17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Moving is not "Green"

At least not when you're lucky enough to have a moving company pack and move you.

The movers wrapped EVERYTHING in paper. Every single shoe, piece of tupperware, stapler, EVERYTHING. I can't tell you how much longer it took to unpack all those neatly wrapped packages. Luckily the girls really enjoyed helping me unwrap. Their excited squeals would make you think it was Christmas morning even though the plain wrapping paper held things like kitchen bowls, my tennis shoes and extension cords.

With their help, I finally got my last box unpacked on Friday. And what I was left with was 75 flattened cardboard boxes and 22 large trash bags stuffed with packing paper. Add to that stack of no longer needed items: a couple of ceiling fans we replaced, a bunch of stuff the old owners left behind, some furniture that didn't fit in the new house, and a whole lot of stuff that would have been donated/sold before the move if we had packed ourselves and you have an extra large stack of "trash".

Here are the avenues I used to keep the majority of it out of the landfills in an effort to make the move a little more "green" (and I even made a little pocket cash along the way).

1. Craigslist - I decided to try to resell our boxes. They were really nice and heavy and had only been through a 38 mile move. I listed them on craigslist and got a call the very next morning. They were all gone an hour after that to a family that was in a bind and had to move quick. I also used craigslist to advertise some other "big stuff" we had to sell.

2. Uhaul's Box Exchange Another resource for buying and selling (and finding free) boxes is Uhaul's Box Exchange. If you are moving or have just moved, you should definitely consider using either of these two services to find boxes or get rid of your boxes.

3. A Good Old Fashioned Garage Sale - I only advertised with a few signs in the neighborhood and a free ad on Craigslist and I made $250 off my unwanted stuff and "trash".

4. Local Used Book Store - $22 in store credit for a handful of my unwanted books. Sweet.

5. City Recycling Center - I was hoping to get rid of all my bags of packing paper on Freecycle but it rained and most of the bags of paper got wet - no longer making it ideal reusable packing paper. Our city recycling center will take the remaining bags of paper and if I take them directly to the center, i won't have to get rid of one per week in our recycling can for the next 20 weeks.

6. Freecycle - I have been a member of Freecycle ever since I moved to CA. I even got a free piano a while back (remind me to ask Tracy M about restoring old pianos). It's a really amazing organization. During my membership I don't think I have ever seen something offered that wasn't taken -- doesn't matter how random or useless the item seems to be. On Freecycle I got rid of an old microwave, an old copy machine (both left by the previous owners) and 8 bags of packing paper (the ones that didn't get wet in the rain).

7. Goodwill - All the stuff that wasn't sold in the garage sale, on craigslist or given away on Freecycle (which was only 1 box and 1 bag of stuff) was loaded up in the car and taken to the Goodwill trailer in town.


  • I have a testimony of Freecyle. Someone took our 40 year old front and screen doors. Who would want that? Someone did. Freecycle is awesome because whoever wants it will come and pick it up, you don't need to haul it...or even leave your house.

    posted by Blogger Azúcar at 10/01/2007 09:12:00 AM  

  • That is so awesome! We have been professinally moved around the country 3 times, and it really is weird to open a huge pack of paper and find some old junk from your junk drawer in your last house. Talk about thorough!

    I LOVE ALL the places you mentioned, and use them all frequently. What a wonderful way to just keep things in use for so much longer. I really want to do a garage sale before it gets too cold this fall to clear out so much of our extra stuff in our basement.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 10/01/2007 09:28:00 AM  

  • Good job. I am so proud of you. And I think I have been to freecycle once and I was too tired...so I am going to try again some day soon.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 10/01/2007 12:58:00 PM  

  • You are an inspiration to us all - thank you for this post! We are moving in 3 weeks (also by prof. movers) and this is a reminder to be smart and green about what we do AFTER the move - selling or donating the boxes is great. I HEART craigslist - we use it all the time. And I just signed up for Freecycle in my area a month ago and have already given away a ton of stuff - so great.
    posted by Blogger Chloe at 10/01/2007 01:24:00 PM  

  • good list, we do all that too. just want to add, if craigslist is big in your area, you might get more response to a free listing put there than on freecycle.
    posted by Anonymous cchrissyy at 10/01/2007 03:08:00 PM  

  • I'm a military brat, and we were always moving. My mom always kept the paper (so long as it wasn't too torn) to color and use as wrapping paper or drawing paper.

    I loved it.
    posted by Blogger SilverRain at 10/01/2007 03:09:00 PM  

  • I call craigslist my "free junk haul away service." To think my rusty junk gets a second chance at life...and that someone actually wants it. And now I can use the green angle to make myself feel all warm and fuzzy...thanks!
    posted by Blogger VirtualM at 10/01/2007 05:06:00 PM  

  • I totally agree with you about professional movers...when we were moving from NYC to DC the movers put like 3 pencils in a box and wrapped it in pounds of paper...yet managed to break my favorite lamp.

    We were able to give our boxes and paper to various people in our ward who were moving. I would have never thought to put it up on craigslist!

    I am all about craigslist and garage sales and consignment shops, but freecycle for some reason scared me. I'll have to give it a shot.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 10/01/2007 05:08:00 PM  

  • When my grandmother moved many years ago, the movers wrapped up her kitchen trash can, still full of trash, packed it in a box and took it for a week-long cross-country trip. She was none too happy when she opened that box!

    I love Freecycle! It is amazing the stuff people will take off your hands and then I feel so good about not adding to the landfill!
    posted by Blogger Sexy Housewife at 10/01/2007 07:34:00 PM  

  • I heart freecycle.
    posted by Blogger Heather O. at 10/01/2007 08:27:00 PM  

  • With our last move we had movers come and do it all, so cool. And while I swear I'll never move with out that service again, there were some frustrations. I didn't know where anything was, so I had to unpack everything to make sure that I hadn't left anything I needed packed. Luckly nothing was broken, but that was a lot of paper. I started folding it because I knew I'd never fit it all in the garbage can, and luckly there was a family moving out of our ward and took almost all the boxes and paper, the rest we recycled.
    posted by Blogger Moddy at 10/01/2007 09:14:00 PM  

  • we always save the paper, too. last move, my mom insisted on flattening out even the most crumpled pieces.

    we were doing a partial move and they managed to snag wet laundry and pack it before we realized what had happen. we were moving from virginia to hawai'i. needless to say, nothing was salvaged, ick.
    posted by Anonymous makakona at 10/11/2007 03:09:00 PM  

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