Published on June 7, 2019

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Photo by Cody Guilfoyle

When you’re gearing up to move, you’re likely thinking about your vintage ceramic vases that will require four layers of Bubble Wrap so they’re safe and sound. Or remembering to write out the check to the moving company. Or how you’ll style your next place.

There’s a good chance you’re not thinking about how to ensure your move is eco-friendly. But as it turns out, moving day is a prime opportunity to make an environmental impact, at least according to Danny Seo, sustainability expert and host of NBC’s Naturally.

Seo sees the copious cardboard boxes and nonbiodegradable packing tape and knows there’s a better way.  “Let’s talk about the big picture here: All the stuff you’re hauling,” he says. “Moving time is a great way to get your Marie Kondo on, but it also means you aren’t given carte blanche to fill up a dumpster.”

That’s right: Moving is the perfect opportunity to assess your possessions and donate what you can. “The more you can purge, the better,” Seo advises. “This lightens the load of what you’re taking to your next place, and it also means using less cardboard, Bubble Wrap, and packing supplies.”

After you’ve made a Goodwill trip (or two or three), here are some more ways to achieve an eco-minded move.

Take to social media

Seo recommends an unexpected first stop for moving-day prep: social media. In particular, he suggests using Freecycle, where you can connect with locals giving away items for free. “Try to find people who just moved into the community you’re leaving and see if you can have their ample supply of boxes, Bubble Wrap, and paper,” he says. “They probably have no idea what to do with it, so you can reuse it and then pass it along wherever you move to someone who is moving out.”

Get creative with packing supplies

If you’re taking along a TV, Seo has come up with a cleverly green way to pack it up. “Most of us don’t save the boxes our TVs come in. But you can visit your local electronics store and ask for an empty box with all the packing supplies inside,” he advises. “This will keep your TV secure, and you’re reusing what the store would have thrown away.”

Opt for ground shipping

Shipping stuff to your new abode? Seo advises being patient. “If you’re going to ship anything, do ground shipping,” he says. “Sure, you want your Vitamix in your new place right away, but overnight shipping means planes. Ground shipping means trucks. Guess which one uses way less fuel and costs way less, too?” 

Rent containers  

Nowadays you can discover lots of moving companies that offer plastic bin rentals, which eliminates the need for all that cardboard. Seo notes, “Commercial moves often involve tough plastic containers that are way more durable than cardboard boxes. And you can rent them, too. It means less Bubble Wrap and more things that can go into boxes.”   

Give away your plants  

We’re guessing you love your houseplants, but they also require a lot of boxes and packing supplies to go from point A to point B. Instead, Seo suggests an alternative: giving them away to family and friends. “It’s a pain to box up plants, and often they just don’t make it to the next home,” he says. “But don’t toss them. Give them to someone who will love them, and then get new houseplants when you move into your new digs.”

See more tips on moving:
How to Move Lamps and Light Fixtures
Moving Tips It’s Time to Learn
10 Tips That Will Help Make Your Move Easy and Stress-Free

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