Our partners at Start share their advice for a sustainable and stress-free moving day
Although exciting, moving home can be stressful, wasteful and expensive. Our partners at Start, the UK sustainable living charity, have come up with some useful tips to help make moving more affordable, sustainable and altogether calmer!
1. Before the big day
The performance of a lifetime
Before moving into your new home – and ideally before you buy – check out its Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This will let you know how much energy the property uses and its typical energy costs. It also recommends ways in which you might improve this score to save money in the long run. Visit the government’s EPC webpage for more information.
Visit the house before moving day to take a look at what energy-saving measures you can put in place. Make a note of what has been done by the previous owner and what still needs to happen once you move in.
A good start is to check the insulation in the roof and walls, and think about draught proofing cold spots like windows and letter boxes. And remember to stock up on energy saving light bulbs – just one of these can save you £3 a year, which adds up when you consider how many you have around the home.
Think outside the box
When it comes to packing, save yourself some money and reduce your environmental impact by choosing second-hand cardboard or reusable moving boxes. And make sure to recycle these to be used by someone else when you’ve finished.
Most supermarkets and greengrocers have old produce boxes they are willing to give you for free. Alternatively, try expresscheapcardboardboxes.com for boxes that have been rescued from businesses. And instead of expensive bubble wrap, save newspapers and use them instead.
Have a spring clean
Moving house is usually the time when you find lots of old and unwanted bits and bobs lurking in the attic or in the back of cupboards. Instead of throwing them out, pop them on ebay, sell them at a car boot sale, donate to a charity shop, Shwop them or give them away on gumtree or freegle.
2. Moving day and beyond
Hire a lean, green moving machine
Consider hiring a green moving company, leaving you safe in the knowledge that you are reducing your carbon footprint. Green Man & Van for example, is a great option for people in London, Brighton and Edinburgh.
If the new house has a hideous brown and pink feature wall you are desperate to cover up, you can without worrying about damaging the environment. There are lots of eco-friendly paints and recycled wallpapers to choose from these days.
It is also better for your health as conventional paints may include formaldehyde, heavy metals and pollutants known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Five of the current best eco-paint companies are Aglaia, Auro, Biofa, earthBorn and Ecos.
One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure
Consider furnishing your new home with pre-loved gems. There are countless antique and second-hand furniture shops all over the country, and charity shops often have great bargains.
Check out ebay, gumtree or freegle for cheap or free one-off items. You could even upcycle old furniture – repaint, re-upholster and generally get crafty. Pinterest has lots of inspiration for upcycling projects.
Make sure white goods are the right goods
When buying new appliances, go for the most energy efficient you can afford as it will save you money in the long run. There are lots of good second hand bargains to be found. The Energy Saving Trust has lots of information about where and why to get the best appliances.
Really useful energy
Explore your options when it comes to utility companies. There are an increasing number of green energy suppliers that will save you money and lower your carbon footprint.
According to the Which? energy satisfaction survey 2013, the top three energy suppliers are all eco-friendly: Good Energy, Ecotricity and the not-for-profit Ebico. You can also visit Start’s Energy Saving One-Stop-Shop to see what freebies and offers are available from your energy supplier.
Share the love
You’ll need to spend some time planning the transport routes to and from your new abode. Why not set up a neighbourhood car share scheme? You can use Compare and Share to see if there is someone in your street or neighbourhood who is going your way to work. Or how about using somepedal power to get around?
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Make sure your new home is part of your local council’s household recycling scheme. Divide your waste into recycling and general waste. Make sure to check your council can recycle. Remember you can always collect up anything not on their list and take it to a recycling centre yourself.
Gardening is also a great way to relax after all the stress of moving and can be a great activity to do with children. While you’re at it, why not set up a compost bin to recycle peelings and teabags?
Join the club
Get to know your neighbourhood by signing up to Streetclub, an online forum that lets you swap news, recipes and share household items with your neighbours. Or consider joining Ecomodo where you can lend or borrow items and favours.
Finally, think about joining a veg-box scheme and get delicious, locally-grown produce delivered straight to your door.
Find out more
For more ways of saving money by adopting more sustainable ways of living, visit startuk.org.