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Green living has become a way of life for many American families. However, when moving, sometimes those green habits get tossed out. When families are moving, they can take on a “purge” mentality meaning everything ends up in the trash can instead of the recycle bins. Here are some tips to keep your moving habits green:

Use your suitcases. This will prevent you from using more boxes than you need. Moving empty suitcases is a waste of space and time. If nothing else, pack up your toiletries and clothing for the first few days of your move. This will prevent you from having to unpack everything immediately when you get to your new place.

Don’t purchase packing supplies. Get boxes from outside retail stores, grocers or restaurants. Reusing these boxes will ensure that more aren’t made. Once you’ve unpacked your cardboard boxes, donate them to another family in the process of moving, find another use for them in your home or recycle them. You can also rent plastic bins made from recycled plastic from companies for your move.

open cardboard moving boxesIf you’re using a moving company, make sure they are utilizing a “fleet management” or “fleet tracking” system. This will generally cut down on carbon emissions. It will also prevent additional costs because the movers won’t be able to take breaks too frequently, driving up the cost and time of your move. It’s always a bonus when you can save money and be green at the same time.

Instead of using bubble wrap, secure fragile belongings with sweaters, towels, sheets, blankets and other linens. Instead of having to throw away the bubble wrap, you can just unpack more things at once. You’ll also use fewer boxes and bags with this method. There are biodegradable alternatives to using bubble wrap, but they are expensive. Save your money and use what you already have.

Start new habits in your new home. Replace the light bulbs with eco-efficient versions, give your water heater a blanket and monitor your water and electricity usage. Make sure you find out where the closest recycle centers near your new home are. That way you won’t be tempted to toss items because you don’t know where it is. Lastly, consider starting a compost bin at home. This will cut down significantly on what you throw away.

Keeping these times in mind will help you stay eco-friendly even when you’re moving. Most of them will even save you money and time. The time saved will give you extra time to help your family get adjusted to their new home.

Earnest Parenting: helping parents with wise use of resources in a move.