Tamara Groen, co-editor of Portsmouth Green Party’s Shades of Green blog, shares her top tips for moving house in an environmentally-friendly way, and celebrates the role of her friends and family, local community groups and free resources in making her move a less stressful experience.
Moving house is one of the most stressful things a person can experience. I am sure I read it on an internet listicle, so it must be true.
In the past three months, I have:
- moved all my worldly belongings and crap into storage.
- moved all my worldly belongings and crap out of storage 8 weeks later into my new Pompey home.
- moved my mother-dearest from her home of twenty years in Devon to my new Pompey home
- travelled by train to The Netherlands (#NoFly2020) to help my mother-in-law move house within her local area.
That’s a lot of packing of boxes, hiring of vans and moving of people and their stuff.
My move was the only one I had any real control over and I was determined to make it as environmentally light as possible.
We did our own packing and moving. This was primarily because it was cheaper than hiring professional movers but also because I wanted to keep the materials used and waste generated within my control.
This meant using as little plastic as possible, not buying new and reusing and recycling after the move.
It wasn’t a perfect move by any means, but I did my best within my limited budget (pats self reassuringly on back).
Here are Tamara’s (somewhat obvious) Top 3 Tips on How to Green Your House Move:
Tip 1: Eco Packing Tape
If you stop reading after this tip, that is fine by me. Because you will now know that paper packaging tape exists and that you can buy it in Petersfield from plastic-free shop Refill and Replenish for £2! I bought a ton from online eco-shop Anything But Plastic as Refill and Replenish hadn’t yet started stocking the paper tape – and though I bought loads, I still managed to run out. You are going to use a crazy amount of tape. So much tape. Might as well make it plastic-free. There’s no excuse now you know.
Tip 2: Collect (LOTS OF) SECONDHAND Boxes and Newspapers
I managed to not buy any bubble wrap. Not one roll! Of this, I am very proud and owe to friends and neighbours who collected newspapers and bubble wrap for me to use.
I started collecting boxes long before I moved house. My partner, The Dutchman, has moved his work office a number of times in the past few years and after each move, I have collected the cream of the crop of the discarded archive boxes. He thought I was crazy. I knew my day would come.
I kept a beady eye on online reuse sites such as Freegle for offers of moving boxes and also posted a few requests. I sourced most of my boxes through Freegle and some Freeglers also kindly messaged me with tips on where to get boxes, particularly Lidl and PC World.
And now I have moved, when I am unpacked, I will offer out the useable boxes to others to be reused via Freegle.
The used newspaper will be recycled at kerbside as I unpack, which I am doing…slowly.
Tip 3: Tap Into Your Community
Collecting a plethora of boxes, newspaper and packaging material would not have been so easy without the support of others.
One friend donated a load of bubble wrap she had been saving. Another collected newspapers from the neighbours in her apartment block. One volunteered her husband to help on moving day. Another friend let me stay in her flat while she was travelling and we needed a place to stay for a month whilst our house purchase went through. One loaned her garage for my excess stuff to be housed while I staged the house ready for sale. My cousin who was visiting from Trinidad on training for work helped us lug furniture from storage to the new house.
After the death of her beloved nan and the clearing of her belongings which she writes about here, Emma kindly gave me towels and bedding and other linens to use as packaging material. As they were not good enough to be donated for use by people (i.e. it had rips or was stained or had faded), I was gifted them with the strict instructions that once unpacked, I must donate them to The Stubbington Ark for their animals. In the midst of her grief, she would send me texts checking if this or that would be useful for my move. And she helped me move on moving day. Words cannot begin to say how valuable her help and support was. I couldn’t have done an eco move without her.
I tapped into the local Zero Waste Facebook community when I needed help and advice. As mentioned above, Freeglers gave me their boxes and advice. So many boxes.
And finally, when my mother-dearest’s ridiculous oversized antique armchair couldn’t get through the front door, local joiner and carpenter Aaron of Aaron’s Wood ‘N’ Stuff took it apart and reassembled it, saving it from my exasperated idea of taking a hammer to it. My mother-dearest and her armchair thank you Aaron.
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Green Party’s Shades of Green blog.