Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How to Stay Green During Your Big Move

Today, I'm happy to feature another excellent post by guest blogger, AJ Earley.

So, you’ve found a new place to live. First off, congratulations! Second, I guess it’s time to get ready for the dreaded task we all hate: moving.

I recently helped a friend move, and I was very disappointed to see her using a ton of plastic and paper products during the process, as well as a whole smattering of chemicals when it came time to clean up the empty house. The fumes got so bad I had to to bow out and let her finish the cleaning on her own.

There are varying levels of green you can strive for when you are moving, but even a little effort is better than none at all. Here are some tips to reduce your environmental impact when you switch to your new house.

Get Organized

You’ll want to start organizing well in advance of your move. It will be a lot easier to follow the rest of these tips if you’re prepared every step of the way. Something like this moving checklist that is broken down by weeks before the move can help you with that process. Six weeks is a good amount of time to start sorting out all the details, but if you don’t have that much time, get started as early as possible.

Purging is another thing that can help you stay green and organized once moving day comes. You can start early and try to get rid of as much as you can, or streamline the process and sort out unused items while packing. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in a year, and don’t see yourself using it again in another year, it can go. Of course, donate and recycle everything possible.

Pack Smart

Let’s face it, moving without a single cardboard box is generally not a possibility. What’s most important is to avoid buying boxes before the move just to throw them out afterwards. Re-use as many old boxes as you can, and either save them or donate them to someone else afterwards.

There are also a couple of options to avoid cardboard boxes. You can purchase plastic bins made from recycled material if you intend to repurpose or reuse them after the move. Old milk crates or wooden vegetable crates can come in handy for organization after the move.

There are a few eco-friendly packing materials available, but the easiest and greenest way to go is to just use your towels, linens, and clothing. Use these to keep your dishes and fragile knick-knacks safe or to wrap up your pictures and artwork. Not only will your linens do a great job of keeping your items safe, it will also ensure you don’t waste a bunch of plastic trash bags or cellophane on packing clothes and wrapping materials.

Rent a Truck

In the end, it’s more environmentally friendly, and more cost-effective, to rent a moving truck. You’ll only have to make one trip as opposed to several, which will help keep those greenhouse gasses out of the air. There are also a few moving companies that have greener, more fuel-efficient options, so do your research to see if you can find one in your area.

Clean Up

Once you’ve got everything moved out, it’s time to clean up the old place. There is absolutely no reason to use harsh chemicals during this process. Vinegar is the answer to almost any cleaning quandary you could come up with: from floors to walls to fixtures, it’s even good for deodorizing and disinfecting appliances. Vinegar will help get rid of grease and grime, as well as sticky substances and nasty odors. Almost every surface in your home can be made brand new without harmful cleaning agents that can make you sick ... or worse.

Even if you have a serious issue like a musty smell in your basement due to moisture and mold, a few gallons of distilled vinegar can solve the problem. The exterior surfaces of your home can be cleaned with a vinegar solution.

About the only thing you shouldn’t do with vinegar is shampoo your carpets, which is probably necessary unless you are completely replacing them. When you search for a carpet cleaning company, make sure they are a Certified Green Cleaner that doesn’t use any environmental toxins that can be hazardous to you, your kids, or your pets.

Happy Moving!

I hope these tips will help you sleep better (and healthier) at night, both before and after your big move.

Do you have any tips to add? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below.

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