Storage & Organizing

How to Have an Environmentally Friendly Move

How to Have an Environmentally Friendly Move Expand options

Whether it is for a new job, the evolving needs of your household, or just because you are ready for a change of scenery, there will likely come a time when you will need to sell your house and move. You are not alone: Approximately 31 million Americans move every year, with the average U.S. resident moving 11.7 times during their lifetime. However, you may also be wondering how to have an environmentally friendly move. 

Some circumstances are beyond your control, for example if you need to transport your belongings from Arlington, VA to Carlsbad, CA. Fortunately, there are many ways you can offset your impact on the environment.

1. Travel light

A suitcase with clothes being packed


By packing as little as possible, you will keep your moving expenses and environmental impact low. 

Keep any redundant items out of the landfill by gifting them to your friends and family, selling them whenever possible, donating them to local organizations, or recycling if they are past their useful life.

2. Keep packing eco-friendly

Moving generates a staggering amount of waste: No less than 900 million moving boxes and 90 million pounds of wrapping paper are used every year. Whenever possible by using materials you already have on hand, such as plastic bins, baskets, and so on. Instead of using plastic wrappers, protect fragile items by using newspaper or towels and dishcloths. 

You could also rent moving boxes instead of buying them. You can ask businesses or your local community for used boxes rather than purchasing new ones. Once you reach your destination, recycle any material, or offer it to someone who may be moving, too.

3. Dispose of hazardous material wisely

You will likely come across some long-forgotten items while packing. Some of them, such as old paint or cleaning products, are considered hazardous and should be disposed of properly. Consult the regulations in your town before putting them on the curb. If some of the products are still usable, ask some local organizations if they have any use for these products.

4. Avoid unnecessary travel

The more you travel back and forth between your old and your new home, the higher your carbon footprint will be. About 40% of movers stay within 50 miles of their previous home, and it is tempting to move little by little rather than hire a larger truck and a moving company to move all at once. 

However, you can help the environment by carefully planning your move and avoiding unnecessary travels. Instead of multiple small loads, favor one large one instead. You can also take advantage of the advances in technology to eliminate some trips in the moving process. For example, set up virtual apartment tours with your real estate agent instead of visiting every single property in person.

A bunch of boxes by the window in a home.


5. Make your new home environmentally friendly

Starting afresh in a new house is the perfect occasion to make your abode as green as possible. Replace old appliances and light bulbs with energy-saving ones. You can also set up a compost station and hire experts to assess the level of efficiency of your new property. Both your wallet and Mother Nature will thank you in the long-run.

Moving is an excellent opportunity to start a new chapter in your life and set up good habits from the get-go. Whether you are moving close or far, using a traditional real estate agent or a discount broker such as Redfin, there are plenty of opportunities to make your move eco-friendly.

Author: Ben Mizes

Ben is the Co-Founder and CEO at Clever Real Estate, the nation’s leading real estate education platform for home buyers, sellers, and investors.

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