Photo courtesy of Studio Oink

Moving can be daunting, especially when you consider the amount of plastic and disposable materials that are typically used. The good news? With a little planning and resourcefulness, there is a better, cleaner way to move—and it doesn’t involve carrying a cloth bindle. Here are a few ways to lessen waste while moving.

Photo by Justine Hand

1. Check your local recycling services.

Photo by Matthew Williams

For electronics, visit the EPA’s recycling site to find local e-waste programs and stores that offer electronics recycling. For carpets, we suggest Carpet Cycle.

2. Order reusable moving boxes. 

Photo via Hay Design 

Companies in the US including ZippGo, Bungo Box, Bin It, Rent a Moving Box, Redi-Box, and even U-Haul offer reusable heavy-duty plastic moving crates of different sizes, wardrobe boxes included.

If you have the time, check in with your local wine stores and corner shops and arrange to pick up their cardboard boxes after new deliveries.

Photo via Strong Mile Movers

3. Collect used cardboard boxes from local shops. 

Photo by Leigh Patterson

Before you go out and buy all the biodegradable packing goods on earth, use what you already have on hand: think newspapers, T-shirts, tea towels, and bath towels.

4. Use eco-alternatives to conventional wrapping.

Photo via We Are Always Moving

5. Pack smarter.

See everything in your house as a potential vessel. Pack wrapped kitchen goods inside a pot instead of just stuffing the interior with paper, and turn pot lids upside down to stack them.

Photo by Matthew Williams

6. Use alternatives to plastic covers.

Instead of those giant heavy plastic sleeves for mattresses and upholstered furniture, utilize yardage of muslin fabric or a painter’s drop cloth—items that after the move, you’ll use in other ways: a painter’s drop cloth as a picnic blanket or old muslin as an outdoor tablecloth.

Instead of paper towels, put tattered old clothing to use and cut them into square rags so that once you’ve packed your kitchen towels away, you still have something to use and reuse.

Photo by Justine Hand

6. Cut old clothes and linens into rags.