Eco-friendly storage tips during your move

You don’t have to feel like your move is going to cause waste when it comes to both the landfills and to your budget. Eco-friendly moves are actually the best way to combat waste and it makes better financial sense too. If you plan to use a storage unit during your move or need ideas for better storage of your items, you can use these eco-friendly storage tips for your upcoming move.

Choose eco-friendly materials

If you plan to get a storage unit in between homes, you’ll likely want to pick up some storage solutions within your unit to better organize and protect your belongings. That is why you should look for recycled storage options rather than the traditional hardwood bookshelves or plastic storage bins.

They make plastic storage from recycled grocery bags and recycled cardboard storage options too. Talk to an eco-friendly moving company about utilizing their green moving boxes with are reusable plastic containers that will serve you without causing any waste.

Chicago green box and the professionals collaborate together

Reuse what you have

Take a look around your house for things that can be reused. If you are packing your reusable green box with things that need organized, you can reuse things around the house like shoeboxes and egg cartons to help with this. If you have milk crates or pallets where large items are delivered to you, you can repurpose them into a way to stack in your storage unit.

You can also use things you already own instead of purchasing more storage options. For example, your wine crates could be used for holding books or vases, while your suitcases can be used to hold out-of-season clothing or shoes.

Plastic ties over packing tape

If you do have times where you need to secure something and you’re tempted to buy packing tape, try to utilize plastic ties instead. You can secure curtain rods, cords, hoses, and small items with zip ties. Make sure you buy reusable ties.

Wash the eco-friendly way before storage

If you have things that need to be washed before they are stored away in boxes or a storage unit, you can be eco-friendly in the way you clean them. Put clothing, bedding, towels, and other linens in the washing machine using cold water, and then avoid drying in a typical clothing dryer. Instead, hang everything to dry and you’ll find between the cold water and the air drying that you’ll save a great deal of energy usage.

Use up ingredients

Instead of packing and storing your pantry, take the time to try to use up most of your food. Think of it like shopping at the grocery store but in your own pantry. Try to get creative with meals and use up as many ingredients as you can to avoid food waste, save money on meals, and have less that needs to be packed away.

Donate before packing

Lastly, consider going through all of your things and donating, selling, or discarding things as needed before packing everything away. You may find that there are things that could be sold for extra cash, while other things could be donated to someone who really needs it. Discard anything that can’t be donated and then the packing process will be much simpler.

Use these tips to ensure your moving storage will be much more eco-friendly!

3 ways to donate household items when you move

If you’re getting ready to move from one house to another, you’ve likely realized that not everything needs to go to the next home. Whether you prefer to buy new furniture for your new space, you are changing climates and need to get rid of clothing, or you had a pile of things that you hadn’t gotten around to donating, there are plenty of opportunities to get rid of your things without throwing them in the trash.

You’ll feel good about donating to someone else that can get use out of your items while avoiding contributing to the landfills. Here are 3 ways to donate your household items when you move.

How to donate your old furniture

Unlike your usual run to the local donation center when you get tired of old clothes, your furniture is going to require more effort to get it donated. If it’s something you can donate with your own vehicle, you can likely find a Goodwill drop-off center by using the online Goodwill Locator, call the Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore to see if they will accept it, or talk to Salvation Army about drop-off centers in your area.

You’ll need to inspect the furniture to check for damage because many locations will not accept anything with missing parts, stains, rips, or things that don’t work properly. Make sure it is in good condition and clean.

You can also check with these organizations if you need someone to pick up the furniture as well, as some organizations have pick-up services. Talk to Donation Town, a database for local charities that will pick up furniture for free, as well as Freecycle, an online community in which people give away their goods to others, or The National Furniture Bank Association, which provides furniture to families in need around the country, to see if your items could be of use to anyone there as well.

What about appliances and electronics?

Now that you’ve handled the big items, you’ll likely wonder where you can take small appliances or electronics that you’ve decided to part with for the move. Goodwill and Salvation Army will take working small appliances and may even accept your larger appliances. You can also check online at Excess Access, a donation website where you can post thing like appliances, and you can be connected to local charities that can use them.

Your electronics are a wonderful thing to donate for many reasons. An organization called Cell Phones for Soldiers takes gently used cell phones and provides free communication services to serving troops and veterans. There is an organization called Get-Well Gamers Foundation where kids in hospitals will be provided with donated video game systems and games.

Additionally, organizations like HopeLine from Verizon, Lifecell Project, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence need donations for things like cell phones, accessories, and office equipment to help those in need around the world.

Clothing and other general items

clothes donation box

Lastly, when you have a pile of things like books, clothes, shoes, and kitchen glasses that you need to get rid of, you’ll have plenty of options for where to donate. Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Volunteers of America are a great place to start for charities that accept general goods like these.

You can also donate clothes specifically to Dress of Success and Alliance of Career Development Nonprofits. Check out Better World Books for book donations and Bikes of the World for your old sports and fitness equipment.

Don’t throw away the things in your home that you are one with. Contact local charitable organizations and homeless shelters to see if your things could go to people that really need them. You’ll feel great about the donation and in some cases, you can get a tax deduction too.

How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint in Your New Home

When you are preparing to move into your new home, you may be ready for a fresh start and to make some new changes to your routine. That’s why this is the perfect time to start thinking about how you can reduce your carbon footprint as you enter into this new chapter of life.

reduce your carbon footprint icon

While you may have slacked off on recycling before or had a bad habit of leaving the lights on when you left the room, this is the time to start making changes. Along with starting these new habits, here are some other great ways to reduce your carbon footprint going forward.

Reusable packing supplies

Before you even move in, you can start going green by choosing reusable moving boxes over those traditional cardboard boxes you’ve likely used in the past. Choosing a green move is the first step is reducing your carbon footprint and making better decisions in your new home.

These types of moving boxes are made of plastic and they work like a traditional plastic bin you’d buy at the store when needing storage solutions around the house. These are great for protecting your items more efficiently while avoiding any waste that would come with buying cardboard boxes and other one-time use packing products. You can just rent the amount you need from your moving company and they will pick them up for you after you’ve settled in.

Reduce energy use

Now that you’re home, it’s time to start reducing the energy use around your new home. By starting these habits now, you won’t even realize you are doing it. Start by unplugging your devices more regularly. Even if your device is not charging, it will suck energy just by being plugged into a socket.

You can also make simple changes around the house such as switching to LED lightbulbs, turning off lights when you leave a room, and hanging laundry to dry rather than using the dryer. Check your insulation and weather-stripping to make sure you aren’t losing air conditioning or heat, while also making sure that your heating and cooling ducts are sealed.

Be sure to turn off appliances, shut curtains, moderate your thermostat, and minimize energy use by buying energy-efficient equipment and appliances. You can have an energy audit done to see what other areas could be causing any wasted energy.

Plant a garden

Did you know that something as simple as your home garden can reduce your carbon footprint? Since plants absorb carbon dioxide to help humans, and green spaces help to cool off cities that are experiencing too much heat from all of the concrete and pavement, you can make a difference in your neighborhood. If you can plant trees for shade, it will help your energy bills, but a downtown apartment could benefit from a community garden or green roof.

Eat local, fresh food

You may not have thought about how your food consumption affects your carbon footprint, but by eating local, you’ll save the environment for experiencing the harmful effects of shipping food from out of the area. In addition, food closer to you is healthier and fresher.

Food that has waste fuel to be transported to you will usually be picked earlier causing it to be less fresh and might be processed which could have harmful chemicals in the food. Eating local supports local farmers which will support your local economy. You also may want to consider eating less meat so that you can contribute to a smaller need for greenhouse gas emissions.

Recycle

Lastly, the easiest way to go green in your new home is to start recycling. Once you start this habit, you’ll find yourself trying to do it everywhere you go, from the office to travel. You can search online for ways to recycle unique items like furniture.

By making more conscious decisions about everyday tasks, you’ll find that you’ll start to naturally reduce your carbon footprint. Use these tips to get started with your upcoming move!

What it Means to Have an Eco-friendly Move

You’ve planned for your upcoming move when it comes to your professional relocation and your family’s new home, but have you considered how you will handle the details of the actual move? Now is the time to start preparing for your move and making the decision to make it an eco-friendly one.

This means that you are making choices along the way that will allow you to help avoid waste, cut back on moving supplies that harm the environment, and hiring movers that do everything in their power to contribute to an eco-friendly move. Take a look at what it means to have an eco-friendly move and how you can do this in your decisions.

Use what you already have

The first thing you are going thin you should do is buy dozens of cardboard moving boxes, packing peanuts, and other moving supplies to pack up all of your things. Then you will most likely throw them in the trash after you’ve unpacked in your new home.  This is a big mistake if you want to have an eco-friendly move.

Instead, make the first decision to use what you already have around the house to start packing your things. That means that you are taking bags, trash cans, bins, baskets, laundry hampers, and suitcases to pack your things first before buying new boxes for your move.

Suitcases are perfect for transporting clothes or even books since they can roll away heavy items out of the home. Baskets and hampers are perfect for your bed sheets, toiletries, clothes, and other items. Trash cans can be cleaned and used to hold all kinds of things in your household.

If you have bins or bags laying around, these are going to be perfect for holding a variety of things. Use trash bags for your hanging clothes while vacuum seal bags can pack bulky bedding and winter coats. Use Ziploc bags for small items.

In addition, you may have items in the home that work in place of packing peanuts and bubble wrap. Use blankets, towels, socks, and newspaper that you already own to pack things like fragile glasses, fragile household items, and filling space in boxes.

If you have received boxes throughout the year when you’ve purchased an item at the store or had something shipped to you, save those boxes to be used for the move.

Rent Plastic Moving Boxes

You probably won’t have enough suitcases, spare boxes, and other things around the house to pack up everything you own. For the rest of your items, make sure you rent plastic moving boxes that can be reused by someone else when you’re finished moving.

By renting plastic moving boxes, you’ll keep your move super eco-friendly. These boxes can be reused and don’t have to be thrown away after you move. Plus, they hold more weight than cardboard and stand up better in bad weather.

Donate what you don’t need

Another decision to make before you move to make a more eco-friendly experience is to simply move less stuff. This can be done by making the decision to donate, sell, or trash things you don’t need any more or things that are not serving your family.

Gift things to family and friends, donate things you don’t need any more like children’s toys, books, and food, and sell things that you wouldn’t like to get out of the house but the cash could be beneficial to the upcoming moving expenses. Take the time to go through your things to donate, sell, gift, and dispose of unnecessary things so that you are moving fewer things to the new home.

Recycle

Whatever you still require for the move, be it moving boxes or packing supplies, be sure to recycle it at destination rather than throwing it in the trash. You can even take someone else’s recycled moving supplies and use it for your own move.

Use a green moving company

An easy way to make sure you have an eco-friendly move is to hire a green moving company. They will help you from start to finish with a green move. This means that they will do things like using bio-diesel for their green moving trucks, using GPS to plan for the most fuel-efficient routes, consolidate shipments when possible to save resources, and supply you with eco-friendly packing materials like re-usable plastic bins.

Hiring a green moving company will be the easiest way to ensure you are moving to a new home without wasting a thing and in the most efficient way possible.

When you make decisions like these along the way, you are choosing an eco-friendly move. Avoid the waste this year with your household move by going green from start to finish.

Chicgao GreenBox Facebook Cover image - moving green with Chicago GreenBox

Top Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies to Use During Your Move

When you move to a new home, you probably assume you don’t have many options when it comes to the supplies you’ll need to use and the cleaning products you should use when it comes to cleaning the home you’re leaving and freshening up the home you’re moving into.

In reality, you can choose to have an eco-friendly move that will still allow you to keep chemicals out of the cleaning duties you have to perform. That also means you can be more eco-friendly in the packing process too. Take a look at the eco-friendly cleaning supplies to use during your move and how to have a more eco-friendly move overall.

Pack with eco-friendly supplies

The first way to make your move more eco-friendly is to choose eco-friendly resources for your move. This means hiring a moving company that is focused on going green so that you can count on everything from eco-friendly moving trucks to moving supplies.

eco-friendly moving supplies available at The Chicago GreenBox

Your green moving company can supply you with reusable moving supplies to pack your things with that actually end up protecting your items even better than traditional cardboard boxes and packing peanuts.

Using reusable supplies like plastic bins, bubble wrap, and furniture blankets will keep waste down while still giving your things proper protection for a fraction of the cost of buying everything yourself for a one time use. You can even look into using supplies from someone else who has recently moved that wants to find a home for everything they’ve purchased to be used again.

Buy eco-friendly cleaning supplies

Next, you’ll want to stock up on some eco-friendly cleaning supplies. You’ll not only be cleaning the home that you are leaving, but you’ll probably want to put your own touch on the new home too. This means choosing cleaners without harmful chemicals. Avoid traditional cleaning supplies like bleach that will contaminate the air.

Instead, purchase the ingredients you’ll need to make your own supplies or purchase from a brand that is already eco-friendly in their products. You’ll want supplies like baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, and water to mix into different types of cleaners. With spray bottles, sponges, and rags, you’ll have a great set of cleaning supplies in no time.

This will also reduce the waste of disposing of the supplies you buy and throwing them away afterward since you can reuse the containers and supplies you’ve purchased to make more. This will help you avoid creating airborne pollutants for the family and pets moving into your home, and will allow you to clean some of the chemicals on the surfaces of your new home that your family is about to move into.

Other essentials to have on hand

In addition, to choose eco-friendly moving supplies and cleaning supplies, it’s going to be helpful to pack a bin of essentials that will help you during the moving process. Pack a bin of medical supplies, tools, cleaning products, kitchen essentials, and bathroom supplies in order to avoid having to buy something at the last minute that you already own.

Keeping things like a first aid kit, your pots and pans, a shower curtain, disinfecting wipes, and a screwdriver at your disposal will come in handy as you move into your new home. The more you prepare, the less you’ll have to waste because you can’t find something when you really need it.

Eco-friendly disposal

You may have things in the move that need to be disposed of, such as moving supplies you’ve received from someone else that you didn’t need or potentially hazardous supplies that were in your previous home that need to go.

You’ll want to talk to your moving company about what items need to be disposed of rather than moved, such as propane gas, paint, and industrial cleaners. You can recycle any unused moving supplies that are not reusable. The more you choose to go reusable, the less you’ll have to dispose of later.

You can have a more eco-friendly move by making eco-friendly decisions in how you pack and what you purchase. Make sure to stock up on some essentials to help reduce waste and remove chemicals during the moving process.

Make a Difference by Using Green Moving Boxes

Recycling your cardboard boxes after moving is good enough, right? You're still being eco-friendly and helping the environment, at least that's what you think.

You've seen the stats and you know that each ton of recycled cardboard and paper will save 17 trees, about 7,000 gallons of water and free up 3.5 cubic yards of landfill area. This is why you recycle your cardboard boxes after moving but are you really making the difference you think you're making?

Your Recycling Might Not be Recycled Anymore

Due to changes in China, as detailed in this article from The New York Times, when you recycle cardboard, plastic, and paper, it may still be going to the landfill. Since China no longer accepts "foreign garbage" and a large portion of recycled materials from the U.S. were sent to China for processing, your cardboard boxes from moving may end up in a landfill, even if you put them in the recycling bin.

Not All Cardboard can be Recycled

In addition to the fact that your recycling may end up in a landfill, not all cardboard can be recycled. If it gets wet or has something spilled on it, you may not be able to recycle it. This means if you move and it rains or snows on the day of your move, you may end up with boxes that have to go in the garbage, not the recycling.

A pile of destroyed cardboard moving boxes

Just because you plan to recycle cardboard moving boxes after your move doesn't mean you're moving in the most eco-friendly way. Not to mention, the process to manufacture cardboard moving boxes isn't even close to environmentally-friendly.

Manufacturing Cardboard

When cardboard is created, every step of the process produces hazardous gasses. These gasses are sent out into the air every single day. While recycling cardboard has helped to eliminate about half of these gasses, not using cardboard at all will eliminate even more.

Manufacturing companies are starting to look at the way they create cardboard to emit less of these gasses. However, they are not the only ones that have to do their part. When you move, you don't have to use cardboard boxes. You can choose green moving boxes made to be reused instead of recycled or thrown away.

Why Choose Green Moving Boxes?

When you use cardboard, you risk ending up with boxes you cannot recycle. In addition, a wet box could lead to damaged items. With green moving boxes, you don't have to worry about rain or snow, as they won't be weakened by moisture.

Green moving boxes are produced once and used hundreds, if not thousands of times before needing to be replaced. A cardboard box is only used once for moving, and then either tossed in the trash or in the recycling, which may end up in the trash, anyway.

If you want to move in an eco-friendly way, don't think that recycling your cardboard boxes is enough. While it may seem friendly to the environment, you may not be able to recycle all your boxes and your recycling may end up in a landfill, anyway.

Instead, choose green moving boxes to ensure you move in the most eco-friendly way possible. These boxes don't get recycled because they get reused. They are rigid and will better protect your belongings, along with better protecting the environment.

3 Tips to Live More Eco-Friendly After Your Move

After moving in an eco-friendly way and using Chicago green moving boxes, why not continue the trend? There is no better time than when you first move into a new house or apartment to live a more eco-friendly life.

You don't need to make massive changes to become more environmentally-friendly, either. Little changes to the things you buy and use can make a big difference, especially over time. Here are three tips to help you live a more eco-friendly life.

Conserve Energy at Every Corner

One of the best things you can do is set up practices in your new homes for energy conservation. For example, if you're not in a room, shut off the light. This may seem easy, but it's not easy if you're not in this habit.

In addition to simply turning off lights and other things you're not using, you can invest in eco-friendly devices and appliances. If you're buying a new house or remodeling the kitchen, buy the highest EnergyStar rated appliances to ensure you'll consume less energy. You can also do this with electronics and many other devices within your home.

Switching to LED light bulbs will also make a difference. LEDs last longer than a conventional bulb and they use less energy. This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to help make your home more eco-friendly.

Not only will conserving energy help you to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, but it will also help you to save money. With the right energy conservation practices, you may even see a noticeable difference in your monthly energy bills.

Recycle as much as Possible

Recycling is a great way to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle and many things can be recycled. Just about everything made of plastic can be recycled, along with batteries, paper, cars, and so many other things.

Before you decide you're going to throw something out, consider whether it can be recycled. If you live in a condo or apartment building and they don't offer recycling, find your nearest option for dropping off your recycling. You can also lobby the management staff to provide recycling, which would help to make your entire building more eco-friendly.

Along with recycling, be aware of the products you buy and what they are packaged in. Buying less plastic and less Styrofoam make a difference. When you shop, use canvas bags for your fruits and vegetables and bring reusable grocery bags.

Start Shopping Local

When you buy local, you're living a much more eco-friendly lifestyle than you might imagine. Buying local means the products were likely made and bought much closer to home, which means they didn't leave a carbon footprint to arrive in the store. Farmer's markets, local grocery stores, small businesses and artisans carrying goods they made themselves are all good options.

In addition, when you shop local, you'll be supporting the local economy.

These three tips are just the start of becoming more eco-friendly. There are several other small changes you can make in your new home to ensure you're living the most eco-friendly life possible. It started with your eco-friendly move with Chicago Green Boxes and now it can continue with your new home.

green living sign