How to Do an Eco-Friendly Move

reusable moving bins crates

Put reusable moving bins to work!

Moving day approaching? Have you considered making your move eco-friendly?

Everything's getting the "green check" these days. Recycled? Reduced? Reused? Well, our very own CafeMom cafemama just did her best to do her first eco-move—a big part of which was renting reusable moving bins, a growing practice recently written up in the NY Times (Moving Day Without All the Waste).

Let's see how it went for this CafeMom.


Cafe Sheri: cafemama, your family just moved to a new home in Brooklyn, NY, and you attempted to make your move as green as possible. How did you do it?


Here's what we did:

  • Rented reusable plastic crates instead of cardboard boxes
  • Used moving trucks that use biodiesel fuel
  • Tried to recycle almost everything we threw away including electronics and textiles.
  • Sold old furniture on Craigslist so it can be reused.
  • Used eco-friendly, low-VOC paint

Cafe Sheri: What was the hardest thing you had to do for this eco-move?

cafemama: Moving is so time consuming and tiring (especially when you have a toddler and a baby on the way) that I had to keep convincing myself that it was worth it to take the extra steps for the environment. It's much easier to just put that old VCR in the garbage than to find an electronics recycling event and make the extra trip to drop it off. I cut a few corners, but overall I'm happy that I took the extra time to try and do the green thing.

Cafe Sheri: What was easier than you thought?  

cafemama: We had some furniture that was still in good condition but wouldn't fit into our new apartment. I decided to try listing it on Craigslist for sale—I'd never sold anything on there before. I was shocked by how many responses I got and how quickly I was able to sell the pieces (though looking back, maybe I priced them too low - ha!)

Cafe Sheri: Now that you've done a greener move, is there anything you would suggest for someone attempting one?

cafemama: I feel like the plastic crates we used made the biggest difference in the move. The moving company we chose provided us with the crates. We estimated how many we'd need, and they delivered them to our home two weeks before the move so we could start filling them. Once we're unpacked, they'll come back and pick up the empty crates. By choosing this moving company, we didn't use 50 cardboard boxes like we did in our last move. Plus we were able to use less packing material since things were better protected inside the hard plastic (no bubble wrap needed!).

reusable moving bins crates

Reusable moving bins can be delivered.

reusable moving bins crates

Hard plastic bins protect your stuff.

I think that green moving companies are a relatively new thing and not available in all areas, but I recommend researching to see if you can find one when you're picking your movers. And even if you're going to be doing the move yourself, you might be able to find a company that will just rent you the crates to use for your move.

cafemama and her son

Cafe Sheri: What greener living effort do you want to take on in 2009?

cafemama: I'm appalled by the amount of garbage my little family produces. I'd like to find ways to reduce our waste. As a first step, I'm going to think more about the groceries I buy and try to reduce the amount of packaging that comes with the food we eat.

You did awesome, cafemama! Thanks for sharing with us...

+++ Have you ever attempted an eco-friendly move? Do you have any good ideas for a green move?

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