When moving, it’s easy to be green

By: Elizabeth Scussel | C&G Newspapers | Published May 14, 2014

METRO DETROIT — The days of tossing cardboard boxes, bubble wrap and packing paper while transporting belongings in gas-guzzling moving trucks may be numbered.

“Everyone seems to be more conscientious with taking steps towards a greener life,” said Lisa Gaber, of Two Men and a Truck moving company in Sterling Heights. “We use recycled packing paper and partially recycled cardboard boxes in our moves.”

Experts say that just minor tweaks in the moving process can have a huge effect on the environment, and perhaps your wallet. They suggest selling and getting rid of unwanted stuff before the move. It may result not only in spending less money to move, but it may also put some extra cash in your pocket.

If you don’t want to sell your things online or at a garage sale, an alternative would be hiring a professional company to deal with your unwanted items. Linda Hiller Novak is an associate broker at Max Broock Realtors and co-owner of Right Moves for Seniors, a comprehensive move management service.

“We started the company to help seniors who are moving and overwhelmed. They would ask, ‘What do we do with all this stuff?’ We help them downsize, declutter and organize,” Hiller Novak said.

Items removed from the house are then taken and sold at the Right Moves Consignment Shop in Berkley. The service, which was originally implemented for seniors, is available for all ages and living situations.

Hiller Novak explained that another green option is repurposing furniture. For example, if you can’t use a dresser in your bedroom, she said, use it as a TV stand and utilize the drawers as storage.

Another option to keep things green is to buy used cardboard boxes from moving companies. Most companies prefer customers use new boxes to ensure stability, and most cardboard boxes get tossed after only one use. However, Gaber recommends being extra careful when taking the route of used boxes, as they could be contaminated.

There also are companies that rent reusable totes and packing crates, which can reduce or eliminate the need for cardboard boxes. Also, experts suggest using newspapers, sheets and towels to protect fragile items, which can cut back tremendously on bubble wrap and packing paper.

“Also, when you’re done moving, don’t immediately toss your boxes into the dumpster. Ask around. Maybe your neighbors, friends or people at church will need them. If not, recycle them,” Gaber said. “Don’t be quick to just throw everything away.”