Reduce Waste and Getting Rid of Trash After Unpacking

When moving, its not just packing and unpacking you moving boxes – you will need to change your address, cleaning and scheduling movers or rental trucks, just to name a few.

One thing that no one ever prepares for is the amount of trash and waste you are going to produce before and after your move. You will want to plan some kind of garbage management system to make sure that you stay on top of it.

Packing Before Your Move

The best way to plan on managing your waste is to start planning it even before you start packing. You should carefully select which type of packing supplies you will be using and which belongings you will be bringing with you to your new home. These are two of the easiest ways to start planning your garbage management.

Packing Materials

When choosing your packing materials and boxes, you should consider using items that are recyclable or can be repurposed such as:

  • Rope instead of plastic twine
  • Packing paper instead of foam peanuts
  • Recyclable bubble wrap

PRO TIP: If you choose to wrap your products with magazine or newspaper, be careful when wrapping due to the ink. Therefore, packing paper aka blank newsprint is recommended. No need to worry about the ink running off and ruining your belongings.

If you have chosen to receive second-hand packing materials or boxes from stores, friends, or family, you will want to make sure that they are in excellent condition. Make sure to check them for:

  • Cardboard boxes should be free of cuts, rips, and dents. There should be little wear or damage to the flaps and corners.
  • Newspaper should not be crushed or wrinkled.
  • Bubble wrap should be or close to 100% of the bubbles intact.

Declutter and Reduce

Once you have purchased the right packing materials, you should start to sort through everything and start planning on what you either no longer use, need, or want. This will limit and help you save on the packaging materials you will need to use, and the amount of waste produced. You may want to consider renting a junk removal bin if you have a lot of furniture or junk. You can also try to sell any unwanted items or furniture before you move.

Unpacking After Your Move

It is easy to underestimate the number of moving supplies that you use when packing your house. This can leave you with a mountain of crumpled paper, flattened moving boxes, and used bubble wrap. Keep your post-move garbage under control with these helpful tips:

Get Organized

Before the unpacking begins, you will want to either set up bins or large boxes you will working in. Label them into two groups:

  • Materials that can be reused, donated, or sold.
  • Materials that need to be recycled or disposed of

Any materials that are in good enough condition to be reused or donated should be piled together neatly. You can pack them into a box or a plastic bin to keep them protected during storage. The second group should be placed in used boxes or bags and should be separated in such way:

  • Recyclable Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Recyclable Plastics
  • Garbage

If you do not have enough room in your working area, then you can place them in a box and separate them later at a better time.

PRO TIP: Check with your city municipality’s recycling bylaws to confirm what type of items you can recycle. You can find this information on your city or town’s website.

While you are unpacking follow these steps to make it easy.

  • Breakdown cardboard moving boxes are you go.
  • Flatten out crumbled packing paper, so that it takes up less space when placing in recycle bin.
  • If you have to much crumble paper, just place in a box, and take directly to recycling center.
  • Crush any aluminum or plastic materials to conserve space. Check all plastics for recycle classification codes.
  • If bubble wrap has more than 5% of bubbles popped, throw away.
  • Any broken items, set aside and dispose of

PRO TIP: Be mindful of the weight of your garbage bags. Most city or town’s have a weight restriction of trash bags, this is usually around 40-50 lbs. Also make sure to use high quality trash bags to protect from rips or tears due to the weight.


Now that everything is unpacked and organized. You can donate or resell unused or gently used moving supplies and packing materials. Use social media platforms such as Facebook groups and marketplace, craigslist, and any other freecycling apps. For all other items that cannot be reused, the next step is either recycling or disposal.

  • If there is not too much waste, you can use your apartment complex’s dumpster, or the home’s curbside garbage/recycle collection.
  • If these is a lot of waste, do not overload your garbage bins. You can check your city’s local bulk trach days, or you can span the disposal of the garbage over multiple trash collection days. If neither of these are options, you will need to take and dispose the waste at your local dump or landfill.

PRO TIP: There are some landfills that will charge you a fee for each bag, weight, or truckload. Make sure to research which location will work best for your waste. Also is you have any electronics; they will need a special type of disposal. Check to see if the landfill you choose will properly dispose of the electronics.


It just takes a little bit of organizing to get your garbage waste disposal easier. You can manage your waste by following these steps:

  • Decrease the amount of waste by decluttering before you move.
  • Setup a waste area in the room you are unpacking.
  • Recycle what you can.
  • Separate waste for multiple garbage collection days
  • Rent junk removal container.
  • Take loads of trash to local landfill.