Monday, August 3, 2015

A Nomad's Green Moving Tips & Free Checklist

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | |
Are you moving out soon? There's always a way of minimizing the impact on the environment, also when we're moving to a new home. I've moved eight times the past five years, and here I've gathered green moving tips and tricks, whether it's about packing, recycling, cleaning or transport.
My personal tips for an eco-friendly moving, and a free checklist
My personal tips for an eco-friendly moving

One of the goals with an eco-friendly moving is to discard as little as possible, and if you do want to get rid of things - you should make sure that the object is discarded properly.

Make sure you start packing and recycling as early as possible. I think that we tend to make short-cuts when we're stressed out and are short on time.


  • Save newspapers and magazines for packaging and cleaning windows and mirrors
  • Consider selling your stuff (furniture, kitchen appliances etc). Create an ad online, and use social media to get attention from friends, relatives and colleagues. 
Now is the time to consider if you're going to keep all the furniture, or sell/donate the furniture for re-use. If you're keeping them, then problem solved.

If you want to sell them, you should consider creating an ad right away. There's no knowing how fast the furniture will be sold, or if it will be sold at all. In my experience, it depends on what you're selling and the pricing.
Green moving tips: Avoid throwing it away and sell your furniture
Green moving tips: Avoid throwing it away and sell your furniture

Three weeks ago I sat up two ads; one for a nice office chair which was priced 75% off the original price. The next day, two guys called me and wanted the chair right away, which was good.

Another ad was made for two book shelves that were about 10 years old, and looked like IKEA knock-offs. No response, despite that they were for free.

My point? You should consider selling your furniture and other stuff, a couple of weeks ahead. Just be prepared that you might be chair-less or table-less for some time.

If no one buys the furniture in time, you might consider keeping them (maybe it just needs some fresh painting) or visit the closest recycling station. Have a plan B in case the stuff you want to sell isn't sold in time.

US readers: try Craigslist, Etsy, Furnishly, FleaPop.
UK readers: try Preloved, Gumtree, Stuff U Sell (sells for you on eBay).

Be sure to check out our simplified checklist.


  • De-clutter your closet
Go through your wardrobe and start de-cluttering. Trust me, it takes a long time to go through everything properly, with fitting and sorting out clothes.
  • Consider if you want to invite friends/family over for free stuff :-)
  • Reserve moving truck
Using your own car for moving? Or maybe hiring a car, or a company that can do the moving for you?

Now's the time to reserve a truck/hire a company.

Some moving companies that claim that they're eco-friendly, use bio-diesel in their moving trucks. North Star Moving Company in California is one example.

Also check out iMoveGREEN (bio-diesel) located in the US, that offers local, interstate and international moving services. Eco Movers in the UK use fully electric vehicles charged from 100% renewable electricity, according to their site.


  • Free moving boxes
Instead of purchasing moving boxes, seek the closest grocery store and ask if they have banana or apple boxes they can give to you. They get rid of the boxes, you get free boxes and the boxes get a second chance. Or you can simply ask friends and family if they have any spare boxes :-)
    Green moving tips - Banana boxes
    Banana boxes
  • If you have invited friends and family to give them free stuff, do the necessary reparations.
Do you need to dismantle the furniture? Clean the clothes? Sew on a button?

Read: How to recycle candle jars.
  • Donate leftover stuff to thrift stores
  • Cook dinner with what you've got in the fridge
To reduce food waste, you should stop shopping for new groceries and make dinner with what you already have in the fridge/freezer.

Read: 7 easy ways on how to reduce food waste.
Making dinner from leftover groceries
Making dinner from leftover groceries
  • Go through the the kitchen cabinet - remember to recycle
I'm pretty sure that you have some can food or spices that have passed the expiration date, or are closing in on expiration date. But don't throw them just yet.

Spices or tea bags that are out of date, can still be used after the expiration date. They may have just lost their flavor or color. My experience is that when you let expire tea steep longer, you almost get the flavor like they were new, or sometimes I use two tea bags.

Read: 7 ways to use expired spices at

What about food that are closing in on expiration date? Try to use them in the cooking before you move. Place them somewhere you can easily spot them.


  • Start packing things you don't need until after you've moved - remember to recycle
Try to avoid plastic and pack fragile things in newspaper, magazines, bed sheets and towels.

If you're throwing away stuff, you should always have in mind how you can recycle. Also the small stuff, like DVD cases and batteries. While sorting the DVD cases the other day I removed the cover paper, and threw that in a separate paper waste and the cases in the plastic waste.

Hazardous chemicals should not be discarded in the toilet or in the kitchen/bathroom drain, but sorted at the civic amenity site.

According to a report from Foundation for Water Research, the lavatory and drain is unfortunately used as a convenient way to dispose unwanted household chemical products (review in the EU).1
You use mostly vinegar, water and baking soda for cleaning mirrors, microwaves, toilets and to unblock a drain.
  • Find out where the nearest recycling station/civic amenity site is located


  • Finish packing - Transport plants and fresh herbs in banana or apple boxes.
  • Have some food left in the fridge? Ask the neighbors if they want extra food.
  • Save the vinegar, baking soda (and water) for cleaning the next day


  • Make a pit-stop at the nearest recycling station
Visit the recycling station to throw anything from old textiles and furniture, to electrical appliances, batteries and hazardous chemicals.
  • Clean windows and mirrors with the newspaper/magazines
  • Apply the tips from Plastic Free July regarding cleaning


    • Save the moving boxes, any bubble plastic and other wrapping materials for future use
    • Recycle! :-)
    • Apply the tips from Plastic Free July regarding cleaning the new home
    • Need new furniture? Stop by flea markets or the local thrift stores for used furniture.

    Be sure to check out our simplified checklist.

    Continue to read:
    Earth-friendly and non-toxic alternatives for your dental care.

    Guide to eco-conscious living in the city.


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