Somehow, we ended up moving house this year. It kinda just happened. I was determined at this point in our green journey to try and make moving house as eco-friendly as possible by using all the advice I’d gained from Beth Terry (myplasticfreelife.com) and Bea Johnson (zerowastehome.com).
These two ladies combined have changed by whole outlook on life, from wanting to go plastic free to wanting to declutter 80% of our possessions (yes, really, this can/should be part of all zero-waste lifestyles!)
Apologies for lack of photos..moving house doesn’t leave much time for this!
Start with your loft/attic/roof space.
If ‘it’ has been up there for more than 6 months, ask yourself some hard questions. Do you need it? Do you love it? If the answer is no then you MUST consider selling or giving the item(s) away, or recycling it where possible. I have primarily used facebook to advertise and give away items, the most unlikely of friends requesting that they would like them. Gumtree has also been useful for this.
I have to admit, every weekend for about two months we have also taken a trip to our local dump. At the dump you can recycle, donate to charity, and put everything that is unfit for use or recycle into the main waste bin (this is our very last port of call). It has been a long journey but I finally feel like our dump trips are coming to an end.
Remember…what you don’t have, you don’t have to pack up and move house with…you don’t have to ask yourself ‘where is this going to go??’ when actually, you would rather not have the item at all. Be ruthless! ONLY keep things you need or love, don’t go sentimental over what Aunt Bertha gave you 10 years ago and feel you can’t throw out even though you have always hated it.
During your decluttering/moving house, people will still try to give you things, and you will be tempted whilst in the shops. Say no! ONLY accept new things if it is a NEED in your life. Things you love need to wait until you have moved house and know where you will put the thing and can make a decision in a more rational frame of mind!
Use the power of social media to enhance your chances on the second hand market…usually, someone who has recently moved house will be only too willing to give you their intact boxes! I’ve also found out that if you employ a removal company to pack or ask them for boxes, you return boxes for them to be recycled. So ask around removal firms in case they have boxes (they’re usually good strong ones) that you can use.
Hooray! It’s finally arrived – your chance to have fully recyclable packing – plastic free packaging tape! Check it out at theplasticfreeshop
Think about moving day – what’s your plan for meals? Don’t forget that as much as you’ll want to get done on the one day, you’re only human and generally will be more productive with some food in your tummy to keep you going. In our case, we had planned that no matter where we’d got to, by 6pm on moving day we were going to go to a friend’s house for dinner before recommencing our work. This worked marvellously as it gave us a time to aim for and took one less thing off my mind to think about.
Having dinner sorted out, we only needed to ensure we had drinks and snacks, and for that, we had our trusty Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottles with water and a box of baking from my mother-in-law (who also happened to have the children for the day!) 🙂
Thus we avoided the ever enticing lure of the takeaway on moving day. We were staying in a different house for the night of moving day so we had the next day to get all the consumables we needed and everything sorted out for our new house to be in living condition (which was fortunate, because the next day I was working at school!)
Extremely useful top tip – pack your kettle, tea/coffee making things and a couple of cups in an open box and take this in the car not van so you can immediately use these in your new abode! Also useful is to keep washing up liquid, tea towel, hand towel, toilet roll and soap in this box so everyone can use the facilities upon arrival. As it turns out, the lovely people we had bought our house from had left toilet roll, soap and cleaning things for us, but this you would never know until you walked in the front door.
As you get mail through the new door that is redirected, be aware that this is an ideal opportunity to unsubscribe to mailings which clutter your house, your bin and your mind. (And in all likelihood will make you want to buy something you really don’t need). So instead of just changing addresses for those sending you ‘stuff’, tell them in whatever way possible that you don’t want to be receiving it any more! Under new GDPR rules, if you say ‘no’, it means ‘no’ and they should not be sending you anything against your will.
If you choose to use moving in as an excuse to get to know the new neighbours (we did), remember they may see this as an excuse to give you a present (a kind thought). The problem being, of course, that they may not know you are on a path to a greener, more eco-friendly life, and give you something you really don’t need/want/have room for. We were fortunate in that we received mostly food items, plants, or gift cards. Perhaps what you could do is put on the invite to your housewarming ‘no presents please’, or something like ‘donations to X cause welcome’..or even better, ‘byob’! I’m not an expert in social etiquette but I’m sure you could come up with a way of suggesting something appropriate to your neighbours!
I hope these tips from our moving experience 2018 will be of some use. If you have any top tips of your own, let me know so I can share with others!