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How to Move Without Waste

 By Larraine Roulston:

Anyone who has moved knows that it can be a stressful time. Getting organized and beginning to pack as much as possible, as early as possible, can alleviate much of the anxiety. Thinking of ways to make your move waste-free will help save you money.

The first step, of course, is to look for friends or charities to whom you can pass on items — clothing and furniture that you do not want to move. This declutters your space nicely and, at the same time, lessens the travel weight and the resulting cost.

You cannot have too many boxes! It is better to have a few left over that you can flatten and leave for recycling than to go searching at the last minute. If you are extremely lucky, a new neighbor moving in or a friend who has recently moved may be discarding boxes at the same time. Otherwise, liquor stores and furniture outlets are happy to see their boxes being picked up for reuse.

While your pictures and mirrors are still hanging, take time to make protective corners for them from cereal boxes or other packaging you have on hand. No need to buy bubble wrap.

Purchasing sticky labels is not necessary, either. Identify the contents of boxes simply by writing the intended room destination on each with a crayon or marker.

Utilize all your towels, bedding, cloth napkins, tablecloths, textile remnants, and even some suitable clothing that you can spare, to wrap breakable items. Weave the fabric around your dishes and pack them on edge rather than stack them. If dishes are set on top of each other and the box is dropped or the truck hits a bump, a crack could affect the entire pile. By placing your wrapped dishes on edge with bowls and other kitchen wares safely tucked around them, they should be quite safe. Large fabrics and blankets can surround mirrors and pictures as well. Place pillows and lamps in the same large box. Pillows beside breakable items will not only protect them, but also will reduce the potential weight of a large box. As well, reuse newspaper and pages from an old telephone book for wrapping wine glasses, china and ornaments.

It is better to reuse boxes and newspaper; however, should you be forced to purchase plastic bubble wrap and boxes, ensure that these are made from recycled content. Bubble wrap is now recyclable in most areas.

As most boxes still need to be properly sealed for moving, look for paper based tapes or use twine that you may have on hand that later can be reused or composted.

Keep in mind that the new owners of your home may be interested in obtaining some of your furniture, garden ornaments or tools. When we moved into one house years ago, we were happy to find that the previous owners had left their set of bar stools. Likewise, when we came to sell that same home, the young purchasers, who were leaving a small apartment, announced that they needed to buy extra furniture to fill the house. They, in turn, were delighted when we responded by offering to leave a sofa, a spare bed, a metal filing cabinet, a full set of encyclopedias that looked impressive in the built-in bookcase, and yes — you guessed it — those same four bar stools.

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Larraine authors a children’s adventure series on composting at www.castlecompost.com

About Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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