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    Monday, October 15, 2007

    Ecomoving: a Tutorial - Blog Action Day

    Moving house is one of the most potentially toxic things an individual can do to the environment, and green moving is very rarely discussed. Here's how to make your next move have minimum negative impact, while still remaining frugal.

    Take as few trips as possible.
    With greenhouse emissions steadily rising, you can do your part to quell the flow by renting a moving truck. Less trips make for less pollution, even if the moving van has twice the emissions of what you would otherwise be using, making less than 1/4 of the trips really does make a difference. It may cost a few more dollars than a bunch of trips in the car and friend's trucks, but it's worth it not only for protecting the planet, but also for saving gas, saving time, and maintaining non-mooching friendships with said truck-owning friends. *wink*

    Use recycled boxes and packing materials.
    * A month or two before you have to move, ask your friends and family to save their newspapers for you. Many will be happy to comply, and you will have a good supply by the time you are ready to pack up the breakables.

    * Collect boxes from local grocery stores, liquor stores (fantastic strong little boxes, and easy to move. Great for books and canned goods), and ask for moving boxes on Freecycle(tm). If you start collecting a month in advance, even at a leisurely pace, you will have plenty to pack everything you own.

    Cleaning the old place.
    When I move, I want to make the place I am leaving as clean as possible. Using harsh, toxic chemicals is out of the question, so what to use to polish everything to a showroom shine becomes the question of the day.

    * Carpets
    Bissel has a high traffic carpet cleaning agent that reduces allergens, and contains no phosphates. Definitely the right choice. Exceedingly difficult spots can be scrubbed with a hand scrubber.

    * Walls & Doors
    With kids in the house, washing nasty little fingerprints off the walls becomes a priority. Amazingly, that same carpet stuff from Bissel works wonders. So does Doc Bronner's. You only need a bucket of water, a scrubby sponge, and some time.

    * Windows & Mirrors
    Here we get the old standby, vinegar with newspaper. If you have a lot of water spots, go over it with vinegar or water and a cloth first, then polish with the vinegar and crumpled newspaper.

    * Sinks, Tubs, & Counter Tops
    From Flylady we learn how to shine our sinks, and tubs are no exception. Get a scrubby sponge and some baking soda and scrub. It works amazingly well, and takes less time than one would expect.

    Enamel sinks, counter tops, & tubs sometimes need a dash of something whitening. Grab that bottle of peroxide and use it with the baking soda. Not only is the foaming fun if you add water, but it also clears out the staining beautifully. If you have any chips in the enamel, pop over to the nearest pharmacy and buy a matching nail polish for repairs.

    For steel sinks, rinse, wipe, then rub with a small amount of olive oil and polish with a soft cloth to get rid of the excess oil and acheive a true shine.

    * Toilets
    If you have hard water stains, this could be troublesome without harsh chemicals, but there is a simple solution. Drain all of the water out of your toilet bowl, then refill the bowl with vinegar. Let it sit about 24-48 hours if at all possible, then scrub hard. I have seen some of the toughest calcium deposits cleaned up this way.

    * Grout & Tile
    A couple bottles of peroxide will whiten and disinfect even the toughest grout staining if you let it sit long enough. Really badly stained grout should just be painted with a bit of grout-matching acrylic paint. it looks great, stick to the grout permanently, and is easy to scrape off of any tile you may accidentally slop it onto while painting.

    * Faucets & Other Shiny Things
    Treat the shinies the same as a mirror, and you will get a fantastic gleam for your troubles.

    * Appliances
    Appliances sometimes call for a little something special, so Simple Green is the way to go. A gentle, natural cleaner that cuts grease, and really helps you scrub spots that you may not have known existed before you decided to move.

    * Odors
    Does the fridge smell funny, or someone spill something odoriferous under the sink? Lightly wadded newspaper is amazingly effective at absorbing odors in enclosed spaces. Let it sit for about 24 hours, and even the toughest odors will be noticeably lessened. Works tons better than baking soda!

    * Holes in Walls
    Little nail holes might not seem like a big bother, but while they are considered normal wear and tear, I still like to make them disappear. A little bit of plaster of paris and a cotton swab work just perfect for these teeny spots. Apply the plaster with the swab, then smooth it to match the wall's surface with your finger.

    * Don't forget to take your compact fluorescents with you when you go! Replace them with regular 60watt incandescent bulbs. The next residents might not know what a CF bulb is anyway, and throw them away, and you'll be saving yourself the cost of replacement in your new home. If you have a few days in which to move between places, take the bulbs out of the new place to put into the old one.

    Recycle your Moving Materials
    After moving and settling in, your green moving job isn't quite finished.

    * Offer your used packing supplies and boxes on Freecycle(tm) There is someone preparing to move nearly every day, and they will be grateful for your gift and generosity.

    * Ask a local store if you can add your flattened boxes to their recycling pile. Many places won't mind at all.

    * Start a garden. Have some boxes that simply are too mangled to reuse for their initial purpose? Is some of that newspaper just a mess now? Start a garden or offer them to a gardening friend. Newspaper makes great pet bedding, and compost. Plain cardboard boxes with plain black ink are printed in soy and are safe for your yard. Lay them flat on your new gardening plot in the fall to kill the grass . Top with manure, peat moss, dead leaves, compost and such to build up some great soil that will be ready for planting in spring, no tilling required! Lasagna gardening is fun. Old boxes and newspaper are also great for lining the paths in your garden during the summer growing season to keep the weeds down.

    * Your old newspaper can be taken to a recycling center to be made into cat litter or remade into new paper products.

    Other ways to be green
    If you want to do more for the environment, you can donate to any number of green charities from saving endangered species to protecting the rain forests and more.

    Go ahead, donate your money, but the most impact anyone can make is to change the way they live so they do the least possible harm to the planet during their time here.

    Living green is not only great for the planet, it's good for your health too. Organic or CNG, local foods, alternative energy, riding bikes instead of driving, avoiding toxins in your household goods and cleaning supplies, and conserving the resources we use every day like water and paper are just a few of the ways to be green. Life is made up of the small decisions and the little things we do each day. Pick one small thing to make greener about your lifestyle, and view the world through different eyes. No one person can save the planet alone, but together, each one of us doing what we can, can change the world.

    Together, we do make a difference.

    What is your favorite ecologically sound moving tip?

    Today is Blog Action Day. One Day, One Topic, Thousands of Voices.

    Many of my personal favorite blogs are participating, so stop by the website and read some of the posts by the other participants.

    This article is part of TheWritersManifestoBlog's group writing project : tutorials.

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    Mangawitch said...

    Seems like we've got the same idea about this planet of ours - one by one by one we can fix it..
    Thanks for your comment - it means a lot to be appreciated..lol

    Monika @ The Writers Manifesto said...

    Hi Kryistina,

    That was a great post about something so important to us all. I wish you the best of luck with your entry.

    Monika :-)

    Evil said...

    I love your moving tips they are great. I think i will start cleaning my house this way normaly.
    PROPS for being GREEN

    Anonymous said...

    well.. it's like I knew!