Thursday, May 29, 2008

Our Green Relocation - A Movement in a Few Parts

Yes, we are moving. And like many in our demographic (youngish, no kids, a few moves already under our belts), and despite our vows to do otherwise, we have managed to accumulate too much stuff....again!

Our last move from Los Angeles to New York was certainly not - we drove 2 cars cross country, used a moving company that should have been featured on a Dateline NBC scam expose, and we brought WAY TOO MUCH STUFF.

So this will be our second move across the country, and since we are definitely older, and therefore would also like to consider ourselves wiser, we have vowed to embark on the most environmentally-friendly relocation possible. The bottom line is that our goal is to lighten our load considerably, but also to throw away as little as possible.

In this series of blog installments, I will candidly detail our experience, offering tips along the way for those of you also facing a move (or just looking to get rid of some stuff without the help of the local landfill). Feel free to follow along and find creative ways to reduce and reuse your belongings as well!

Phase One - Net Reduction

I borrow this phrase from a dear friend, and over the next few weeks, we plan to become rock star net reducers, ridding ourselves of anything we don't consider crucial and/or sentimental. I am planning on a few arguments with my husband over the definition of sentimental - he still has a collection of stuffed animals from when he was a wee tyke as well as every cassette mix he's made or received since middle school.

Flock of Seagulls and Men Without Hats?
Together on one mix? Sweet!

We have started the net reduction process by going through our belongings in storage. You know, the ones you forgot you even had and mostly wonder why you kept in the first place?!

Our quest for less began where else - the basement! In our case, not in our basement, since we live in an apartment, but in my husband's grandfather's basement. We got started by making some piles:

1. Keep
- see criteria above

2. Sell - still in good shape, but not worth the expense or carbon footprint created by a 3,000 mile transport.

3. Give Away - There are plenty of charities like Goodwill ready and willing to take anything you can't easily sell. There are also several internet groups like Freecycle that allow you to post your belongings for the taking.

4. Recycle - And I'm not just talking about the usual stuff either - paper, plastic, glass etc. I'm talking about cd covers, computer parts, a stereo, and even some of my exercise DVD's.

"Not the comic books!!"

5. Toss - Yes, sadly some products like household hazardous waste and old medications (which somehow always end up stored together) will have to be thrown out. I will cover how to safely do that, too.

Next week, we start the process officially by having a moving sale and swanky stuff swap of all of our "precious belongings" marked to sell or give away. I will detail both of these "events" in subsequent blogs, so stay tuned for more of our green moving adventures!

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