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Move Green, Save Green. Stop Using Cardboard!

Posted Oct 03 2009 11:00am

Having recently moved, I can attest to the fact that moving can be super stressful. You are basically moving your entire life from one location to another. While it may sound like moving is a one day event (move date), we all know the moving process can take over your life for the week before you move and week after you move. Moving is stressful, complicated, and wasteful, but it doesn't have to be that way. I've put together a list of things you can do to simplify your move, reduce your stress, be kind to the environment, and save some green.

1) Call the utilities and schedule cancellation dates for the phone line, electricity, water, garbage, and water. Do this at least one week in advance so you're not worrying about it close to the move date.

2) Contact the US Postal Service to schedule a change of address. You can also change your address online using their Official Change of Address Form. You want to do this at least 1 week in advance of your move because sometimes it can take longer than a week to get the change in their systems. While we are talking about mail, put your name on the junk mail removal list so you don't receive mail your going to throw away.

3) Don't move what you don't need. Go through your stuff and sell what you are not using or don't want any longer on Craigslist. You can also give away your unwanted items for free using a cool website called FreeCycle.

4) Move using recyclable or reusable packing materials. The average mover uses 100lbs of cardboard per move. With 46 million people moving annually in the United States, the amount of cardboard being used once and then discarded is alarming. In addition to the countless trees that are being cut down to create all the cardboard boxes used during moves, cardboard is filling up our landfills. Nearly 30% of the trash at landfills is cardboard. One option is to go dumpster diving for used cardboard boxes, however keep in mind these kinds of boxes often will have dirt and bacteria that most people wouldn't want to get into contact with their personal belongings. A better option is to use reusable moving boxes from my San Francisco based company, ZippGo. ZippGo creates reusable moving boxes from plastic trash that would have otherwise gone to the landfill. ZippGo reusable boxes can be used approximately 500 times before they are recycled and turned into new ZippGo moving boxes. We deliver boxes to our customer's home one week before their move and pick them up from the new address one week after they move in. All of our deliveries are made using trucks fueled by environmentally friendly biodiesel. The best part? Not only does using ZippGo reusable moving boxes get your move done faster while significantly reducing your environmental impact, but ZippGo moving boxes cost less than buying cardboard boxes.  Renting moving boxes from ZippGo can cost up to 50% less than buying cardboard!

5) If you are hiring movers, make sure your movers are licensed. You want to make sure the people you are entrusting to move and care for your precious belongings know what they are doing and can reimburse you in case there is an accident. Ask for references or check review websites like Yelp to see what kind of experience other people have had with the moving companies you are considering.

6) Label your boxes and keep like items together. In the rush of packing, many people just try to fit whatever they can into any open box. While this seems fine when you are rushing to get things packed in time for the scheduled moving day, it can create enormous frustrations once you've moved into your new place. Its best to keep items which were together in your home, together in the box. This will make finding them easier once you unpack. Also, label all your boxes so you know where to find all our things without frantically searching through every box.

I can't promise that following these tips will make moving fun, but I will promise they will reduce your stress and make the process easier before and after the move.

-Ash Sud (Founder of ZippGo)

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