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Lighten Your Load in a Green Way

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Your house is probably full of items you never use and likely won’t use in your new home. Instead of bringing them with you or throwing them out, find responsible ways of unloading yourself of these things.

When you get ready for your move, you are bound to find many things that won't make it with you to your new home. Though it may be easy to just throw these things out, doing so will put even more strain on our already fragile environment. There are several different ways you can lighten your load while being conscious of your impact on the planet. You can try any of the following ideas to get rid of your things in a responsible way, instead of sending them off to spend eternity buried in a landfill.

Garage sales

One of the most obvious ways to green up your move is to have a garage sale, also known as a yard sale, rummage sale, or moving sale. This will allow you to sell some of the stuff that you might otherwise throw away. Having a garage sale is an excellent way to go green that will allow you to see even more green – the money you'll get from selling your goods rather than putting them in the garbage.

Here are some steps to keep in mind when planning a garage sale:

  1. Walk through your home and determine if you have a good amount of items that people would be interested in. Be sure to go through your attic, basement, garage, and tool shed.
  2. Once you decide you have enough items to sell, pick a date to have your garage sale, preferably on a weekend.
  3. Generate interest in your sale by advertising it appropriately. Post fliers on telephone poles and community bulletin boards, and you can put an ad in the newspaper or on the local TV station.

In the time before the sale, get your items ready by cleaning them and making any necessary repairs. Also, you'll need to determine the prices for your items. To encourage people to buy more stuff (and ensure you have really lightened your load at the end of the day) try to bundle things together or create special deals like "buy one get one free." Remember to be open to bargaining, and be happy that someone is willing to give you money for something you were going to throw out any way.

Donating

Having a garage sale can be a lot of work. If you're not up to hosting one, you can always try to donate your goods. This is a great way to go green and help those who are less fortunate. Though you might not get any money by donating, you'll keep things from ending up in the trash. Instead, they will end up going to people who need them.

Your clothes or shoes that you don't wear anymore can be donated to the Salvation Army or placed in a receptacle bin found in many towns. Some charity groups will even go to your home to pick up your donations. Alternately, you could bring your other items to a second-hand store, which might even pay you for your items.

TIP: When you donate, try to get a receipt if possible. That way, you can write off your donation when filling out your taxes; just another reason why going green during your move really pays off!

Recycling

As you clean your house and prepare for the move, you are likely to find some random odds and ends that you might instinctively want to throw out. Instead, try to deal with these pieces in a green way: mainly, by recycling them.

You can recycle many items made of glass, plastic, aluminum, paper, and cardboard. Make sure you know the recycling policies of your town and act accordingly. You can go to earth911.com to find out how to recycle in your neighborhood. You might have to bring your goods to a recycling center, or you could leave them on the curb for pickup.

If you have any electronics that you don't need or are broken, you'll want to find the appropriate disposal method. Putting these items in a landfill can be especially dangerous to the environment. There are several organizations that will take your old electrical appliances and fix them up for those who could use them.

Hazardous materials

As the name implies, hazardous materials can be hazardous to the environment. Unfortunately, many people don't know what to do with these items and end up throwing them out. If you want to have a greener move, take extra precautions when disposing items like:

  • Paint cans
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Batteries
  • Antifreeze
  • Gasoline
  • Motor oil

TIP: If you need to get rid of any of these items, check out the Environmental Protection Agency's website. You will find advice and instructions for the removal of hazardous materials, whether they can be picked up at your home or delivered to a collection site.

Freecycling

Another option for getting rid of some of your things so you don't have to send them to the garbage dump is to get involved with Freecycle. By joining a Freecycle community in your area, you can post your items that you want to get rid of. Instead of leaving something for the garbage men to pick up, you may be able to find someone who can use items you would otherwise discard. You and the interested party will just have to agree on a method for pick up or delivery of these materials.

As you can see, there are many alternatives to throwing away things that you won't be taking to your new home. Your functional items can be sold at a garage sale or donated to those who need them. Many materials you find around the house that you might think are garbage can be recycled. For those hazardous materials in your home, there are several options for getting rid of them in a safe and responsible way. By exploring all of your options, you can lighten your load before your move, while sending very little to the garbage dump.

Photo by: Rawich (Freedigitalphotos.net)

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 11, 2010

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