We are all bombarded with the social guilt to make our lives green. Often this means spending more money or reverting to pioneer living. Moving can be a series of disposable items, expensive supplies, and lots of big vehicles. This can make the prospect of a green move seem daunting and expensive. If you take the time to plan ahead a bit you can choose a greener way, and often save a little bit of money at the same time.

Green Your Boxes

There are a few ways you can do this. The cheapest, and most obvious option is to get free boxes that would otherwise be thrown away, and then paying them forward. Many people use services like Cragslist.org to pass moving boxes around until they are too worn to use. If you get a box on its last leg, cardboard recycling is easy to access. If you are using a moving company who insists on new, uniformly sized boxes you can rent a reusable version, often through the moving company itself. If you do purchase new disposable boxes, consider the ones made from recycled materials and be sure to recycle or pass them on when you are done. If you have items that get moved from storage to storage, such as Christmas decorations or children’s mementos, consider investing in plastic storage boxes. They are greener and more convenient, since after sitting around for years cardboard boxes are rarely fit for a move.

Green Your Padding

Try killing two birds with one stone, pack your crystal candlesticks in your towels or your coffee mugs in your undershirts. Since this can take up a lot more room than bubble wrap, you can also use newspaper to wrap dishes and other fragile items. If you need to use something like packing peanuts, consider the cornstarch based type. They can be reused or dissolved with water. There are certain items that really are packed best with bubble wrap; be sure to recycle or reuse it.

Downsize

The fuel used by your moving trucks has one of the largest impacts on your move’s footprint. The two biggest things you can do is make less trips and use a smaller vehicle. The best way to facilitate both of these things is to get rid of the things you do not really need. The fiscal upside to this is that fuel is one of the biggest expenses, especially for a long distance move. There are a few ways to get your stuff pared down. The first, of course, is to get rid of anything you don’t need. Donations to the Salvation Army or a local shelter can take care of clothes, furniture, and any household items. If you have a stockpile of non-perishables and are going a longer distance, give them to a foodbank or soup kitchen. If you are downsizing all around you may have larger and more valuable items that you can’t or don’t want to move. Try selling them on Craiglist.com or have a yard sale.

Moving is always a good time to clean out and get rid of the things we inevitably accumulate. It can be difficult, but it feels clearing out your space.

Chances are, there are people out there who could use your old dishes or maternity clothes more than you can. Think of your move as a fresh start- clear out the old to make room for the new.