moving house: sustainably and (somewhat) sanely

I’ve had every intention to continue writing about observations and experiences in India, but I’ve been busy moving house. Which brings up a lot of material for thinking about sustainability.

How do I minimize using resources to pack?

  • I used canvas bags, shoe boxes and rescued cardboard boxes I rescued from the recycling area in my apartment building.  I also used the many textiles I have–sarongs, furoshiki, fabric remnants… yes, I have a bit of an addiction to fabric–to wrap up bunches of clothes, coats, pillows, blankets…
  • The new moving boxes I used were left over at the place I’m moving to, so it’s a kind of recycling.
  • I plan to post the empty boxes to Craigslist when I’m done, so someone else who is moving can reuse the perfectly reusable boxes.
  • I learned about the Recopack, from rentagreenbox.com, which is a box made of recycled materials, and which you rent, use and return. They’re only in Southern California at this time, and I had easily available materials on hand, but I’ll consider such a solution next time.

How can I furnish the new place with as low impact as possible? This has been VERY tough. This is where the sanity part gets challenged. Setting up a new place just requires some purchases. It can’t be helped! But that means lots of cardboard. Lots of plastic. A few bright spots:

  • CFL bulbs are available everywhere, which makes purchasing them easy. I got some at IKEA (we’ll have to see if they actually last; they didn’t before) and at Ace Hardware, which has 5-packs on sale now. Also, Long’s Pharmacy had many.
  • Found an EVA shower curtain liner at Target. I didn’t even know what EVA was, but I the information on the package said that it was PVC-free, so I got it. In researching EVA, I’ve learned that it does not have chlorine, which is the ” the source of many of the environmental health concerns with PVC, such as the generation of dioxin, a highly carcinogenic chemical produced in both the manufacture and disposal of PVC. ” (source) Not that EVA might not have its own issues, but at least it’s not as problematic as PVC. And it doesn’t have that terrible vinyl smell. In fact, it has no smell at all.
  • Craigslist. This is obvious, but I have to mention this resource, again. Got a great shoe rack/bench for the porch. We’ll see what else it brings.

Looking forward to getting settled in and writing more notes later.

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