5 ways to move house – the Zero Waste way!

Filed in Blog by on January 29, 2016 3 Comments
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how-to-move-house-the-zero-waste-wayOver on Facebook, Ali mentioned she was hoping to move house soon and she was after ideas for making it as Zero Waste as possible.

Ali was already using boxes leftover from a friend who had recently moved house.

Instead of using sticky labels, she’s writing on boxes with a marker pen.

Charity bags that have come through the door (despite a sign on the letterbox asking NOT to leave them!) are going to wrap breakables and she’s been saving bubble wrap for delicate items.

As ever, our community of zero heroes were full of brilliant suggestions:

Paper based tape

Ania suggested keeping a look out for paper based tape as Audrey pointed out that even if you just tuck the tops of boxes in, you still need to tape the bottoms.

Reuse newspaper

Heather suggested old newspaper for wrapping china and ornaments.

Wax markers

Kathe mentioned wax markers instead of sharpies for making boxes. (I’m assuming that’s a Chinagraph pencil in the UK?)

Reuse textiles

Hannah and Laurie suggested using bedding, towels and clothing for wrapping delicate items. Hannah explained “that way you don’t need bubble wrap or paper.”

Garden twine

Samantha came up with a great alternative to tape. She wrote “Garden twine instead of tape to tie up boxes. You can compost it afterwards and it doesn’t leave sticky residue on your things.”

What about you? What suggestions do you have for Ali to help her move home without creating unnecessary waste?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (3)

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  1. Flo says:

    1. Clear the decks and don’t take stuff you haven’t used for years. A good clear out to the charity shop, on Freecycle, sold on Gumtree or wherever. You don’t want to be paying for storage for stuff you haven’t used since you can’t remember when.
    2. Don’t take furniture that won’t go into the new place – measure the door and ensure it will go through. And if you order something new make sure it will go in! You’d be surprised at them as don’t she says laughing.
    3. Run down the store cupboards in the weeks coming up to the move – you can go shopping for food when you get there and really understand the kitchen space you have.
    4. Measure the windows and use curtains that you have for a period – you need to get the feel of the place before you splash out good money on curtains. But do make sure that you have the carpets down well in advance of moving in and cover them to prevent a lot of dirty footprints.
    5. Find out what days the bins are emptied – you’d be surprised at how much clutter you will find even if you are really hard on yourself. And get to know the local household waste disposal site – you’ll have stuff that no-one wants no doubt.
    6. Label boxes so that you can find things easily.

  2. Lorna says:

    Having moved to 12 flats & houses over 35 years I agree with all Flo says but label or mark boxes 3 places – a short side, a long side & on top & ask everyone helping that no matter how they are stacked one side or the top must be visible!

    I also number boxes & put room but make sure everyone knows which bedroom is which or tape a note on the doors. The numbers can go on a list or notebook with which room they came FROM, rough contents & which room the box is going in. When you try to remember where something is you can usually remember which room it came from in the old house especially useful if you have different rooms I.e. I had a dining room & utility in one house but most of the contents went into the kitchen of the next house.

    And yes, really try not to move or pay to move things you don’t need in the new house. Last time I sold a dressing table & chest of drawers & sent to furniture recyle shop a wardrobe that were too large scale for this house etc etc.

    Give away to friends or charity shops books you have read or won’t refer to again also magazines to friends or doctor/dentist/hospital waiting rooms. Books & magazines weigh tons!
    You could use old magazine pages for wrapping stuff I have not used newspapers for the last couple of moves as print gets on everything which means mugs & plates etc etc all needing washing again & you can do without extra jobs! Like the idea of using towels or tea towels etc for packing as well.

    Lastly also run down the freezer contents, as Flo says restock at the new house don’t pack more food than you have to & plan on fish & chips or something first night anyway.

    Good luck with the move!

  3. Philippa says:

    Agree with being careful using newspaper. Parents had some glasses wrapped in it for years – I do mean tens of years – and the print seemed to have etched itself into the surface. I wouldn’t worry with a short while though! It needs to be folded afterwards or you are in danger of missing something that is still wrapped up.

    Run down the freezer and the cupboards as much as you can before you move. Reassess what you possess and whether you want to move everything or can give away or sell anything before you go.

    Love the way many people will advertise their used boxes for re-use once they have moved on local forums eg Streetbank.

    If you tape the tops of boxes closed you can write across that tape and it is removed when you unpack. Using paper labels on the sides also means that you can label on top of label when the boxes are used again.

    Make sure you know where the kettle tea milk biscuits and breakfast cereal are. You’ll need them in both places and someone always seems to manage to pack it for you when you want it left. Stick a note on the ones that are to be left until last! Same with cleaning things. Otherwise someone ends up shopping and getting things you don’t want.

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