hotel that is soooo my taste. 

I want to share with you a few tips on how we kept our waste to a minimal while moving. 

1. Reuse Boxes

My boyfriend and I both work for a natural foods store. Actually, that's where we met. He was stocking apples and oranges and looking so dreamy....Anyways, because we work at a grocery store, we have access to boxes everyday and were able to save them to reuse for moving. Even if you don't work for a grocery store, it's possible to call them in the morning or during their receiving hours and ask if they can put some boxes aside for you. They will most likely be into it! 

2. Take out, Waste Free

When our kitchen was all packed up, but we still had few days left, we opted for take out. It was possible to do this without generating any waste on our end. Learn how it's done. 

3. Hydration

Keeping hydrated while moving is key. Bust out that reusable water bottle and skip the plastic waste!

4. Shop Secondhand First

I have pared down quite a bit over the last year of living a Circular Lifestyle, but when we moved, it felt like we had so much crap all over again. Unloading everything at our slightly bigger new home put things back into perspective - we didn't have that much stuff. Our old house was just tiny! We actually ended up needing lamps because there was no overhead lighting in our living room and bedroom, and our one floor lamp was seriously not cutting it. So, following my own guidelines, I scouted out all the secondhand shops here, but could not find a single floor lamp. I looked online for secondhand floor lamps, but they were just super expensive and they would have to be shipped. I also kept my eye out at yard sales. No Luck. 

After a couple weeks of looking, I ended up buying a pair of new lamps--so weird, I hardly ever buy new things. If it was something that we didn't need right away, I would have waited until I found it secondhand. Let's be honest, the lamps I bought were probably made in China. Were they produced in total alignment with my environmental values? Most likely not. It said something about "green" on the box, but that could mean anything.  My point is this - Circular Living is not about perfection. I did the best I could in this situation. Now we have light and I won't keep running into things and my sweetheart is happy. I was not about to spend hundreds of dollars that I didn't have on some fancy eco-light that would have to be shipped here anyway. On a postive note, I bought my dream midcentury coffee table secondhand at my favorite antique shop. Such a score. Circular Living equals balance.

5. Cleaning

In the past I would have busted out the bleach and crazy toxic chemicals to do the final scrub down. Living a Circular Lifestyle, I used my own all-purpose cleaner to deep clean, and it worked like a charm. Vinegar is amazing! Full disclosure: My boyfriend bought some bleach to clean the shower and toilet. He swore it was a one time deal, and I didn't judge him for it. Circular Living is not about perfection, so why would I expect it of him?  He just really wanted his deposit on the house back, and I don't blame him. I personally think we could have had the same result without bleach, but we compromised. I could have made my own bleach, but I wasn't expecting to need it. Next time! 

6. Donate Your Boxes

Before recycling your boxes after you've moved, see if anyone you know is also moving--they could reuse them again! You could even post an ad to give them away for free on Craigslist. Two of our dear friends happened to be moving, and they picked up all our boxes! 

7. Ask For Help

Unless your new house is right next door, you're gonna be driving all your belongings to the new place and using gas to do so. We asked our friend to help us out with his truck, and we ended up only having to take a couple trips. If it was just me and my boyfriend moving, it would have taken so much longer with more carbon dioxide emissions.

8. Relax

Seriously, sit down and unpack that sh** tomorrow. Beer me.

Our Moving Waste

We really didn't create that much waste. We used gas to drive, there was cardboard from the lamps and lightbulbs which we recycled, and there were two pieces of plastic film protecting the lamp shades which I dropped off at work (because they recycle film plastics). Overall, it was a low impact move.