Every year, millions of people pack up and move, putting stress on the environment. Perfectly useful items wind up in the trash. Cardboard boxes and packing materials pile up in landfills.
The United States alone manufactures around 100 billion cardboard boxes a year, and only 75% of those get recycled.
It doesn’t have to be that way. According to Nancy Zofran, general manager at Oz Moving & Storage, these leftover moving supplies are great for a variety of crafts and projects.
Below are seven unique and interesting ideas to consider before throwing out your moving supplies and contributing to environmental waste.
1. Make a Fortress or a Dollhouse
Building a fortress or a dollhouse is a simple and fun activity for kids. The first thing you will want to do is gather enough boxes in similar shapes and sizes.
Once you have collected the desired number of boxes, wrap them with leftover plastic packing materials to give the walls of your fortress or dollhouse some sturdiness. Reusing the plastic this way prevents it from clogging up a landfill, where it can take decades or even hundreds of years to decompose.
2. Create Decorative Storage Organizers
Reusing your cardboard boxes for decorative storage organizers benefits the Earth in a few ways. First, it means that you won’t be using harmful plastic containers. Second, you’ll avoid contributing to paper-manufacturing emissions.
Creating your own takes very little time. Cut the boxes down and shape them with a knife or an electric saw. Add wheels if you want your shelves to be mobile. Use the packing tape you have left over to decorate your new piece of furniture.
For instance, if you want to create a shoe rack, you can use two or three leftover moving boxes to form a frame. Then, you can affix decorative items like keys, brooches, cufflinks, hair pins, and other small accessories on top of these boxes.
Be even more mindful of how much waste you create by using older items that might otherwise be thrown away. To ensure these boxes are airtight and leak-proof, test the tightness before affixing any fasteners.
3. Build an Indoor Dog Play House
If you have pets, you can use leftover moving boxes to build a fun playhouse for them when you get to your new home. All you need is a large cardboard box, packing tape, and a few other supplies, to create a sturdy and comfortable indoor doghouse.
Remember to add windows for plenty of ventilation and a comfortable mat or carpet to keep your pet cozy. Reusing materials for your pup is a low-cost solution and a great way to keep your boxes from winding up in a landfill.
Unlike plastic, cardboard will biodegrade while in the landfill. However, when it breaks down, it releases methane into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.
4. Create Cardboard Christmas Decorations
If you have an artistic touch, cardboard is an ideal material to use when creating beautiful Christmas decorations. Cutting, painting, and folding your cardboard will help create different shapes and decorations that you can use during the holidays.
You can make any decoration or fixture depending on the time and skill needed to complete this project.
If you need ideas, do not hesitate to look for a template online. If you store these carefully, you can use them for many years to come, reducing their impact on the environment. You can also decorate and reuse boxes for gift giving.
5. Make Upcycled Home Décor – Wall Art
One of the best things about moving is having extra supplies and materials for upcycling home décor, wall art, and other household items. You can create simple wall art by cutting out some empty boxes.
If you used old magazines, wrapping paper, or newspaper during the packing process, you can cover the wall art with them. Use nontoxic sustainable glaze or paint for a unique look.
Think of the decorative materials you have at your disposal. Whether they are acrylic, wood, metallic, plastic, or even wallpaper, you can use them as inspiration for your next wall art project. You can also create art using various colors, patterns, and mix-and-match designs.
6. Make Cardboard Furniture
Cardboard furniture is a popular trend right now. It looks modern and practical, and you can customize your furniture details like size and shape. It’s a way to make your cardboard last long-term. It also means you’ll be spending less on furniture that will one day become waste itself.
Cardboard cube shelving is probably the easiest project for beginners. Cut two pieces of cardboard to the same length and use earth-friendly glue to hold them together.
This adds sturdiness. Repeat this three times so you have four sides. Using more glue, attach them together in a simple cube shape. Let the glue dry thoroughly. You can make multiple boxes and stack them in different formations.
Paint them white, and they’ll look just like the storage cubes you buy from a store.
7. Build Desktop Organizers and Stationery Boxes
Cardboard desktop organizers and stationery boxes look better than plastic ones, and they’re less harmful for the environment. You’ll need two squares of sturdy cardboard. They should be the same size.
You can decorate the cardboard beforehand or wait until you’re finished. If you still have leftover packing papers, consider using them for decoupage.
Put one piece of cardboard flat on your table. That’s the bottom of your organizer. Place the other so it’s vertical, touching the back edge of your base.
This will be the back. Once you glue them together, they should form a 90-degree angle. Take three more pieces that are the same size. Two of these will form the sides. Before gluing them, trim them so they’ll slope down.
Next, attach them to each side of your base. The tallest part should be in the back; they should slope down toward the front.
Trim your third piece to match the sides, and then glue it directly into the canter. It should divide your desktop storage container in half. You can add smaller shelves using the same techniques.
Using your leftover moving supplies to create new items can help you save time and money in the long run. Even better, you’ll be doing your part to slow down the growing landfill crisis.
Globally, we’re running out of room for our trash. Your move will contribute fewer harmful emissions, and you’ll have fun creating items for your new home.