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Planning an Eco-Friendly Move

If you're an outdoor advocate, you're probably concerned about the environmental footprint your transition may make. Fortunately for you, there are steps you can take that will make it a smooth and planet-friendly relocation. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Packing Materials - Once you set a date for your big move, start stocking up on materials from prior moves, friends and family members. Moving companies and stores may also be able to provide used materials that you can have or borrow free of charge. Online resources are another option if you're looking to reuse boxes, and sites like Craigslist and often provide sources for locating free or low-cost supplies. Avoid materials like Styrofoam, and opt for green choices like paper or cardboard packaging instead.
  • Recycle - When you're finished, be sure to recycle the goods or pass them along to another mover to pay it forward using the sites previously mentioned. Look for retailers and recycling centers where you can dispose of electronics or digital tools that are broken or no longer needed.
  • Reduce - Trim down the number of things you bring with you. The sooner you start determining what objects you don't want, the easier it will be to organize a yard sale or take various recyclables to the proper location, so you don’t end up throwing them away. Check online for locations for recycling materials that you can’t set out for regular collection or drop in any bin.
  • Donate - Reduce food waste and donate your unwanted food to local food banks when you move.  Contact Move for Hunger to find out the easiest way.
  • Choose Movers Wisely - When it comes to choosing a moving company, some are easier on the environment as well. Green providers often opt for biodiesel fuel instead of regular gasoline, and try to pack more than one client into the same truck when possible to save gas by using fewer vehicles and not having to make as many trips. Many also offer reusable containers that you can utilize to transfer your belongings - saving you from having to purchase and store packing materials as well.

Pack Safely, Especially If Kids Are in the Mix

  • Stack Smart - Navigating the obstacle course of boxes that is your house is a risk to all, but especially to kids. To avoid potential injury, try to keep all of your containers on the ground. If you must stack, put the heaviest boxes on the floor and put lighter ones on top. Those filled with clothes are probably the best to stack, as there aren't any breakable objects that could become damaged or do injury should they fall.
  • Focus on the Task at Hand - Child-proofing a home takes a lot of work, but when it comes time to pack, homes are thrown into disarray and items normally out of children's reach become tantalizingly available. Keep kids out of trouble by focusing your efforts on packing one box at a time and taping them up as soon as they are full.
  • No Access to Locking Trunks – To avoid suffocation risk, be sure your children don’t have any access to trunks or other containers that can lock from the inside.

Travel Safely

If children are in tow, you'll want to take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety and comfort.
  • Check Car Seat/Installation - Whenever you drive with a child who requires a car seat, you want to make sure that you have the right kind and that you've installed it properly. When moving, however, your car is likely weighed down with boxes and drives somewhat differently than it normally would, thereby increasing the danger of driving. As such, you'll want to make absolutely sure that you are employing proper car seat safety. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, only a small fraction of parents actually have the right car seat for their child. Parents should consult for further information.
  • Secure all Boxes - Loose boxes and other goods can pose a danger to the safety of a child. Any containers in the back seat should be properly secured. Additionally, there shouldn't be substantially heavy or loose items that could become a flying hazard in the incident of a sudden stop, turn or a crash.
  • Keep Clothes/Food Within Reach - If you plan to drive in cold weather, you want to make sure you have easily accessible warm clothes. In addition to bundling up your child at rest stops or restaurants, you may find yourself stranded on the side of the road or stuck in a snow drift during snowy weather. Keep snacks on hand. For southern climes, food and water are essential in case your car breaks down. No matter the temperature, bring sunblock on sunny days. You and your children can still get burned in cold climates, especially when the sunlight reflects off snow.
  • Supervise - Even if you are leaving the car for just a minute - whether to use a restroom or buy a candy bar - don't leave your child unattended in a vehicle. While someone may break into the car while you're gone, the more likely scenario is exposing a child to the elements without any heat or air conditioning. The situation only gets worse if you accidentally lock yourself outside of the car with them in it. 

Home Sweet Home

You’ve bought or rented your new home. Now you need to make sure it’s as safe and comfortable as possible for your family. Here are some of the ways:
  • Home Inspection – If you’re buying, insist on a home inspection. Harvey S. Jacobs, a real estate lawyer and columnist for The Washington Post, suggests home buyers stay with the inspector while he or she goes through their home. This will help you understand any issues the inspector finds because he or she can often provide supplementary information. Popular Mechanics compiled a list of 25 places to care about during a home inspection. After the inspection, you'll be given a comprehensive report of the inspector's findings. This report becomes valuable before closing the sale because you can ask that repairs be made or the selling price be dropped before you sign a contract for flawed property. 
  • Green Decorating  - Sustainability can go beyond new light bulbs and recycling bottles and cans. There are several ways to integrate eco-friendly decor after moving into your new home.
  • Furniture - refurbishing old furniture can help the environment and your bank account. You can make your current pieces fresh for your new home or pick something up at a yard sale or second-hand store. Because you aren't buying a newly made item, you're saving wood and other resources, such as the energy required to produce furniture. Another easy way to support sustainability is to buy furniture that is produced locally, or at least domestically. By reducing the distance your furniture must travel, you're helping cut down on pollution from those planes, trains and automobiles.
  • Paint - Traditional house paint emits Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as gas that can cause symptoms from irritated eyes to kidney failure, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many typical household items release VOCs​, including cleaning supplies, permanent markers and craft glue. As a result, average indoor VOC levels are more than double outdoor levels. 
    1. To cut down on the amount of VOCs in your new home, look for eco-friendly paint. Better Homes and Gardens recommends low-VOC and low-odor paint from such companies as Sherwin-Williams, YOLO Colorhouse, Olympic, Benjamin Moore and Mystic Paint. Another option it presents is milk paint, a non-toxic powdered product. It was created in the 1970's to use on historically accurate furniture reproductions.
    2. Older homes have great charm, but they often contain unseen hazards – and one of those can be lead paint.  If your home was built before 1978, there's a good chance that it could contain lead. Since it can also exist in the soil in your yard, it's important to get checked, especially if the home is located close to a busy street or highway where the exhaust of the substance could have originated and settled in the ground. While it's required for your seller to inform you of lead, it's not necessarily enforced for those renting. The only way to know for sure whether your residence is affected is to get your home tested on your own. You can start by contacting a laboratory that's a part of the National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program. Go online to research one that's in your area, and gather some samples throughout your residence to send to them for testing. See the full article on SmartMove’s website by clicking here: lead paint.
  • Rugs - When shopping for an eco-friendly rug, you should pay attention to what percentage of the material has been recycled.
  • Fabric - Two popular eco-friendly fabrics are organic cotton and bamboo. Like most organic products, organic cotton is a bit more expensive than non-organic cotton. However it's better for the environment, especially when it is processed using green technology. Bamboo is a great material for sustainable furniture as well as fabric. Bamboo grows much faster than traditional wood and typically doesn't require the use of fertilizers or pesticides.
  • Keeping Mold At Bay - The sight or smell of mold sends some people into a panic, yet, mold is everywhere, and if moving to a humid destination, you're bound to come across it sooner or later. When you do, chances are you can take care of it on your own. Mold will grow anywhere there's moisture, which is most places, given the fact that there's water even in the air. When people are afraid of such growth, they're usually thinking of so-called toxic mold. However, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, reports of such molds are incredibly rare. SmartMove offers advice via the Centers for Disease Control on how you can locate mold, clean it up, prevent its growth – and when you need to consult a professional.
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