Most moving companies wrap everything in plastic stretch wrap.

When I left my home in California last month to care for my dad in Maryland, I struggled to figure out how to do it plastic-free.   Moving across the country can involve a lot of disposable plastic if you’re not careful:  plastic bubble wrap inside your boxes, plastic tape to close the boxes, and plastic stretch wrap around everything. Apparently, stretch wrap is now a moving company’s best friend.  In fact, I had the following phone conversation with one of the many moving company reps I spoke to:

Me:  I don’t want my items covered in plastic wrap.  Can you just use reusable moving blankets?
Rep:  We do use blankets.  But we have to use plastic wrap over the blankets to protect your furniture.  No reputable company would move your possessions without plastic wrap.
Me: How did they do it in the old days?
Rep: If they were a good company, they used plastic wrap.
Me: I mean, in the days before plastic stretch wrap.
Rep:  Good moving companies have always used stretch wrap.
Me: You do realize there was a time before plastic was invented, right?
Rep:  Maybe they didn’t have moving companies back then.

Oy.  So, okay, I wasn’t able to avoid plastic wrap completely.  But I did minimize it as much as possible.  Here’s what I did, as well as a few things I would have done if I’d had more time.

Minimize the Amount of Stuff to Move

CDs and DVDs I didn’t have to move because I gave them all away.

Since my year of minimizing and buying nothing new, I had already culled a lot of my possessions.  Years ago I’d sold most of my CDs and DVDs.  I’d reduced my reading library to one bookcase.  Okay, one double-wide bookcase, but still… I’d donated clothes and dishes and an entire cabinet of stemware (because when you are clumsy and have cats, you’re just begging for red wine accidents.)  But even after that, I still had a lot of stuff to move.

I seriously considered selling or…

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