Living the good life + Fighting the good fight

Low-Waste Lifestyle: Moving

There are a few life events that come to mind when I think of wastefulness. These events love to utilize single use products and create a lot of waste that ends up in the landfill. Here are some events that make the list for me: parties (in general), the Super Bowl, both parties and the actual event, holidays (in general), parades, weddings and moving.

Now, I recently moved and, after moving several times over the last ten years or so, I can say that I hate it. Most people do.

The picking up and moving your whole life to another plot of land is just one issue. I also don’t like how much shit that I and others throw away during the moving process.

So, over the years, I have come up with or used a few moving hacks that help me lower my waste while I am moving.

If you are curious about topics that I have discussed under the purview of living a low-waste lifestyle, please visit the “Advocacy” category of my blog and search “Low-Waste.”

Tip #1: Get Rid of Your Shit the Right Way

As I mentioned above, I like to purge my belongings, but, when I do get rid of stuff, I like to make sure that I get rid of these items in the best way possible. I try my damnedest to not throw anything away. I usually have a donate pile, a recycle pile, a giveaway pile and a sell pile. All of those piles are valid and important, but come with some details.

When you donate, make sure you are donating sell-able items to the best organization possible that, in a perfect world, has a fabric recycling system, like Blue Ridge Hospice Thrift Shops do.

When you recycle, make sure those items are in fact recyclable in your county. You can usually check your local government pages to find out what is recyclable or find a fabric recycle box in your area.

The process of giving away and selling items is pretty self-explanatory, but they are also some of the best options for reusing items and prolonging their life cycles. Your last resort should be throwing something away.

Tip #2: Don’t Buy Packing Supplies

Buying boxes and other packing materials can be very wasteful. Obviously, there are some things that you can’t really go without, like tape, even though I suggest using whatever tape you have handy instead of buying specific “packing” tape.

But, you can recycle boxes. I always reach out to my friends on social media to see if I can snag someone else’s cardboard boxes. It’s a win-win situation; you get free boxes that you didn’t have to buy and your friend doesn’t have a stack of boxes sitting around their house. And if you take care of those boxes, you can pass them on to another person after you are done using them!

Another thing you shouldn’t buy is bubble wrap, packing peanuts or any other type of stuffing or protective wrapping. You can use blankets, towels and sheets for most packing dilemmas and, for breakables, you can use newspaper, which can be recycled afterwards.

Tip #3: Wrap Up Your Hanging Clothes in Trash Bags

If you are like me, you have a lot of hanging clothes. To keep these organized and hung up, wrap them up with trash bags for easy storing and transporting. You can then use the trash bags for actual trash afterwards.

This is a good tip because you don’t have to buy specific boxes for hanging clothes and you are saving energy by not having to re-steam or re-iron delicate items that may have been packed into a suitcase.

Tip #4: Buy Secondhand

Moving means a new place and new needs for your new space. Why is it that every time I move it seems like I need something that I had no possible idea that I would ever need? Case in point, we bought a bar cart that was used exclusively for counter space at our second to last rental.

If you need to buy something, try to buy it secondhand. You can check-out your local thrift stores, antique stores, flea markets and yard sales to pick something up in-person or you can hit up Facebook Marketplace and online yard sale groups to lower the cost and waste of energy in shipping and to broaden your search.

And remember, you don’t need to buy all new stuff just because you moved!

There are a lot of events that create a lot of waste and being completely zero waste is not achievable. The best we can do is try our hardest to lower our waste in every aspect of our lives. So, get creative and think outside of the box (get it?) when it comes to lowering your waste. Every little bit of reducing, reusing and recycling is one step closer to living a low-waste lifestyle.


  1. Melanie L Mathewes

    Yes, it is good to recycle boxes – especially when you move. It is sometimes hard to find people who need boxes, but when you do you can often make new friends! It is sort of like Networking through recycling.

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