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I recently moved across the country from Chicago down south to Texas. After living in Chicago for 8 years, I had built myself a nice set of furniture, books, and other “stuff”. Some of it could be cheaply and easily replaced, others were just unfeasible. So I had a dilemma: how do you move an apartment full of stuff, quickly, cheaply, and more importantly, safely for the environment?

Can I PLEASE have your junk mail?

I started by shooting a quick e-mail to my friends and neighbors. I asked them to save newspapers, grocery bags, and any boxes they received from their internet orders. You can shred the junk mail and newspapers, fill up the grocery bags with the paper, and you have a reused alternative to packing peanuts. Just don’t forget to recycle the bags and paper when you’re done unpacking!

Free Cardboard Boxes

Buying a new cardboard box is an unneeded waste of money and natural resources. There many places that you can get boxes from for free after they have already used them. Liquor stores, grocery stores, and retail shops all receive tons of boxes every day, and most are more than willing to give them away. I got mine fromBox the local college fraternities. If the fraternity has a kitchen, they probably get a large shipment of food every week, and all those boxes just end up in the dumpster. Stop by the fraternities and sororities and ask any one of the members, and I’m sure you can get as many boxes as you need.

Brown paper packages tied up with string

An interesting idea for packaging books was suggested by a friend. Rather than fill up boxes and boxes with them, he suggested that I simply tie them with some twine (hemp, of course). While this might not be your preferred method for collector’s items, it is a low-resource way of keeping your books organized and ready for the move. Hemp twine can also be used as an alternative to packing tape for your boxes, and it is much more environmentally friendly than standard packing tape.

Finding the missing green spots

JarOne of the most interesting parts of a move is that it allows you to see a time capsule of your life. You can see the old skins you have shed, and you get a unique opportunity to find new ways to go green. While moving I found two dozen plastic pens, most of which still had ink, none of which worked. For $6 I was able to buy a refillable pen, which I have had for a few months now, with very little waste. I also realized that all of my spices were in plastic containers, and I could replace these with reusable glass jars. Like many people, I grew up storing all the plastic bags that I get from groceries, but I never realized how quickly they add up until I got ready to throw them in the recycle bin, and I decided to get reusable grocery bags.

These are just simple ways I found of “greenifying” my last big move. I don’t have plans to move again anytime soon, but I welcome any suggestions for other ways to make my next move a bit greener.

Guest Post by Ricardo Gonzalez

About the author: Felicia has learned the hard way that health, whether good or bad, is a result of daily choices and habits. On this blog, Felicia shares what she’s learned and the healthier choices she now makes as a result of her new knowledge. She hopes to encourage others to experiment to find alternative solutions to nagging problems (she’s also is a bit of a tree hugger and likes to share ways to lighten the toxic burden on the environment).

in Moving, Recycling, Saving Money