I’ve been waiting for this moment … our move is finished! We packed and shipped up the bulk of our move from Van at the beginning of October, living with a minimized set of dishes, pots & pans, clothes & linens. We brought this subset up with us and lived with it in Iqaluit for about 3 weeks before the big shipment arrived.
As you can imagine, the last week has been a bit like Christmas, unwrapping all of our books, games, warm clothes, gear and a few luxuries. I’ve overdosed on baking now that I have pans and the bread machine. Overall, though, I’m very pleased with the small amount of garbage produced by this move. From an 85-item move, we produced one medium bag (about 1/2 a black garbage bag) of non-recyclable plastic-type items like shipping stickers, zap straps, large “tape babies”, and a bit of styro. Compared to moves in the past, that is AMAZING.
We’ve moved A LOT in the last ten years. Between us, there have been well over twenty moves. Typically you purge-purge-organize to minimize what you “need” to keep, until you are so sick of it you just throw everything randomly in boxes and promise to do better next time. Luckily, this meant that our set of “unneccessary junk” was pretty small and we just had to sort out what came north, what stayed behind, and find homes for all our lovely plants! This could still have resulted in hundreds of boxes and bubble wrap, but this is how we kept the trash pile down:
1) We sourced and purchased rigid-plastic nesting boxes with hinged lids. These, we learned, are a very common business-sector logistics item and UBIQUITOUS in nearly every retail store – BUT… they are never for sale to the general public. We bit the bullet and ordered a dozen from a distributor.
When we realized we needed more but didn’t have 6 weeks to wait for delivery, we searched far and wide then finally found more. Some came from RONA (less sturdy than we wanted), and the others came from FrogBox, an awesome green move company operating in Toronto and Vancouver. They had some old boxes they were willing to sell us, and they couldn’t believe how excited we were to find these things. (THANK YOU FROGBOX!).
Added Bonuses of plastic crates: They pack so easily because they are uniform in size & strong enough to stack high. Each crate took a 40-60lb load so 30 of them did the job of at least 50 cardboard boxes. (that’s 50 cardboard boxes and attached tape saved from the burn pile – yay!). NONE of them broke open, and that meant no lost goods, no broken items.
2) We packed & padded breakables with clothes and linens to save space and avoid bubble wrap and craft paper.
3) We flattened and rolled up GIANT sheets of bubble wrap (the moving company wrapped our furniture, skis, and shelves liberally in this in place of thick moving blankets). These went back to the movers for re-use. Smaller pieces were donated to the non-profit Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum; they’ll use it to wrap up beautiful carvings from Nunavummiut artists. Check out the size of the sheets and the rolls that we found homes for!
4) The good quality cardboard boxes left over were re-used by the movers, and those that were beyond hope will provide pyromaniac joy at the next bonfire party. Over 300 sheets of 3′x4′ craft paper that had been used to wrap and pad fragile dishes were flattened and also donated to the museum.
For people who move so frequently, I am surprised we didn’t figure out this method earlier. It’s SO much nicer than dumpster-diving for randomly-sized boxes, craigslist collecting, or shelling out $ to buy new ones that you know you won’t/can’t keep. We’re converts!