Zero Waste Tips for Moving

Tips to Move Zero Waste

Spread the Sustainable Gospel!

Leaving a home that has seen so many memories was a very hard thing to do. I didn’t realize just how hard until the time came to move our necessities into a truck. This is the longest I’ve lived in any one house so uprooting from the familiarity of this home started a grieving process for both me and my husband. We both graduated college while living in this home – our little blue cottage. We got married while living in this home. We brought Ollie home from the hospital to this house. So many memories.

Why is it as humans we tend to gravitate towards focusing on what we have to give up rather than what we have to gain from change? Do we all do this? There are several reasons why we decided to uproot some of them being for the sake of Ollie’s future. A new location means safer streets and better schools and I think as any parent we sacrifice our feelings for the prospects of a better life for our children.

This new home will allow us to have more space for gardening and urban homesteading, we will have less “yard” and more unmanaged wooded growth, the home is more energy efficient reducing our overall costs, and we are closer to farmer’s markets and bulk stores which is great for our way of life.

Moving was hard but you know what wasn’t so hard? Moving while reducing the need to create waste. There are several ways to move without needing to buy a ton of new boxes, rolls of packing tape, bubble wrap, and dealing with all of the items you have found in your home after 10+ years.

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Zero Waste Tips for Moving

Use What You Already Have

I call it “no fuss storage” because I think it’s a great idea to use all of the containers you already have around the house to fill up with stuff.

  • Laundry Baskets
  • Buckets
  • Wicker Baskets
  • Dresser Drawers
  • Large Cooking Pots
  • Pillow Cases
  • Cloth Bags

Using these items to fill with more of your belongings truly maximizes your “pack space”.

Find Secondhand Boxes

This is an easy tip and will reduce your moving costs. Get your boxes for free from grocery stores, your work, or from big-box chains. These places are constantly getting boxes from shipments which always end up in a dumpster or compactor. Trust me – I know. I use to be in charge of shipping for a retailer and when someone needed boxes to move, I could definitely hook them up with about any size they desired. Call the store’s shipping department ahead of time to see when they receive their trucks then verify if it’s ok to collect the empty boxes afterward. There are even companies like Rent A Green Box who are offering a no box solution to your move altogether – if you’re in certain parts of California.

Once you are done with the boxes you can:

  • Fill them up with donations – trust me you’ll have a bunch you’ll want to get rid of.
  • Use them to ship packages
  • Let the kids get creative
  • Break them down and take them to the nearest recycling facility.


Use Reusable Packing Material

Don’t buy a bunch of bubble wrap for breakable items. I assure you there are plenty of items in your home that will work better and save you the money.These items have to move, too so they might as well be put to good use.

  • Washcloths
  • Bath Towels
  • Tea towels
  • Cloth Bags
  • Clothing/Socks
  • Blankets
  • Save up old newspaper and wrapping paper
  • Scarves

I used all of our wash clothes and kitchen towels to wrap our dishes and glasses. Bedding also worked great to protect the TVs during transit. I also used towels to pack the boxes enough so that items didn’t shift while being moved.

Quarter Fold Your Boxes to Avoid Tape

Fold your box by overlapping each flap and tucking the last flap into the beginning side. This closes the box securely without needing to use tape.

To ensure your boxes strength:

  • Don’t pack your boxes too heavy – evenly distribute heavier items amongst several boxes paired with lighter items.
  • Place a cookie sheet at the bottom of the box to add extra strength.
  • Pack the boxes on their sides and carry them on their sides.

Use Paper Tape if You Have To

If you still feel more comfortable using tape, try to use Paper Tape. I have a bunch on hand because of the Plastic-Less shop so I used it a few times for some extra security.

Pair Down

This is a great opportunity to reduce the amount possessions you own. As you pack, sort out all items based on three categories: keep, sell, donate. The items you plan to donate take directly to the thrift store, charity shop, or local charity drop off location – this is less you have to worry about moving and unpacking.

“Green” the Transit

Photo by YIFEI CHEN on Unsplash

How you move your items from point A to point B is also very important. Most moving companies use diesel guzzling moving trucks that aren’t so great for the environment. So, either hunt for a green moving company or at the very least, rent the right size truck for the amount of possessions you are moving. Shoot, there is a company in KC that will move you by bicycle. Ultimately, you want to make the least amount of trips possible to reduce the over all impact of carting your items to your new home. Going through the “purge” before moving reduces the amount of things you need to move in the first place.

How do you avoid the waste while moving? What tips do you have?



7 thoughts on “Zero Waste Tips for Moving

  1. When I was moving in New York City I used craigslist to find someone who was giving up their moving boxes for free. Many people put their boxes there after the move. And I used it again to give them a third life with someone else’s move. This is another great solution to keeping it circular. (Craig’s list was also great for getting rid of stuff before the move to now take unwanted clutter to our my new place.)

    • That’s an absolute fantastic tip! I might use it myself to get rid of some of the items I’m parting with. 🙂

  2. It is a very advantageous post for me. I’ve enjoyed reading the blog. It is very supportive and useful information. I would like to visit the post once more its valuable content. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.

  3. Hi Magean, what you have shared is indeed amazing and these tips will definitely help in zero waste. You are really thinking about the environment and I respect the efforts you have invested in sharing these. Keep up the good work!!

  4. Another option is to rent reusable boxes. Local companies in many cities will deliver reusable plastic moving crates to you and pick them up when you’re done.

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