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Making Your Move Greener
Moving can not only be a hassle but increase your ecological footprint as well. From the boxes to the gas you are going to use, the resources necessary for a move can easily add up. So how can you make your move less wasteful?
It is possible to make your move greener if you are a bit organized and think ahead.
You might need a few boxes. But chances are, you are going to need loads of them! It's a shame to use new resources for something that is going to be used once and then tossed. There are a few alternatives to using new boxes from the movers. The good news is there are a few good sources for free used boxes around. Check Craigslist or Freecycle.org. There is always someone who just moved and is giving away their boxes for free. You can also check local businesses who throw away tons of good boxes daily. For an online resource, check out UsedCardboardBoxes.com - they rescue boxes and connect them with the people who need them. Of course, after moving make sure you either give your boxes to someone else who can use them or place them flat in a recycling bin.
Moves are a great opportunity for purging all that stuff that we are not using and are just taking space. This is where some planning ahead is helpful. If you start a few weeks before you actually move this should be relatively painless. Separate the things that you are not using or cannot fit in your new home and decide what to do with them. Putting things on the curb and hoping that someone will pick them up might actually be the best way for them to end up in the landfill. You can sell stuff on Craigslist - furniture goes fast if the price is right! You can also post them as free items, which will take them off your hands even faster. You can also donate items to Good Will or even ask your friends if they could use something. Bottom line is that nothing gets wasted. Recycle whatever is not usable anymore and could be hazardous (like your old computer and electronics).
Reuse old packing. Instead of buying bubble wrap and other new materials, be resourceful and use what you already have. Try keeping a space in your closet where you can keep used packing supplies. You can always use that packaging when you mail stuff or when you move (saving you money as well). For other wrapping materials, use newspapers and magazines that you have lying around the house. You can also use some of your things to wrap your breakables in, like your towels. This way you end up having less boxes to carry.
You might need a moving truck. Think about renting a bigger one than you think you are going to need. The bigger size will only cost you a few more dollars and this way you can carry all of your stuff in one trip. This way you can reduce the mileage and both save money and reduce your carbon footprint!
When in your new apartment, you might find that you actually need some new furniture items. Resist the temptation to go to your favorite store and get some shiny new stuff. You can most likely find what you need on Craigslist or your local thrift store and give some gently used stuff a new home. Instead of driving more than 200 miles to the nearest IKEA store and using up gallons of gas, you may find the bed and bookcase you want on Craigslist. OK, they might not be the perfect color but we can't have everything. They still look good and you'll ended up saving money too! Yahoo! Green offers a tool to help you find reuse groups in your area by entering your zip code.
Think about energy efficiency. The first thing you might do in your new apartment is change all the light bulbs to CFLs. Also consider buying green electricity from your local company. If you are moving to a new city or state, ask your provider if they have a green energy program. There may only be a slight price difference.
Last but not least, apart from purging, moving is a great opportunity to set some new goals like greening your life, improving your diet or starting yoga! Find out what fitness classes are offered near your new place. Preferably within walking distance so you don't have to drive. Also find out where the nearest library is so you can borrow books and other materials instead of buying them. The nearest farmers market might be something you want to know as soon as you move in as well as the nearest Health Food Store. And make sure you are informed about your area's recycling program.
Think REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE before, during and after the move and you will do great! Once you are settled in your new home make sure you visit Huddler.com and browse for ideas on making your home greener!
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