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After the House Move: Storage and Recycling

No Comments    |        |    September 15, 2023    |    Reading time 10 minutes
After moving home recycling items

Moving house can be an overwhelming experience and on top of all the upheaval, paperwork, financial pressure and organisation, there's the seemingly endless amount of packing and unpacking. That's why, in all the articles we've written on this topic, this is the area upon which we've focused. Packing and cardboard boxes are, after all, our area of expertise.

But once boxes have been unpacked, furniture has found its place and artwork is finally on the walls, a challenge still remains: to tackle the aftermath of moving. And as this article in The Express points out, Britons can "take a year to fully unpack after moving home". Now, as tired as you might be, don't give up before you've jumped the final hurdle and end up as a statistic in a tabloid newspaper. If you use storage and recycling to your advantage, we can guarantee that not only will you finish the relocation process in style, but your mental health, your wallet AND the environment will all benefit as a result.

In this article therefore, we'll explore the impact of efficient recycling and the advantages of storage when it's done correctly. We'll offer a range of practical tips to ensure you are equipped to make the right choice between donating and recycling and we'll even provide you with a glimpse into the future of sustainable moving practices. Don't say we don't treat you.

Post-Move Obstacles: waste and clutter

Moving generates a considerable amount of waste, from packaging materials to old items that are no longer needed. After a move, it's not uncommon to find yourself surrounded by a sea of cardboard boxes, packing materials and stuff you no longer want however carefully you decluttered prior to your relocation. Also, what might have been perfect in your old house, might not fit so well in the new one. But what to do so you don't lose patience and simply chuck it in the grey bin? Let's look at the two main issues of the post-move period, what to store and what to recycle and, why it's so important that we do both correctly.

The impact of efficient recycling: reduce, reuse and recycle

We're all well aware these days that recycling helps minimise wastefulness and prevents said waste from ending up languishing unnecessarily in landfill sites or floating perilously close to turtles in the ocean. And that's why it matters. Recycling materials such as cardboard, paper, plastic and glass means that the demand for new resources is lower and those resources we already have can be part of a truly circular economy. It also means looking after the environment and ensuring that habitats are protected and every species can flourish.

Organising items after you've moved house

Sustainability doesn't have to be about sweeping industry-wide, international changes. It can just as easily be about the small steps taken by individuals and their families. These add up.

Cardboard, for example, is one of the most commonly used packaging materials during a move. On a macro scale, reusing cardboard boxes means that the energy required to produce new ones is saved, water conserved and air pollution associated with paper production reduced. Closer to home, you can do your friends and neighbours a favour: pass on your boxes via Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, Freecycle or Gumtree and help someone else move well for less money.

Additionally, efficient storage plays a vital role in reducing waste and preserving resources. By properly organizing and storing your belongings, you can ensure that they stay in good condition for longer periods, reducing the need for replacements. This not only saves money but also reduces the amount of waste generated from discarded items.

The Advantages of Proper Storage: saving time, money and space

Proper storage not only helps maintain a clutter-free, restful home but it also maximises the use of your available space. Once you've organised your belongings efficiently, you can make the most of your living areas. You'll be able to find your possessions far more easily. Imagine having a designated place for each item and now imagine that item actually being there when you go to get it! There are few things more satisfying and you'll save an incredible amount of time.

Store items correctly and you extend their lifespan, which obviously saves money. Instead of constantly buying new items, keep your existing possessions in good condition to avoid unnecessary expenses. Store expensive seasonal clothing, for example, ski wear or winter coats, in a cool, dry place. You'll prevent damage from moisture and pests and thereby reduce the need for frequent and costly replacements.

This approach works for mundane products too. Go into a messy home and you'll often find thirteen bottles of shampoo or six bottles of disinfectant cleaner. It's not that people have a shampoo or disinfectant fixation. it's that they lose track of what they've got and buy more.

Efficient storage, therefore, allows you to make better use of your budget. It also prompts you to make efficient use of your space. Go high. Use shelves, hooks, and other storage solutions to get the most out of every inch of your home. By utilising vertical storage, you'll gain valuable floor space, making your living areas feel more spacious and organised. You're probably one step away from getting a call from Architectural Digest.

Joking aside, proper recycling practices and storage are crucial after a move. Recycle correctly and organise efficiently and minimise waste, conserve resources and contribute to a lovelier home and a greener planet. You'll also save money and enjoy extra space and have the self-satisfaction of knowing that you're doing your bit for sustainability.

Practical Tips for efficient Storage after moving

Sort and organise

Sorting and organising are the first steps towards efficient storage and hopefully, this process started before you even packed up your possessions (refer to this article here). If you followed our advice to declutter and donate and then packed by grouping similar items together and labelling your containers for easy identification, you'll have a much easier job when it comes to sorting out storage in your new home. If you didn't, then before you start storing items, sort through everything and decide what to keep, donate, or recycle. This process can be time-consuming but it's essential to avoid clutter in your new home.

Practical Tips for efficient Storage after moving

Create designated places for everything

Create designated areas for different categories and label them clearly. By organising belongings deliberately, you'll not only find things easily later but also reduce the chances of unnecessary duplicates or repurchases (say goodbye to those thirteen shampoo bottles). Storage can mean holding onto items that you don't use regularly or finding a place to keep things you use all the time. If you know something will be boxed away for a while, take the time to clean and prepare it properly. This might includes washing and drying clothes, wiping down furniture or ensuring that fragile items are securely wrapped and protected.

Tackle it room by room

As with the packing process, it's more often than not a good idea to tackle storage on a room by room basis. After all, each room in your house will have unique storage needs. Decide what would be best - and appropriate - for each room. Go with tailor-made solutions if necessary.

We've already mentioned vertical space (shelves, hooks, baskets, etc.) and that's often the best in kitchens, but you could also install racks or magnetic strips for holding utensils and small appliances. In a bathroom, sink or mirror cabinets come in really handy. This is where you should let your creativity and resourcefulness run wild. When it comes to the bedroom, consider investing in multi-functional furniture. Beds with built-in storage drawers or ottomans that open up to reveal hidden compartments can provide valuable space for storing extra linens, clothing, or personal belongings. Then there's the wardrobe  space, think closet organisers and for chests of drawers, dividers or small boxes

In living areas, think beyond traditional storage solutions and instead, incorporate decorative baskets or storage ottomans or trunks that not only provide a place to store items but can also add to the interior design. Consider wall-mounted shelves or floating shelves to display books, photos or decorative items. Keep the floor clutter-free.

Lastly, don't forget about the garage. Install wall-mounted pegboards or hooks from which to hang tools and equipment, again maximising the floor space. Have a look on YouTube for tips on installing overhead storage racks where you can keep bulky equipment infrequently used.

Even if you only manage to tackle one room per week, or even a month, roll up your sleeves and make a start. You won't regret it, especially because improved storage in the home means far less time spent tidying up or cleaning.

The Role of Recycling in Post-Move Clean Up

Right. You've sorted, organised and stored. Chances are that your post-move clean-up will now involve the disposal of packaging materials and even furniture that's no longer quite right, broken goods and  and other unwanted items.

This is where recycling comes in. It plays a crucial role in minimising waste levels and ensuring that items are disposed of properly. By identifying recyclable materials in your moving waste, you can separate them from non-recyclables and make sure they get to the appropriate recycling facility.

Identifying Recyclable Materials in Your Moving Waste

Not everything you discard after a move needs to end up in a landfill. Cardboard boxes, paper, and plastic wrap can all be recycled (if not reused first). Furniture made of wood or metal can also be recycled or repurposed. If you're unsure about what can be recycled, investigate and this website is a great place to start.

Check with your local recycling programmes to determine which items are accepted and how they should be prepared for recycling. Scan Facebook for scrap metal merchants who are willing to come and pick up your scrap metal for free, but note, this doesn't normally include fridge-freezers because of the hazardous gases they contain. However, there are local websites, like this one here, which can arrange disposal for you.

Local Recycling Programmes and How to Use Them

Take the time to familiarise yourself with the recycling programmes in your area. Most villages and towns have a tip or Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC). Local councils might also offer pickup services. Just continue to be aware that there may be specific guidelines regarding what materials are accepted. For example, only one in three HWRCs in the U.K. accept tins of paint (half full or empty). It's always worth following the guidelines so that what you actually want to be recycled can actually be recycled. Otherwise, what's the point?

Donating vs. Recycling: Making the Right Choice

When deciding whether to donate or recycle unwanted items, consider their condition and usefulness. Donating items that are still in good condition can benefit others in need and prevent them from becoming waste, so think about whether the items you want to give away still serve their purpose. If you are donating clothes, for example, make sure they're clean and unstained. It sounds obvious, but books should still have all their pages and games, all of their pieces. There is also a whole legion of people out there, the Reuse Network, for example, who are dedicated to breathing new life into unwanted items and whose aims are to reduce poverty and tackle waste. Take them up on their very kind offer!

Many charitable (and based in the high street) organisations like The British Heart Foundation accept clothing, furniture, electronics and household items and will also pick them up for free. On the other hand, items that are damaged or no longer functional are generally better suited for recycling. By making conscious choices, you can ensure that your unwanted items find new purposes instead of ending up in landfill or doing nothing except taking up valuable space in your life.

When to Recycle: Understanding the Lifespan of Household Items

It's easy to fall into the trap of wanting to donate everything, but some items have a limited lifespan and cannot be easily repaired or reused. In some cases, it's just not worth the time or effort required. These items are better suited for recycling. Electronics, appliances, batteries and certain plastics fall into this category. And please don't feel bad about this: by recycling them, you ensure that valuable materials are recovered and reused in new products, reducing the need for raw materials extraction and manufacturing.

The Future of Moving: Sustainable Practices and Innovations

As with the packaging industry, the process of moving is undergoing a transformation towards sustainability with new practices and innovations emerging throughout the industry. As people become more aware of their environmental impact in general and that impact when relocating in particular, sustainable solutions are gaining in popularity.

Eco-Friendly Moving Materials: A Look Ahead

Although the tea chest and the cardboard box have existed for well over a hundred years already, moving boxes and packing materials made from recycled or biodegradable materials are becoming more widely and easily available. These materials are not only more environmentally friendly but also durable and reliable. There are plenty of innovations out there: the use of reusable plastic crates instead of cardboard boxes is seen as a potential green alternative, although it remains to be seen how long they must be used before the energy used in their manufacture is offset. Still, relocation companies are mindful of sustainability and keen to make impactful environmentally friendly changes.

The Rise of Green Moving Companies: What to Expect

One way in which moving companies are making strides towards becoming green is by adopting eco-friendly practices. These companies (take a look at a Scottish-based one here) prioritise energy-efficient transportation, provide packing materials made from recycled materials and offer comprehensive recycling services. As the demand for sustainable moving increases, increasing numbers of companies will emerge, coming up with their own initiatives, promoting greener practices and setting new standards in the industry.

Conclusion: It's all worth it in the End

Take it from us, making the time to recycle properly and implement efficient storage practices in your new home is a worthwhile investment. Who amongst us doesn't want a more organised, spacious and cost-effective home environment, whilst also having been mindful of the environment we all share and love?

Moving is stressful, it is a big upheaval and it does seem like a never-ending process at times. However, it also gives us the opportunity - literally - to sort our lives out. So, let The Packaging Club help you sort your life out and check out our moving supplies here.

This article was written by...

Jo Hilton

I studied at the University of St. Andrews and have an MA in French and German. For a number of years, I worked for a Swiss financial institution and lived in Hamburg, London, Zürich and NYC before retraining as a primary school teacher and settling with my family in Cambridgeshire. When I'm not at school, I write content for various blogs and edit academic research articles for clients at ETH Zürich and the University of Munich. I'm also in the process of completing a Masters in Crime and Thriller writing at the University of Cambridge, so behind me you'll find a trail of fictional dead bodies and actual biscuit wrappers.

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