Declutter, Pack and Move with Sustainability

With March just around the corner, it may be time for some early Spring Cleaning to declutter and brighten up the indoors before the official season kicks off and outdoor work takes precedence.  Perhaps you or a family member is preparing for a move or downsizing, which will require careful pruning of possessions and organizing.  Limiting the number of boxes you pack by donating, recycling and gifting unnecessary items to keep them out of landfills can also ease the workload for family volunteers, and help reduce your moving emission footprint. 

Many of the possessions older adults have kept throughout the years hold very little interest to younger generations who are not keen on collecting precious figurines, polishing silverware, or holding on to stacks of National Geographic back issues.  The old turntable may have some appeal, as will any vintage grandpa sweaters in good condition.  With a little research, however, much of the clutter can be sent to the appropriate location instead of landing in a giant trash heap on the curb. 

Rather than purchasing new moving boxes and bubble wrap, sustainability experts recommend collecting gently used boxes from deliveries or asking neighbours for donations.  Fragile items can be packed using t-shirts or towels instead of paper or plastic. There are even companies that rent out reusable, plastic moving boxes.  Facebook has become a great resource for giving away items through neighbourhood groups to familiar people who live nearby and can easily swing over for a porch pick-up. 

According to a recent Washington Post report, most moving trucks still used diesel fuel and it will likely be some time before companies can afford to make a switch to electric. Using a moving pod can reduce moving emissions by movers that consolidate multiple loads using a single flatbed truck.  This approach may be best, however, for long-distance moves. 

If you choose to use cardboard boxes when moving, plan to pass them on to someone else, or recycle them when finished.  Many types of tape are not recyclable unless they’re made from paper or other biodegradable content.  You can find compostable and recycle-compatible tape at EcoEnclose and other online retailers. 

Once the moving and unpacking are finished, you can return rented boxes or pass packing materials on to someone else in need, and enjoy a clean, uncluttered new living space.  Keeping it that way will be up to you!