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.


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.


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.

Why You Should Pack Your Kitchen Last For More Eco-friendly Move

When you want to have an eco-friendly move, you do things like using reusable moving bins and finding containers around the house to help save on moving supplies. One thing you may not have thought of though is that you can increase the eco-friendliness of the move by packing your kitchen last.

This is because you’ll be more likely to eat up the last of the food before the move rather than throwing it away and you won’t be relying on extra take-out where you’ll be throwing away wasteful Styrofoam containers all week. For these reasons and more, packing the kitchen last will allow you to have a more eco-friendly move. Take a look at the best way to pack your kitchen and why you should do it last.

Less wasteful pantry and fridge

One major perk of waiting to pack your kitchen until last is that you’ll have the ability to cook at home for a longer time before the move. Moving often means there is going to be a lot of take-out and not enough home-cooked meals.

Saving the packing of the kitchen until last means you’ll have access to your utensils, pots and pans, dinner plates, and knives all of the way up until right before the move in order to cook regular meals and finish up the food you still have in your fridge.

While you can take your pantry items with you, many people end up tossing them or giving them away which means you’ve wasted money on them and you’re spending money eating out when you have food at home that could be made. The eco choice would be to not waste that food still at home and to avoid eating out when you could be cooking.

Avoiding paper plates

When you do decide to order pizzas and Chinese delivery, you end up buying waste paper plates and plastic cups instead of using what you own. This means you are tossing away more environmentally harmful items and killing trees to provide you with dinner plates.

Instead, you could use your own supplies at home and cook meals up until a day or two before the move to ensure you don’t have to buy plastic and take-out. When the whole family teams up to prepare meals the week of the move and then pack the kitchen up last together, everything still gets done and you got to enjoy waste-free homemade dinners all week.

Simplify and pack the kitchen

When it’s time to start packing the kitchen, you’ll first want to make sure there is nothing you may want to donate that you don’t use anymore. Then you can start sorting things by the essentials, like silverware and the coffeemaker, to the seldom used, like the platters and vases, in order to pack properly.

If you pack the things you rarely use first, then you can leave the items you use daily in a more accessible way. Pack things like the fine china, cookbooks, platters, and pitchers separately from things like the cutting knives, dinner plates, bowls, and glassware. Then make sure you prepare a bin of things you’ll use when you arrive, such as dishwasher detergent, sponges, kitchen towels, and coffee filters, in a handy place so that you can get into your new kitchen without missing a beat.

You may be tempted to pack the kitchen first since it can sometimes feel like the hardest room to pack, but save this one for last to contribute to a more eco-friendly move.

packing up and moving the kitchen last

How to Get Creative With Packing Materials

When it's time to move, it's time to protect the environment during your move. This means you may need to get creative with your packing materials. Sure, you can just rent some green moving boxes, but there are other options to help compliment your rental boxes.

A child climbing a mountain of Chicago GreenBoxes

If you're preparing for a move and you want to make sure it's eco-friendly, you need a few tips. Here are a few great ways to get creative with your packing materials.

Use Suitcases & Bags

You probably own suitcases, duffel bags, backpacks, and other bags you can use to pack some of your things. These don't have to be used just for clothing. Smart movers will use their suitcases to pack clothing with fragile items protected by the clothing.

When you use your current bags and suitcases, you can save on boxes, but you can also save on bubble wrap. Let your sweaters, blankets, and towels help pad the bags and protect your fragile items.


You probably have plenty of furniture with drawers. Nobody says you have to leave these empty. You can remove them to make the furniture easier to move, but you can also pack these drawers and slide them into the furniture once they are in the truck.

Another way to go is to use plastic wrap for each individual drawer. This can allow you to turn each drawer into its own type of box and give you some easy packing materials to work with.

Garbage Bags

They may not look pretty, but packing with garbage bags can allow you to pack a large number of things for super cheap. You can use heavy duty black garbage bags for things, such as blankets, bedding, pillows, hangers, toys, and more. You want to use them only for lighter items and don't pack anything fragile in a garbage bag.

Hit the Dollar Store

There are so many things you can pick up from the dollar store for packing. Some dollar stores actually carry packing materials for super cheap, but others may have super cheap cloth rags or towels you can use for packing. Get creative with what they offer, and you might cut your packing supplies budget in half.

Reuse Old Wrapping Paper

Do you have extra wrapping paper from the holidays? This can be an excellent choice for packing paper to help fill in gaps and protect items. Whether it's still on the roll or you saved it from gifts you received, it can work great for packing materials.

Other ways to get creative with your packing materials include:

  • Yarn - Use it to help pad items you pack in boxes, suitcases, or drawers.

  • Sandwich Bags - You can use sandwich bags to hold smaller items.

  • Junk Mail - It's great to use as packing paper.

  • Popcorn - Just like the packing peanuts you've seen, you can pop popcorn and use it to protect items when you're moving.

There are many creative ways you can go about packing for your move. While not every choice on this list is entirely eco-friendly, compared to spending a large amount of cash on cardboard boxes and packing materials, you'll have a more eco-friendly move with these tips. Of course, mixing any of these ideas with eco-friendly moving boxes will go a long way to making your move friendly to the environment.