London to San Sebastian part 2: Boxing the stuff

You can read part 1 here.

Moving, especially abroad, is definitely not a neutral action, nor environmentally neither in cost. To save a bit on both, we got second hand boxes from Gumtree. Despite reducing the stuff we owned, we ran out of boxes before we ran out of stuff to pack (how could such a small apartment hold so much?), so P. went to the coffee where he wrote most of his thesis and they gave him two extra boxes. Being tuned on this, we noticed the incredible amount of cardboard boxes leaning in front of shops and houses all over our neighbourhood. There are so many options to get second hand cardboard boxes for moving.

The downside of re-using boxes is that we ended up putting quite a bit of tape to make sure the boxes would arrive in one piece. You can never be too cautious when entrusting stuff to a moving company. If I had planned a bit better I would have gotten paper tape, but we had so much to think about that we bought tape in a convenience store at 11 pm the day before the moving. Organisation is definitely key to limit waste.

Tape is about the only thing we bought new though. We used brown paper and bubble wrap that we add saved during the last 4 years and then linen we would have to pack anyways to wrap the fragile stuff. And everything arrived in one piece. I avoided clothes cause I had a bad experience before with a cup that broke and made a lot of holes in a brand new shirt. But we put a bit of cloth in every parcel to fill the space and prevent stuff from moving around.

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All our efforts got a bit undermined by the fact that the transporter wrapped all of our stuff together in meters and meters of unrecyclable plastic film. Although that might be the reason why nothing was lost or broken…

To compensate, we tried to produce as little extra trash as possible. Since part of the duct tape was still sticky, P. used some to fix a few things in the new flat. Most of the paper signs and plastic pockets used for labelling were in good enough condition to be re-used. The cardboard boxes have suffered too much to be donated, but we are working on re-purposing them (more on this later?). In the end this is what went to landfill (it all fit in a regular size shopping bag):

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Ok, this is not a big success, but it is still much better than it3 could have been. We’ll do better next time, which hopefully won’t be too soon.

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