Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Moving Doesn't Have to Be Wasteful

I have to admit something. When I was packing up my apartment back in June, I had a lot of I-should-just-throw-this-out moments.

You know what I mean. You're standing in your kitchen tossing utensils and cans of kidney beans into a box and you come across something you can't imagine bringing to your new place. Maybe it's a half-full box of pasta or a stray teabag. Who knows.

Either way, you're so exhausted that the very prospect of carrying eight ounces of pasta or a half-ounce teabag the thirty feet out to the moving van seems like a serious waste of energy.

I think it happens to everybody, but I'm happy to say that I resisted the temptation to trash everything and start over. Instead, I mustered up the strength, put everything I had into boxes, and moved it all to my new apartment. I didn't toss a single thing out...except for one mostly dead aloe plant that someone ended up rescuing anyway.

And I have to say, moving those extra few boxes really wasn't bad, especially when you consider that I probably saved myself a fair amount of money by keeping those useful things.

Mind you, I did give a lot of clothes and shoes to Goodwill, but I didn't ditch everything in the dumpster.

THIS, I must point out, is more than I can say for the guy who moved out of my building last weekend. I've never seen anything like it. The day he moved out, he scrapped the following:
  • a beautiful vintage couch (which got rained on before I could put up an add on Craigslist's free section)
  • an antique radio
  • curtains
  • sheets
  • a drying rack (this is mine now, I needed one)
  • books
  • nice wooden hangers
  • a bucket (mine now, too)
  • a plant stand
  • a cooler
  • and much, much more
It was ridiculous. He threw away things he surely could have used in his new home, like food and hangers, as well as things he could have donated or sold to other people. It was really sad.

But why be sad? Moving doesn't have to be wasteful because the following resources and organizations can help you make your next move more eco-friendly.

  • - Connect with people who are giving old moving boxes away.
  • - Buy moving boxes that have been rescued from large companies that might otherwise recycle them or simply throw them away.
  • Freecycle - Give your unwanted things to others who will cherish them. Note that people give moving boxes away on this site ALL the time.
  • Craigslist - Sell unwanted items or create a post in the "free" section. You can even do this for stuff you're leaving in your alley.
  • Goodwill
  • Salvation Army


PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

We have four people in our extended family moving this month, so I hear you. My daughter lives in an expensive town where young people generally don't stay too long when they find out they can't support themselves on $8/hour. They seem to have an informal system of passing really good stuff on to newer residents.

Even worse than throwing personal stuff is all the waste in the medical system. Much is packaged in one use packaging, yet when a person dies, the system can't take it back to be sold or given to others. It is thrown out OR informal systems develop to get the stuff and pass it on to needy people. I'm talking about supplies, not medications.

imaluma said...

When the elderly woman died next door and the house sold, items started appearing in the alley. To date we have rescued: Two vintage standing hairdryers (one of which will be converted into a floor lamp)set of teal vinyl kitchen chairs (the matching table was already destroyed, boo), phone chair with formica table top, boxes of kitchenware, two antique sewing machines (one has been lovingly rehomed on its way to Brooklyn, NY thank you craigslist) and a late 40's GE Fridge that still works.

Lisa Sharp said...

That is so sad!! I can't believe what people will throw out.

J Majors said...

This is very neighborhood-specific, but Alcala's at Chicago Ave and Wood St. has a big 'corral' out front titled "Moving Boxes - Free" where they deposit shipping boxes for people to take as needed. What a great idea! No, I don't actually need a scorpion belt buckle, but I will find something to purchase there someday to say thanks!

Azura Skye said...

Really nice to read your recent blogs. You inspired me to live a life less plastic too, so thank you for that! blogging can be tiring, I think once a week is enough :)
take care

Ashley said...

This is one of my biggest pet peeves! I am always shocked and disgusted when I find someone has moved out of the apartment complex and filled the dumpster with perfectly usable goods. Especially here in Portland. It's pretty common to have free piles left on the side of the road. And it doesn't take long for them to disappear! But the sheer laziness of some people is beyond me. I've seen whole apartments in that dumpster. Sad.
I've even had the chance to tour our local transfer station and seen truck loads of beautiful reusable things be dumped in a huge pile to be carried off to the landfill. I'm so glad the transfer station here does their best to sort and even allows local artists to come in and rummage.
Another thing I'd like to comment on is giving to Goodwill. Goodwill gets SO MUCH and they are a wonderful place to BUY from but even some of their stuff ends up in a landfill at times or a third world country. I would encourage to seek out local shelters, church groups, basically anyone else within your community to reuse your unneeded treasures.
Thanks for this post!

Patti said...

I assume you used tape to close your boxes? If not, what? I guess for short-distance move you could interlock the top/bottom, but do you have any thoughts/ideas securing boxes?