Tuesday Tip for Greener Living: My Move, How I Messed Up & What I Wish I Had Done

It's been almost 7 months since I’ve moved.  I moved from a large townhouse into a small apartment, maybe about 1/3 of the size of my original space.

While I did know I was moving, I didn’t know where. There are so many reasons for that, plus I was sort of in denial. Because I didn’t know where I was moving, I wasn’t sure exactly how to plan. I started to pack, but I knew if we ended up somewhere smaller there was no way to take everything.

So, at the very last minute we knew we were moving into a much smaller space, I had to start to purge things.

And I do mean “I”. My boyfriend didn’t have nearly the collection of “stuff” I have. (I am a green jewelry designer…I have to keep a lot of “stuff” on hand!)

Because of my lack of planning, I screwed up. And I have had guilt ever since thinking about it.

Here’s what I did, and what I wish I would have done instead. (Some of this kills me to write here!!)


I had a couch, chair, work table, 2 desks, a coffee table and end table – just in my studio. (I can’t believe I just typed that….I don’t even have close to that amount of stuff in my entire space in the new place – and I don’t have a studio!)

There was a couch, recliner, chair + ottoman, coffee table and crazy gigantic consol tv in my living room. …Well, I’m not going to go on with all the furniture…..

There was a lot.

And it was mostly in not great shape, but mostly in okay shape. On top of that, my parents knew a couple of people who were downsizing/moving, so they also brought me a new couch, love seat and a newer tv.

What actually happened:

I couldn’t possibly fit all of this furniture into my new apartment. I thought that I could get a couch and 2 chairs + my desk into my new living room. I had a hutch that I also needed to get in there for the storage.

It ended up that NONE of the couches could even fit through the door and maneuver in the hallway. So I ended up with a love seat, a couple of chairs, my desk and hutch. The tv sits on the hutch.

So we had to get rid of a lot of furniture, including a few couches, lots of end tables and coffee tables. So, we packed a load of stuff to take to donate.

They took all the coffee and end tables, but they wouldn’t take my extra desk. They wouldn’t take any of the couches or chairs.

So, we took a load to the dump and threw it in since I only had a couple of days with a trailer and my parents to help.

It makes me so sad to type it. The dump.

What I wish I would have done:

I wish I had been more organized and figured out that I wouldn’t have needed most of this furniture ahead of time. I would have put an ad on freecycle.

I could have had a yard sale a few months earlier when it was warmer and given away the furniture, or even just put a “free” sign on it. Unfortunately, I moved at the end of November.

Odds and ends:

I don’t have a lot of “knick knacks” per se. I did have collections of things, though. For example, I had a collection of baskets that filled an entire closet. I had tons of blankets. That sort of thing.

What actually happened:

I donated whatever I couldn’t bring with me and they took all of that sort of thing, although I do miss my baskets.

Craft supplies:

Like I said above, I'm a green jewelry designer.  I need a lot of "stuff" around.  And I certainly had a lot of "stuff"!

What actually happened:

I had to purge a lot of my supplies. I went from having a huge studio + tons of storage for all of my supplies to just having basically a shelf for my supplies and a smaller table to work.

A lot of stuff I did pack up and put into storage.

The stuff that could be recycled, I recycled.

The rest of the stuff, I threw out.

What I wish I would have done:

Donated everything I recycled or threw out to Lancaster Creative Reuse.

(Note, you probably have noticed a lack of coasters. This is precisely because I no longer have a large studio. I just have a table and a shelf with my stuff on it. I am working on ways to get the coasters back into production, but I certainly don’t have the space now.)


I had an old microwave and toaster oven to get rid of (extra dishes, etc., did get donated.)

What actually happened:

The old microwave and toaster oven went to the dump. They separated them, but I actually don’t know what they did with them.

Plastic bags. We have used canvas bags for groceries for a while now, but we did have a pretty huge collection from before. We kept some and got rid of the rest in the dumpster.

What I wish we would have done:

Appliances:  I don't actually know what the dump did with them.  It's possible they recycled them.  However, I could have recycled them myself.

Plastic bags:  I wish we would have taken them to the grocery store to recycle. Again, we were in a hurry.
(I’m happy to announce that we are almost completely plastic bag free in our new place.)


I’m telling you this to (a) come clean and (b) hopefully help you when you move.

Planning ahead for where you can most greenly dispose of items is the best way to not run into these problems.  I felt rushed and was under time contraints and began to worry that I didn't have enough time to get everything moved and disposed of in tme.

Another tip that would have helped me:  Be realistic about where you are moving and how much stuff you can really bring with you.  Don't go into denial thinking everything can go.  When you wake up from that denial, things are much worse than if you would have just had that time to plan.

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