Tag Archives: dorm life

How To Green Your Move

boxes
image from evanhamilton

As the last week of this semester begins and the student population of Lawrence moves into new apartments and houses, let’s do something besides get “wasted.” That’s trashy.

In this last week, let’s focus on cutting back our waste.

Moving out is one of the most trash-intensive events of the year, as demonstrated by the industrial-size dumpsters that the University sets in front of the dorms. But the majority of the “trash” that fills these containers isn’t trash at all: It could have been recycled, donated to charity or used by other students. One man’s recyclables are often another man’s living room furniture.

Step 1: Find unwanted items.

Are those sheets, bedspread and kitchen utensils from the dining hall not going to cut it next year? Gather everything you don’t want or can’t use next year, and assess its worth to determine its final destination. Here’s a handy guide:

Your stuff rules: Sell it on eBay.

Your stuff is pretty damn good to moderately good: Sell it on Craigslist or have a garage sale.

Your stuff is useable: Donate it to Goodwill, 2200 W. 31st St., or give it to your friends or neighbors.

Your stuff is pretty much done for: Recycle it.

Your stuff is moldy, broken beyond repair (and you’ve tried), or for some other reason is no longer fit for human interaction: This category should be a last resort.

Even the most unlikely items can be donated or sold. The Lawrence Community Shelter, 214 W. 10th St., accepts food donations, which can be dropped off at the shelter. Don’t forget about resale shops, where you can sell back clothing, furniture or electronics.

Step 2: Green pack

Pack your remaining items with packing materials that you already have, such as towels, plastic containers and old newspapers. Call the produce departments at local grocery stores and ask them to set aside large, sturdy boxes for you. Most will be happy to do this if you pick up the boxes in a few hours.

Step 3: The trip

The fewer trips you make, the more gasoline you’ll save. Depending on the amount of large furniture you have, it may be most cost-effective (and environmentally friendly) to hire a moving service so everything can be moved in one trip.

Step 4: Home, new home

You’re almost done, so keep up the green mantra.

Save old boxes or newspapers to reuse for your next move, or recycle them.

Step 5: Think long-term

If you pack up your life once a year, you have a unique opportunity to step back and look at all the things you own. If packing up is something you dread, simply keep less stuff around.

When buying furniture or anything new for your place, check out resale shops first. These items are usually cheaper than buying new and have more personality than expensive, cookie-cutter new furniture. Plus, if you plan on getting new furniture after college, it would the most economical to spend less on furniture now.

Steer clear of the build-your-own-desk-in-52-easy-steps pieces of furniture that are usually found in big-box stores like Target or Wal-Mart. Even though this furniture is usually cheaper, it is hard to move to a new house and will typically get trashed after a year. It’s also not as sturdy or durable as its pre-built counterparts.

originally published in Jayplay magazine on May 8, 2008 (PDF). Click here for its original online home.