Moving out of your home can be a very time-consuming and stressful time. This process can also mean lots of waste — for your wallet and the planet. Continue reading to learn how to move sustainably to prevent landfill waste, start sustainable behaviors, help your community, and save money during your next move!

General Tips

  • Plan ahead to save money and time and reduce waste. Give yourself enough time to sell, donate, and declutter your belongings!
  • Only recycle items that are accepted by your county/city to avoid bin contamination. Items such as plastic bags, Styrofoam, hardcover books, and shredded paper cannot be recycled.
  • Do not put hazardous materials, like aerosol cans or paint, into landfill dumpsters. Instead, find a hazardous material disposal or collection center near you.

Waste Diversion

  • Clothes → donate to thrift stores or attend clothing swaps.
  • Electronics → bring to certified e-cyclers, like Best Buy and Staples.
  • Paper, metal cans, glass bottles and jars, plastic containers, and cardboard boxes → clean and empty, then recycle.
  • Furniture, kitchen appliances, kitchenware → donate to Habitat for Humanity ReStores or Goodwill.
  • Textbooks → Facebook groups or professors for upcoming students.
  • Towels and blankets, cleaning supplies, stationery and office supplies, pet food, plastic pet carriers → donate to animal shelters (call and ask before donating).
  • Unopened, non-perishable foods, unopened toiletries → donate to local homeless shelters or church and school pantries.
  • Anything else → host or attend a swap event or garage sale! Ask your friends and your friends’ friends if they would like your items!

Waste Reduction

  • Upcycle old clothing and fix broken items. Read our previous Action of the Month to learn more.
  • Reuse containers like shoe boxes for storage and moving boxes.
  • Pack fragile items in clothing or soft personal items instead of using bubble wrap or packing peanuts.


Info from Johns Hopkins’ Office of Sustainability and University of Michigan’s Planet Blue Ambassador program.