How to Tackle Decluttering Before Moving

Moving is the best time to declutter, and these are some of the best tips to help you do it! Decluttering before a move saves you time and money on the move, because there’s less stuff.

Couple packing moving boxes

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Why Declutter before Moving?

A big move is a great time to declutter. You have to pack everything anyway. This way, you have less stuff to pack!

If you’re moving soon but feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have to pack, one of the best things you can do for a smooth and stress-free move is to declutter before you pack. 

Not only will it make your move easier, but it will also give you a fresh start in your new home. We’ve got some tips, tricks, and strategies for how to declutter before a move.

Start Getting Rid of Items ASAP

Don’t wait for moving day! As soon as you know you’re going to be moving, start the decluttering process. At first, you can just be more mindful of a few things:

  • Stop bringing home more clutter
  • Look critically at your possessions for things to get rid of.
  • Begin throwing away items you don’t need to keep, and can’t donate or sell. 

This will get you into the mindset. It will also take advantage of every trash pickup you have between now and your moving date. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to end up with trash and no more pickups toward the end of packing.

Once upon a time, I actually brought a couple of boxes of trash with me on a move because I ran out of both trash pickups and time to take it to the dump. My neighbors had promised I could put things in their trash bin that week, but they had filled it to the top and beyond.

Decluttering for a Move to a New Home

Preparing for a move is a big deal, especially if you have a lot of belongings to sort through. The best way to make the packing process easier is to declutter your home before you move. 

Set a decluttering goal and timeline before you start

Determine how much time you’ll need to declutter each room and set a deadline for finishing each space. It’s also helpful to have a goal in mind for how much you want to get rid of, such as a certain number of boxes to fit on the moving truck or a certain percentage of your belongings.

Start with the least used items to make decisions easier

Begin decluttering with items you use the least, such as items in storage areas, garages or guest bedrooms. This will help you make decisions about what to keep, donate, or toss without feeling overwhelmed by sentimental attachments.

Enlist help from family and friends if needed

When it comes to decluttering a whole home, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Family members, friends, or a professional organizer can make the process easier and even more enjoyable.

Have boxes and bags ready for sorting and labeling

Before you start decluttering, make sure you have plenty of boxes and bags on hand for sorting items. Label them based on the category of items you’ll be storing inside, such as “keep”, “donate”, or “toss”.

Make a plan for disposing of unwanted items

Decide ahead of time on the ways to get rid of things you no longer need or want. Options include donating to charity, scheduling a pick-up for larger items, or arranging a garage sale or yard sale for items you no longer need.

Call local charities and food banks to see what they’ll take and how to get it to them. Some will arrange pickups if you have large furniture or other items they’ll take. This can save you a lot of time and energy.

Tips for Decluttering Sentimental Items

One of the biggest obstacles when decluttering for a move is the attachment we have to our belongings. But keeping everything is not only impractical, it can make the moving process more stressful and expensive. Use these tips to help you decide what to let go of:

  • Ask yourself if you really need or love each item: Be honest with yourself. If you haven’t used or thought about an item in months or even years, it’s likely not worth keeping. Remember my 6 month clutter rule.
  • Consider the space and cost of moving each item: The more you have, the more space and resources you’ll need for moving. Depending on the distance you’re moving, consider how much it would cost to transport items you rarely use. (If you haven’t moved in years, you’re going to be shocked what it costs.)
  • Embrace minimalism and let go of sentimental attachment: It can be hard to part with sentimental items, but try to prioritize what truly matters and what you can live without. For example, you may decide to keep items your kids made in art class, but not cheap souvenirs from vacations. 
  • Be honest with yourself and don’t keep items out of guilt: If you’re holding onto a gift or item out of guilt, it’s time to let it go. Holding onto it won’t change the past, and passing it on to someone who can use it may benefit them far more than it benefits you.
  • Remember that less clutter means less stress: Moving is already stressful enough. The less you have to pack, move, and unpack, the smoother the process will go. Plus, you’ll have a fresh start in your new home with only the items that truly matter.

By following these simple decluttering tips, you can make your move less stressful and more efficient. Remember, less is often more, and letting go of items you no longer need can be liberating!

Get Rid of Stuff: From the Attic to the Basement

One way to make decluttering less of a hassle is breaking it down room by room and starting from the top.

Start with the Attic and Work Your Way Down

Before you start, have boxes and bags ready for sorting and labeling. Begin with the least used areas of the house, such as the attic and work your way down. You might be surprised by how much clutter has accumulated over the years.

Make Separate Piles for Items to Keep, Donate, and Trash

As you go, make separate piles for items to keep, donate, and trash. Be thorough and don’t forget about hidden storage areas. When decluttering closets and drawers, sort through one by one and keep a donation bag or box in each room for things you want to give away.

Don’t hesitate to discard duplicates or items that haven’t been used in a year or more.

Maximizing Storage Space: Organizing the Keep Pile

Invest in organizing tools like shelves, storage bins, and drawer dividers to maximize storage space for the items you decide to keep. Use vertical space by stacking items or installing shelves. Keep frequently used items within reach and less used items in storage.

Label containers and shelves for easy identification, and keep like items together and organize by category.

Donation Guide: Finding the Right Place for Your Charitable Contributions

Research charities and organizations that accept specific items, and consider tax deductions for donating to a non-profit organization. Check for pick-up services for larger items and bulk donations, donate gently used clothing to local shelters or thrift stores, and donate unexpired food items to the local food bank.

Decluttering Plan: Keep, Donate, and Trash

Sorting through your belongings can be overwhelming, but using the “Keep, Donate, and Trash” method can make the process easier:

  • Keep: Ask yourself if the item is useful, sentimental, or needed. If you answer yes to any of these, then it’s a keeper.
  • Donate: Items that are in good condition but no longer needed can be donated. Consider donating to local shelters, thrift stores, or non-profit organizations.
  • Trash: Items that are broken, expired, or beyond repair should be disposed of. Don’t hold on to things that are no longer serving a purpose.

Additionally, consider selling high-value items that no longer serve a purpose. Duplicates or items that haven’t been used in a year or more should also be discarded.

How to Make a Profit on Decluttering Before You Move

If you have unwanted items that are still in good condition and could be sold, consider these selling tips to make a profit:

Research the value of your items before selling

Do your research to find out how much your items are worth so you don’t sell them for too little or overprice them and deter buyers.

Consider online marketplaces like eBay or Craigslist

Online marketplaces can be a great way to reach a larger audience and get a higher price for your items. If you’re concerned about meeting strangers through Craigslist, meet them in a public place with the item if it can be carried somewhere.

Hold a garage sale or yard sale for bulk items

If you have a lot of items to sell, consider holding a yard sale to get rid of them all at once. Make sure to advertise in advance to attract customers.

Sell items through consignment shops or thrift stores

Consignment shops or thrift stores may take some of your unwanted items on a consignment basis, which means they will sell the items for you and take a percentage of the sale price. This option can be less work for you and still yield a profit.

Put the money earned towards your move or charitable donation

Once you’ve sold your unwanted items, put the money towards your move expenses or donate it to charity for a good cause.

Donation Guide: Finding the Right Place for Your Charitable Contributions

Donating your unwanted items not only helps others in need, but it also reduces the amount of waste in landfills. Here are some tips to find the right place for your charitable contributions:

Research charities and organizations that accept specific items

Some organizations have restrictions on the types of items they accept, so it’s important to do your research before donating. For example, some charities may not accept electronics or furniture due to safety concerns or lack of storage space. Make sure to check the organization’s website or call ahead to confirm their donation guidelines.

Consider tax deductions for donating to a non-profit organization

If you itemize your taxes, you may be eligible for a tax deduction for your charitable contributions. However, not all organizations are eligible for tax deductions, so make sure to check the IRS website for a list of eligible organizations.

Check for pick-up services for larger items and bulk donations

If you have larger items or bulk donations, some organizations offer pick-up services for your convenience. Make sure to schedule a pick-up in advance and confirm any specific guidelines for donation size or location.

Donate gently used clothing and household items to local shelters or thrift stores

Local shelters and thrift stores often accept gently used clothing and household items. These donations directly benefit people in need in your community. Make sure to check with the organization for their specific needs and donation guidelines.

Donate unexpired food items to the local food bank

Food banks are always in need of non-perishable food items. Make sure to check the expiration dates before donating and avoid items that are expired or close to expiration. Call ahead to confirm any specific donation guidelines or drop-off locations.

Simple Tips to Help You Declutter Before Moving House

As you near the end of your decluttering journey, there are a few final steps to take to make sure everything is in order before the move.

  • Dispose of any remaining trash and recycling: Double-check each room for any items that may have been missed and dispose of them properly.
  • Confirm any donation or pickup arrangements: Make sure you have confirmed any appointments or arrangements and that everything is in order for your unwanted items to be picked up or dropped off.
  • Notify utility companies and post office of your move: Make arrangements to disconnect utilities and forward your mail to your new address.
  • Organize important documents and keep them with you during the move: Gather and organize important personal documents, such as passports, birth certificates, and insurance policies, and keep them in a secure place during the move.

Once you’ve completed these final steps, take a deep breath and congratulate yourself on a job well done. You’re now ready to start packing and moving to your new, clutter-free home!

Enjoy a Fresh Start in Your New Home

Decluttering for a move isn’t easy, but it’s so helpful for a successful and stress-free transition. By setting goals, enlisting help, and being honest about what to keep and what to donate or discard, you can create a simplified and organized living space.

Remember to consider the value of your unwanted items and research organizations for charitable donations. With a little planning and effort, your move can be a fresh start for a clutter-free and more intentional lifestyle.