Greening Your Move

Greening your move

Moving means a lot of work, and it also usually means a lot of waste: cardboard boxes, tape, newspaper—and that’s on top of all the things we throw out.  But moving green doesn’t have to take a lot of work.  Here are a few ways to keep your move carbon-low, clean, and eco-friendly without breaking your back or the bank.

Ditch the cardboard for green moving boxes

Sourcing your moving boxes from an eco-friendly company can actually save you a lot of time and labour. Instead of hunting for cardboard boxes at your local stores or LCBO, companies like FrogBox,, or CityBoxes will deliver twenty to thirty solid plastic moving boxes right to your door, for fees ranging from $80 to $109 to start.  Eco-friendly moving boxes are designed to be reusable, sturdy, and to close tightly and stack with ease, making your actual moving day that much less stressful.  And even better, green moving box companies will just pick up the boxes from your new address once you’re moved in, which means no need for the awkward balancing act of making a good impression on your new neighbours while clogging their recycling room with your endless cardboard.

As well as the social benefits, the green benefits here are multifaceted: no one needs to pulp trees for more cardboard box production, nothing ends up in a dump site, and the #2 plastic currently favoured for plastic moving boxes is recyclable, too.

Swap your cleaning chemicals for the non-toxic solution

Green cleaning products are more and more available in Toronto.  When you’re doing that last big scrub of your old place—and that first, pre-move clean of your new one—swap out the bleach and chemicals for a more eco-friendly version.

Local stores like Grassroots, with both an online store and a Danforth storefront, have whole sections for biodegradable cleaning products that work hard and smell pretty great, too, and will do bulk refills for your existing containers.  Look for brands like Nature Clean, and especially check out Twist sponges, made of natural cellulose, which last longer than any regular sponge I’ve ever had.

If there’s no time to go shopping, brand-new west-end outfit Greater Goods has a selection of greenwashing-free cleaning products that they’ll deliver to you by cargo bike, thus cutting the carbon out of your purchase entirely.

But if you’re hoping to get a professional clean, there are still lots of options to keep that green: services like EnviroMaid and Good Karma will gladly provide move-in and move-out cleaning from $25 per hour.  They both use eco-friendly, biodegradable products only, and can be booked up to the day before.

Save space, save paper

Packing your fragile goods such as plates, glasses, and jars means insulating them against bangs and breaks—and a lot of recyclable, yes, but still messy paper.  There are more efficient packing solutions, though: your own towels, clothes, and sheets.

Wrapping those fragiles in your extra washcloths and bath towels, packing glasses with winter socks, and securing dry jars with scarves not only provides insulation that’s much softer, stronger, and just all-around better than using paper, but cuts down considerably on the amount of space your move is going to take up.  The boxes—and weight—you save will mean being able to hire or rent a smaller moving truck, which will use less fuel and leave a smaller carbon footprint.  And save you money; did we mention saving money?  You’ll unpack to boxes full of your own stuff, not tumbleweeds of random waste.

And besides, this method keeps you from spending your first week in your new home washing newsprint smudges off every glass you use—a definite plus.

Take what you need; need only what you take

Starting to think about your move early—and taking that time to pare down your belongings into only what you’re going to use in your new home—is key to making your move environmentally friendly.  Extra weight takes extra boxes, uses extra fuel in the moving truck, and takes extra time for your movers or friends to handle.

Use our Decluttering Tips well in advance of your move to find new homes for anything that won’t be making the trip: charitable donations, sales on Craigslist or Kijiji, repurposing, hand-me-downs, Freecycle, and more are ways to make sure none of that extra weight ends up in your truck or in the garbage.

Best of luck!

Moving Day Tips: How to Have a Seamless Moving Day

Moving Day Tips

Moving house is commonly called the third-most stressful event we experience in a happy, healthy, day-to-day life.  However, a smooth move is achievable with a little planning and organization.  Have a seamless moving day with these easy advance moving day tips:

1) Don’t get mad, get organized

The earlier you start organizing your move, the easier Moving Day will be.  Get started as early as possible with a moving checklist that lists the major tasks ahead for your move and the timelines for completing them, and add any special chores you’ll need to do.

There are two main tricks to having an organized Moving Day.  The first?  Break down your moving task checklist into manageable chunks: the smallest individual tasks you can find.  That way, the job of moving will be much less massive.

The second trick is to assign yourself regular Moving Homework—and keep up with it!  Assigning yourself those small tasks, week by week, in the month or more ahead of your move will keep you from getting overwhelmed, make sure nothing slips through the cracks, and ensure the stress of moving stays at a manageable buzz.  Check off your tasks as you finish, reward yourself, and bask in the glow of a job well done as you feel yourself moving closer to a smooth Moving Day.

2) Have a day-of plan

Just like with any other major event—like a wedding or a big birthday party—you can make your Moving Day a lot easier by having a detailed schedule and plan for the day.  Know at least a week in advance what time you will have access to your new home, when your movers will arrive at both your old home and your new one, what time your elevator at the new condo is reserved for, and so forth—down to your wakeup time that morning.

Check your plan with a friend, to make sure there’s nothing missing, and adjust it as necessary as your plans come together in the final days.

Building a schedule that allows a little flex will let you know where you are in the plan, prevent anxiety, and make sure that nothing important is forgotten.

3) Learn the rules of your new condo ahead of time

Different condominium complexes have different rules: about reserving elevators for moving, whether you can have a barbeque on any outdoor space attached to your unit, or the colours of curtains that you can have facing outward on your unit’s windows.  Moving in with a strong knowledge of what’s a go—and what’s a no—in your new building will make your Moving Day a lot easier by preventing any problems that might crop up ahead of time, and making sure any questions you have can be answered well before you get the keys.

4) Hook up your essential services early

Home doesn’t feel like home without power.  Or water.  Or—let’s admit it—wifi.  Waking up in a new home without your essential services increases the stress and pressure of moving a thousandfold, but that’s easily avoided by contacting your service providers two or three weeks ahead of your moving date and arranging service hookups for as soon as comfortable, once you get the keys.

While hydro and water accounts can be transferred automatically at your provider’s side—and be ready for your Moving Day—appointments for services such as Internet hookup, which require a service visit, can fill up around the first and the fifteenth of the month, which are your most common moving dates.  That’s why it’s important to get in ahead of the pack—and get your choice of hookup date, so your Netflix downtime is a short one.

5) Have a plan for your valuables

Everyone’s got something that’s a little too precious to trust to a moving truck, whether it’s an expensive pair of earrings or that knick-knack you got from your grandmother as a kid.  Make sure that anything you want to keep with you on Moving Day has a place, a plan, and an slot in your general inventory—so you will have the peace of mind to know nothing’s missing, everything’s safe, and your valuables stay with you on Moving Day.

6) Labels, labels, and more labels

When it comes to moving, clear and explicit labels are your friend.  A good marker and a clear plan can save you not just trouble when you’re packing—but can make the process of unpacking easy as pie.

Box like items together: books with books, dishes with dishes, winter clothes with winter clothes.  Once that’s done, make sure to label all your bags and boxes not just by contents, but also by the room they’re destined for.  The result?  Your movers know where every piece of cargo goes, and you’re not left digging for a coffee cup for hours because it’s two rooms away, and under a box of backup office supplies.

Stay organized, keep to your plan, and keep your head?  And your Moving Day won’t just be seamless, but great!