We all probably go through a moving process during our lifetime. Either it’s your office, a new house, going into a smaller or bigger space, in your city, to another city or abroad, the process takes time, energy and money.
Moving can be overwhelming and stressful. Things come out non stop and it is hard to believe we own so much stuff! The good thing is, moving most likely will mean decluttering; the bad thing is that moving generates a lot of trash.
The closer the moving date the higher the anxiety to get rid of what we don’t need and won’t move. We might end up throwing away a lot of useful things that could be recycled, donated or sold.
A couple of years ago I had to move my office into a 3 times smaller space and this year we moved into a bigger home. I am sharing an overview of our moving process which aimed to reduce trash to a minimum.
1. Moving supplier
Either you do it yourself or you hire a company, these tips will help you to reduce trash to a minimum. I live in Peru where no “eco friendly” moving company exists so I met with 3/4 suppliers and chose the one that answered most to my demands. What did I ask for?
– Use second hand boxes and give them back so they can reuse them or sell them.
– For clothes or breakables you can rent wooden boxes or “moving” closets. My supplier had wooden closets so that was great and one less thing to negotiate.
– Use paper instead of bubble wrap for breakables and to fill in empty space in boxes. I asked for recycled paper but in the end it was not 100% recycled. You can use newspaper but it can stain things so use normal paper for the first and last layer.
– Use blankets and ropes instead of plastic wrap to prevent scratches on appliances and furniture.
– A big truck so we do only one trip.
I didn’t know how to replace tape to close the boxes.
2. Break it into areas
Ideally this process should start with some time in advance so you can plan and manage what to do with everything you don’t want anymore. Start dividing your home/office in areas.
In our case for our home we had: kitchen, closet, bathroom, cleaning stuff, furniture and decoration, lighting, books, stationary/ desk stuff, technology (gadgets) and storage.
In your office we had everyone taken care of their working space and we divided the storage, furniture, lighting, inventory and a couple more specific areas to our business that we had.
Go through every area and divide what will be moved from what stays/ goes. If you have the space it is ideal to start assigning areas to all what stays and divided into categories. The visual consciousness of all what needs to be relocated will help!
We assigned space for paper, glass, plastic, electronics, wood, things to sell/ exchange, things to give away, things to donate and trash.
4. Plan ahead
You will be surprised by the extra money you can make selling things, the great satisfaction of finding the right place to donate and the great things you can get for “free” out of a good exchange. All these things are technically trash for you and you were going to throw them away anyway!
Research, ask around, google about stores, facebook groups, local apps and webs that help you find placed to donate, sell, exchange things. There are lots of options out there, many general groups and other specific ones like for music instruments or baby stuff, clothes, gadgets, etc..
5. Manage your clutter
Take pictures and post them in all of your whattsapp groups and on your FB wall too. You can also send an email to friends. Call for pick up or take donations where it corresponds. Take recycling to the recycling points. Start! Do the easiest things first so you stay motivated watching how all the clutter reduces.
This is what we got rid of.
– Paper, glass, plastic we send to organisations that collect these to sell as a fundraising strategy.
– Electronics we took to a recycling point.
– Furniture and appliances we sold or exchanged. Some we gave away to friends that could benefit from them.
– Books. We divided them by interest. Specific ones went to the university library or were offered in exchange for chocolate in book clubs (yum!). Others we donated to local libraries. The outdated ones we send as paper to recycling.
Also, we had some specific things we found a good place to send. These could have been sent to recycling directly but this way they get a greater value and a longer lifespan.
– New plastic cups. It was a shame to send them directly to recycling so we gave them to the “Coconut lady” in the corner of our office. We are trying to convince her to change into paper cups but while that happens these cups will be used before going into trash.
– Wood pieces were taken by our carpenter.
– Egg paper containers were given to an association that uses them to make DIY projects in communities.
– Old maps were taken by a friend who is a teacher.
We aren’t going to lie. Is easier and faster to just throw away things. Taking pictures, posting, assigning prices, coordinating deliveries or pick ups, all of that takes time and energy but it was worth it. Seeing things go to the right person/ organisation was absolutely satisfying and we loved the extra cash we didn’t expect.
We are responsible for where our belongings end. Donate, give away or throw away just to get rid of things is passing along the problem to someone else.
At the end of our move the only trash left were balls of tape and a lot of paper that we organised and reuse for many purposes. We enjoyed the lightness and clean energy in all the new spaces which definitely impacted our new start!
Do you have more ideas on how to make moving sustainable? Any suppliers you would recommend? Or any webs/ apps/ places/ organisations where you can donate/ sell/ exchange things? I promise to organise this info into lists by country so we can help each other in our next move.
PAOLA // Lima