We know what you’re thinking: ‘moving house is stressful enough, guys! Can’t I get a sustainability hall pass just this once?’ We’ve just pulled off a house move ourselves and good lawdy do we feel you! But shifting sustainably can actually make the painstaking process simpler and less costly. Intrigued? Read on for our top energy and earth-saving tips for your next house move.
Lighten the load
If you have the luxury of time, consider a big ol’ sort and cull a few weeks before you’re due to move. Less stuff will mean a smaller moving truck and less trips back and forth to your new digs, not only cutting environmental costs but your removalist’s fee. Rehome, donate, or recycle your unwanted goodies and check out our tips for offloading obscure items if you’re not sure who will take them.
Go through your kitchen shelves and refrigerator and take stock of what needs to be eaten before you move. Defrost any freezer meals and eat what you have, minimising your grocery shops and reducing the load on moving day. Even long-life grocery items, like open flour and spice packets, likely won’t travel well, so aim to cook recipes that use up what’s on hand. Meal prepping before the move will reduce costs and wastage from Ubering dinner to your exhausted toosh, when in the thick of the ‘everything hurts and I’m dying’ phase.
Scout the shops
Buying moving boxes new is money down the loo, and trees needlessly hewed. Ask at your local stores for their unwanted boxes or post on Gumtree or Marketplace for donations in your area. Be sure to compost boxes after moving (taking care to remove all packing tape, unless it’s biodegradable too) or pass them along to someone who’s shifting soon. If you simply must have pristine boxes or can’t rustle up any second-hand, choose a variety made from one hundred percent recycled materials.
Pack for the planet
Packing tape, bubble wrap, boxes … It’s amazing how much stuff you need to move all your stuff, meaning more emissions and more waste. Consider using old towels, bedding and newspapers to wrap your items, in place of bubble wrap, and look to a responsible provider of packing materials, like No Issue, where you can source compostable tape and wrapping.
Moving house means cleaning – so.much.cleaning! Reduce the environmental impact by choosing non-toxic, greywater-safe cleaning products in recycled bottles, and compostable rags, sponges, and mopheads. Or better yet, reuse empty spray bottles at home by making your own cleaning products - bicarb, vinegar, and essential oils work wonders – and use old tea towels and t-shirts as cleaning rags. Eco cleaning products are as fantastic for your health as they are for the environment – who wants toxic chemicals and plastic microfibres impacting their home’s air quality? Not us!
Inspire green thumbs
When we last moved, we were so touched that the previous occupants left detailed instructions on how to care for the garden and work the irrigation system. If you’re leaving behind a thriving veggie patch and fruit trees, it would be a shame for these to fall into incapable hands. Leave a note to the new owners, sharing your gardening wisdom. We know that healthy greenery slurps up Co2 and an edible garden can cut down on food waste and trips to the grocery store.
Rethink that upgrade
With moving into a sparkly new home comes the temptation to modernise your furniture, appliances, and home décor but our overburdened landfill sites need you to reconsider. Roughly 48,000 tonnes of used furniture is disposed of kerbside, each year, in metropolitan Sydney alone. That’s the equivalent of 800,000 three-seater sofas or 1.65 million dining tables!
Cheap and shonky retailers selling trend-based furniture have driven the extension of fast fashion’s throwaway culture to homewares. In sum, if it’s still functioning and not falling apart, keep it! If you can’t bear to look at that tiny tear in the sofa anymore, rehome your furniture pieces by offering them up on Gumtree or to upcycling groups on Facebook. If it’s time to refresh, shun furniture trends in favour of sturdy, good-quality pieces that will stand the test of time. And when it comes to appliances, opt for goods with the highest energy and water efficiency ratings.
Moving presents an opportunity to reset and ensure your new home is as energy efficient and sustainable as possible. Consider installing water tanks and solar panels, switch to a green energy provider and demand-response energy program, update your address with contacts and service providers, and elect to receive paperless invoices and statements.
All that’s left to do now is pat yourself on the back for pulling off everyone’s least favourite chore in eco-friendly style. Enjoy your new digs!