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For many of us moving home can be one of life's most stressful experiences. About a quarter of households are planning to move in the next three years, mostly short distances within their city, state or territory.
Long distance moves are much less common, with Queensland attracting the largest number of interstate movers. And the renters among us move far more frequently than most.
But no matter how often you do it or why, schlepping your worldly goods from place to place can be a big drama.
Most of the time you're so busy worrying about whether or not you've forgotten the cat, you don't have a chance to think about what impact your move will have on the environment.
And yes, even moving house can have an impact - but there's also ways of reducing this.
So much stuff!
We can all harbour hoarding tendencies, stockpiling things we don't actually use. It clings to us like space debris orbiting Earth.
You don't want to be wasting petrol carting stuff from one end of town to the other (or one end of the country to the other!) only to throw it out at your new home. So before you move, go through your belongings and be ruthless.
Do you really need all those chairs? That second fridge? Those dustry rollerblades?
By the same token, we can't turn moving house into a reckless chuck-fest, without carefully considering where our junk is going to end up.
If every Australian ditched a third of their household contents on every shift in a totally irresponsible way, we could be producing upwards of a tonne of greenhouse gases per move. And with over two million Australians moving house each year, that's a lot of greenhouse gas!
That's also a lot of junk taking up space in rubbish dumps. In some parts of Australia, such as Sydney, landfill space is expected to run out within 10 years. And you don't want to be contributing to that problem.
The best thing to do with old stuff is to reuse it. Don't like that wooden table any more? Can it be painted and given a new lease of life? Will it do as a workbench in the garage? It's really that bad? Maybe someone else will find a use for it.
Giving items to charity will give them a second chance at life, and eBay and Freecycle are great places for finding new owners for your unwanted stuff.
If it's truly beyond redemption, then the next best option is to recycle your unwanted gear. Plastics, metals, wood, paper, cork, mattresses and batteries are all examples of items that can be broken down by professionals and their raw materials used again.
If your stuff can't be reused or recycled, then it might be time to chuck it out. But make sure it's not a toxic substance that you're sending to landfill. Pay particular attention to items found in your garage, your garden shed or under your sink, as this is where toxic things tend to congregate.
A phone call to your local council's waste department will sort out what you should do with the dangerous stuff.
You'll need boxes and padding for your move. Some removalists provide new cardboard boxes, packaging peanuts and bubble wrap, all of which are discarded at the end of your journey. But there are some lower impact alternatives.
Supermarkets and stores are a great source of plentiful, free boxes. Make sure your boxes are strong enough for the task.
Banana boxes are usually very sturdy. You can also find free boxes on Freecycle or eBay, but leave yourself plenty of time to stock up.
Alternatively you can hire sturdy boxes (some with free delivery). Once you're finished with them, you give the boxes back to the company for others to hire. Check out Mini Movers, Boxes for Moving and Moving Services.
To keep delicate items safe, try padding with newspaper. Between 20 and 55 per cent of newspaper is recycled, and it can be recycled again after use. Or, instead of polystyrene packing peanuts, go for the cornstarch variety, which can be composted.
Another great tip is to use your linen, clothes and pillows as padding in the move. Not only will they cushion the crockery, they'll simultaneously end up where they need to be!
Hire truck vs cars
A medium to large car uses around 10 L of fuel and emits 24 to 48 kg of greenhouse gas emissions for every 100 kms travelled. Meanwhile, a medium sized truck, like those used in removals, uses 13 L of fuel per 100 km.
Based on those numbers, the environment - as well as your friends and family - will thank you if you hire a truck rather than loading up your car for umpteen trips back and forth.
But often people find they have less stuff than they thought (particularly if you've done a good job of clearing out), and don't need a whole truck. So ask your removal company about backloading; it's when you put your stuff on a truck already loaded with someone else's things.
You need to be a bit more flexible about when your belongings arrive, but since you're paying for a truck that's already going your way, and you only pay for the space on the truck one way, not for the return trip, it saves both money and energy.
What do I do with...
Clothes? If you haven't worn or used something for five years, wash it and take it to a charity clothing bin.
Furniture? See if your nearest Vinnies or Salvos will accept any unwanted tables, chairs and lounges. Otherwise, some second hand furniture companies will offer you cash to take them off your hands. Items on their last legs can be sent to a recycling centre.
Mattresses? If it's in good enough nick, donate it to a local charity or use a recycling company like Dreamsafe Recycling.
White goods? If it still works, pass it on to someone else - a friend, family member, or find someone looking online at sites like www.e-cycled.com. You could also donate it to a local charity, but call ahead first to make sure they'll take it! If your appliance has kicked the bucket, drop it off at your nearest recycling centre.
Computers? If it's still in working condition, charities and other organisations, such as Computer Technologies for Schools will be happy to have your old computer. Outdated or broken machines can be collected by e-waste recycling outfits, or returned to manufacturers such as Dell.