How to Move Homes the Green Way

Moving home can be both an exciting and stressful time in your life. But it is also a good opportunity to make a small difference to the environment too.

Though you will have a thousand and one things to think about no doubt, it is also worth sparing a thought for how you can move home the green way.

The process of packing and decluttering your old home, as well as storing, transporting, unpacking and cleaning your new home, all takes up precious energy and resources. Not to mention creating increased CO2 emissions.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to try and make your move as eco-friendly as it can possibly be. So, if you are moving home in the not too distance future, why not think about the doing the following?

1. Get rid of the dead weight

Before you move home it is worth taking the time to have a thorough declutter of your current property.

That is because there is a strong likelihood that you have plenty of items stored in the garage, attic or in cupboards that you no longer want or need.

As many removal companies charge by weight and number/size of your possessions, doing a declutter can save you a bit of money. Especially as it could be the difference between you requiring a larger or smaller van.

This in turn will cut down the impact of your move on the environment, reducing the company’s overall CO2 footprint.

When you declutter, sort your items into separate piles for charity, selling, recycling and throwing away.

There are hundreds of charity shops that will be only too willing to accept your unwanted clothes, DVDs, furniture items and artwork. Similarly, schools, libraries and day centres should welcome old books and toys.

Also, on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree you should have no problem finding people who will want to buy what you no longer need.

Doing this will cut down your contribution to landfill, as well as lead to a small reduction in the number of new items purchased.

2. Recycle

By the time you have fully decluttered you should have plenty of items that you either can’t take with you to your new home, or that nobody else will want.

It is important thus to take as many of these items to your nearest recycling centre, as possible. As they often have designated sections for everything from old laptops and car batteries to car tyres and scrap metal.

If you have larger items like fridges or freezers, washing machines, sofas, beds and TVs, your local council should offer a household recycling pick up service – often at a charge, where they will dispose of it properly for you.

3. Get cooking

As soon as you know you are moving house, you should try and run down the food you have in your fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboards.

This will decrease the amount of food you throw away, reduce the number of boxes or bags used to transport them to your new home, and minimise the space required in your removal van.

If you find you have more food than you can eat, consider donating surplus items to charities that specialise in feeding the homeless and those on very low incomes.

This is much preferable than just chucking these food items away, only for it to go straight into landfill.

4. Choose your carrier with care

If you are planning to find local removalists to help you move, then be sure to source a company that uses vans that are low-emission EEV Standard i.e., enhanced environmentally friendly vehicles.

Do your research too, to establish what the companies’ green credentials are. For instance, do they have specific travel routes that cut down on CO2 emissions?

5. Streamline the quote process

When it comes to sourcing quotes for your removal, look for companies that provide them via video surveying. Also be sure to get them sent to you online.

The days of having several companies drive to your house to provide you with a detailed quote are long gone.

Instead, do your initial research online, as this will save time, fuel and CO2 emissions.

6. Box it up right

Once you have decluttered you can start the process of packing.

However, before you pack, you are going to need something to put your clothes and possessions into.

Rather than buy new boxes or containers, consider using old drawers, suitcases and crates, you have set aside for recycling first. Also, you can often find old boxes at your local supermarket or fruit and vegetable market.

Be sure to ask friends and family if they have any you can use too.

If you do need to buy storage boxes or containers, some removal firms and thrift or bric-a-brac stores sell them second hand at a much cheaper rate than you would buy brand new.

7. Wrap up wisely

Did you know? Every year the average Australian consumes 230kg of paper products. Much of which goes straight into landfill.

Furthermore on ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ in 2017, it accounted for 13% of the total litter collected.

These are damning stats, which is why it’s a good idea to reduce your contribution to this when moving home.

Therefore. it is worth buying biodegradable bubble wrap (which conveniently, is actually green in colour) to protect all your most valuable and breakable possessions.

For other items try and use old newspapers, magazines, clothing items and junk mail. While for other items like furniture or artwork, they can be covered in sleeping bags, blankets and towels.

8. Keep it clean

When you leave your old place, especially if it is a rental property, and when you get into your new place, it is worth giving it a thorough clean.

However, be sure to use eco-friendly cleaning products when doing this, as those products which are environmentally toxic tend to be full of phosphates – which are extremely dangerous to marine life.

If you don’t have access to eco-friendly cleaning products, try using natural remedies like lemon and vinegar. This will do just as good a job at making the place looking gleaming.

9. Tidy up your backyard area

While it is easy to focus purely on the house, don’t forget your garden too.

There are several ways you can dispose of garden waste in an eco-friendly way including converting it into mulch, composting the waste or taking it to a council run collection site.

This will ensure you don’t less a mess behind when you eventually move out of your old property.

Russell Chen

With a rich background in Horticulture from the University of Melbourne, Russell Chen has over 18 years of experience in garden design and management. He has been a key contributor to our site, after serving as a chief horticulturist at a renowned botanical garden in Australia. Russell's articles often reflect his passion for eco-friendly gardening and he has been sharing insights into sustainable gardening practices. In his leisure time, he loves exploring herbal gardening and participating in community greening projects.

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