Moving into a new house can be incredibly wasteful. Packing boxes, bubble wrap, wrapping paper, packing peanuts, tape — the list of disposable materials involved in the average move goes on and on. And unfortunately, packing materials only comprise a fraction of the waste involved in most relocations. Excessive move-related fuel use, thrown-out belongings, and household waste also have negative consequences for the environment.

But here’s the good news: If you’re concerned about your environmental footprint, your upcoming relocation doesn’t have to be so wasteful. It’s possible to conduct a much more eco-friendly relocation if you’re willing to get creative and resourceful.

Below, you’ll find a collection of easy-to-implement, eco-friendly moving tips that can help you make your upcoming move a bit greener.

1. Opt for Reusable Packing Containers

What kind of packing containers are actually reusable? The containers you already have! No, we’re not referring to the old moving boxes you may have kept around from your last move. We’re talking about the reusable bins, boxes, and bags you probably have sitting around the house.

While those items may not actually be designated for packing specifically, they’ll certainly hold your things and they’ll definitely cut down on the number of cardboard packing boxes you need. Any “container” that can accommodate a fair amount of stuff will work, so get creative! You can use:

  • Duffel bags, gym bags, and tote bags (reusable shopping bags work great!)
  • Suitcases
  • Dresser drawers (just leave your clothes in them rather than taking clothing out and packing it separately)
  • Plastic tote boxes
  • Large, sturdy baskets
  • Five-gallon buckets

If packing in a (clean) trash can doesn’t weird you out, you can even use your trash receptacles as makeshift containers. Simply insert a bag and fill the can up! Large, sturdy clothing hampers and laundry baskets with handles also work well for transporting things during a move.

2. Use Household Items as Protective Packing Materials

Need to protect dishes, collectibles, and other fragile items during your move? If you’re willing to get a little creative, you might not need wasteful bubble wrap or other wrapping materials at all! Many protective packing materials aren’t recyclable, so the more you can cut down your need for those items, the greener your move will be.

What might you have lying around the house that can function as packing material? Start with:

  • Blankets
  • Towels
  • Comforters
  • linens

If you run out of the items above, soft clothing can provide an absorbent cushion for fragile items too. If you do end up needing to purchase other packing materials, you don’t necessarily need to toss them out when you’re finished moving. Check out to find a recycling facility near your new home where you can take your used packing supplies.

And read up on these other budget-friendly packing ideas that can help you save money while being kinder to the environment, too.

3. Gather Used Packing Supplies

Don’t have enough creative packing supplies lying around your own house? Ask friends and family if they have any old boxes or packing materials in storage. Alternatively, you can check out Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone in your area is giving away used packing boxes from a recent move.

You can also ask around at local grocery stores and box stores to see if they have any old boxes out back, but be aware that box quality may be questionable. If you get old boxes from retail stores, be sure to perform a quick weight test before you use them for your belongings, just to make sure they’re sturdy enough to protect your things.

4. Cut Down on Fuel Waste by Consolidating Trips

Throughout the moving process, there are several things you must do that’ll involve some amount of drive time. Gathering packing materials, taking things to a storage facility, and running all of your other move-related errands will inevitably waste plenty of fuel if you don’t plan your trips strategically.

Whenever you need to leave the house for a move-related task, ask yourself if there are any other tasks you can squeeze in while you’re out. The more you can accomplish during each trip, the less fuel you’ll ultimately waste. 

5. Donate Unwanted Belongings

Although tossing unwanted items in the trash is the quickest way to get rid of them, it’s also the most wasteful way to offload all the stuff you don’t need. Keep more trash out of your local landfill by choosing to give away or sell your unwanted belongings instead. If you’re short on time or don’t want to make an extra trip, find a local donation center that offers pickup service and have them come to you.

6. Hire a Professional Moving Company

Professional movers and packers are specifically trained to conduct efficient relocations, which means they know how to keep waste to an absolute minimum. A moving company will also consolidate trips to your home and find the most efficient route to your destination in an effort to conserve fuel. What’s more, when you hire full packing services, your movers will collect any recyclable packing materials you no longer need/want and drop them off at the appropriate facility.

While hiring professional movers will certainly involve a more substantial investment than doing everything yourself, it’s well worth the cost. Check out the many benefits of hiring a moving service to learn more.

Not sure what to look for in a quality moving company? Check out our tips for hiring movers in the Midwest for some helpful info.

7. Bring Unwanted Dry Goods to a Food Bank

If you’re hiring a moving company, be aware that food may be one of many non-allowable items, depending on the type of food it is. And even if they can (or you’re handling your relocation on your own) moving food may not be the best idea.

Not only do dry goods take up space and add more weight to your load, but there’s also a chance the packaging will break in transit. And if it does, you could end up with a major mess inside the truck or trailer that’ll only add more to your move-related workload.

If you choose not to take dry goods to your new home, you can donate unopened items to your local food bank. In doing so, you’ll help cut down on the 113 billion pounds of food waste the U.S. generates annually while giving low-income families a few much-needed (and appreciated) meals. If you have unopened perishables, you may be able to donate those, too.

8. Use Recyclable or Biodegradable Packing Materials

If you choose not to use reusable packing containers, you can still make your move more eco-friendly by remembering to recycle rather than toss out your packing supplies. Boxes and packing paper are both recyclable, and certain types of packing peanuts are, too.

If you’d like to take your eco-friendly efforts to new heights, you may even be able to find compostable cling wrap that can be used to secure several types of items during your relocation. When you’re finished unpacking, simply toss the cling wrap in with your food and/or yard waste, where it will naturally decompose over time.  

9. Pare Down Your Possessions Before You Move

The more stuff you pack and load onto the moving truck, the harder the vehicle’s engine will have to work to transport your stuff. And the harder the engine must work, the less efficient it becomes, and the more fuel it runs through to get your belongings where they need to go.

When you downsize before you move, you’ll end up taking less stuff with you. And the less you take, the more you’ll cut down on the emissions generated from both your moving vehicle and any personal vehicles you drive to your new home.

Ace Moving & Warehousing: The Twin Cities Moving Company You Can Count On

Need help with your upcoming relocation? When you want a moving company you know you can trust, look no further than Ace Moving & Warehousing! We specialize in local, intrastate, interstate, and international moving and have proudly served the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area since 1958.

To learn more about our services or get a service estimate, feel free to give us a call today at 763-755-2045 or request a moving quote online, and we’ll reach out with more information.