Tip #1: For packing materials, reuse and repurpose
We’ll start with an easy one. Any packer knows that you’ve got to wrap your breakables well. Rather than buying packing paper or even newspaper (cheers to you if you still get the news delivered), I started saving packing paper from deliveries once I knew we were moving. And if I’m honest, my Hive boxes were the cream of the crop for packing paper. Each box comes beautifully wrapped with geami paper and packing paper made from recycled materials, and since these are used to keep glass jars and other items safe, they work wonders on plates, glassware, bowls, and more. This wrapping also can be repurposed from wrapping gifts, so I recommend saving and storing it if you have the space.
Tip #2: Bins, not boxes
Rather than using boxes for our move, we began purchasing black and yellow totes (you can find them at The Home Depot)- and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Durable and flexible, we stuff these to the brim and have used them in multiple cross-country moves. We also loan them out to friends and family for help moving, and they work great for storage. You can even save your packing paper from tip 1 in these bins for next time. As long as you have a place to keep them, buying a few of these will save you (and the planet) a lot of waste now and in the future.
Tip #3: Use your local Buy Nothing group, and ask for help
This is my greatest hack. I am a proud member of Buy Nothing and use it to donate items I no longer need to my local community. If you post it, they will come (so to speak). Moving is naturally a great time to declutter and donate, but wow did I find that overwhelming this go-around. I had so many things that I wanted to give a second life in a new home. But I found it very time-consuming managing it all myself, and I felt that I was up against the clock. So instead of trying to manage dispersing my items on my own (or worse, resorting to these items ending up in the landfill), I asked my Buy Nothing group for help. Someone in the group volunteered to take all of my items for me, and she did the work of getting each item up on the page and into the hands of a new owner who could make use of it. Susie is a sustainability superstar, but I truly believe almost every group has a Susie of their own. And hopefully I will pay it forward in my new Buy Nothing group sometime in the future.
Tip #4: Support the Reuse economy with Facebook Marketplace
For big ticket items, Facebook Marketplace is your friend. I personally love using it for buying gently used furniture and other items rather than buying new from the store. So I was eager to give a few major items like a treadmill and office desk chair another chance at life with a new family while recouping some of the expense. Posting is easy, and as long as you set the right price and can build in a little buffer time, you’re likely to find a buyer.
Tip #5: When all else fails, go stand in the grass
MOVING IS STRESSFUL. No matter how hard you plan or how early you start, it just is. And adding in the goal of doing so sustainably can feel like a lot of extra work. So when times get tough and it all feels overwhelming, get grounding. Putting your feet in the grass or walking along the water is proven to help calm your nervous system and connect to your body. Take a deep breath and know you’ve got this, and show yourself some gratitude for keeping the planet in mind as you go.