7 Essential Tips for Decluttering Before a Move

a room with boxes
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Decluttering before a move conserves time, energy, and money. It also offers a clean slate in your new residence. Instead of taking the clutter along, seize this relocation opportunity to streamline your belongings and commence anew in your new abode.

While gearing up for the move, use this chance to declutter. As you sort through each object while packing, it provides a perfect moment to reevaluate what genuinely enriches your life versus what merely contributes to the clutter. Here are 7 essential tips for decluttering before moving.

Decluttering Before a Move

Decluttering before a move can have several tangible and intangible benefits;

  1. Fewer items to move means reduced weight, potentially lowering shipping or moving company costs.
  2. Less volume can allow for renting a smaller, more economical moving truck.
  3. Decluttering minimizes the need for boxes, bubble wrap, and tape, reducing packing expenses.
  4. With fewer items to wrap and box up, packing is faster and more efficient.
  5. Unloading and organizing at the new home is less overwhelming with fewer belongings.
  6. It’s easier to find a place for everything when you have only what you need.
  7. With less clutter, you have fewer decisions to make during the moving process.
  8. Eliminating clutter can lead to a feeling of control over your environment and circumstances.
  9. Moving with only items that reflect your current tastes and lifestyle allows for a fresh start.

These are just a few of the many benefits, so where do you start?

1. Start Early and Create a Plan

clothes being put into boxes ready to move house

Creating a decluttering plan with timelines is an essential step to ensure an efficient and stress-free move. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get organized:

Step 1

Begin by defining what you want to achieve through decluttering. Set realistic goals such as reducing your belongings by a certain percentage or ensuring that everything you pack has a defined use or value.

Step 2

Break down the decluttering process into manageable tasks. Schedule sessions by room or by category of items, allocating several hours to each session. If you mark these sessions in your calendar as appointments, there will be more chance that you will do it.

Step 3

Before you start, ensure you have boxes, trash bags, and storage bins for sorting. Label them as ‘Keep’, ‘Sell’, ‘Donate’, ‘Recycle’, and ‘Trash’. Then, begin with areas like the attic, basement, or garage, where items not frequently used are stored. Tackle one space per scheduled session to avoid being overwhelmed.

Step 4

Proceed to living areas including the living room, dining room, and bedrooms, and sort items into your pre-labeled boxes and bags. Be decisive with personal items; keep only what’s necessary or brings you joy.

2. Sort the Paperwork

paperwork on a desk

If you’re burdened by heaps of paperwork, merely shifting to a new home won’t resolve the issue. Consolidate all your documents scattered across your home, sift through them, and dispose of them as much as possible.

Many people tend to hoard documents believing they might need them someday. However, in today’s digital age, most information is just a click away, so only retain truly essential paperwork.

Anything containing personal and financial details should be shredded to avoid identity theft. Digitizing your documents is another effective way to save space; just ensure you have a sound backup system. Here are some more resources and suggestions to digitize your documents:

  • Google Drive offers free storage for up to 15GB and is integrated with Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
  • Dropbox offers a free basic storage option with upgrades if you need more space.
  • Microsoft OneDrive integrates seamlessly with Windows and Microsoft Office products, offering free storage and additional space with Office 365 subscriptions.
  • Adobe Scan converts your phone into a powerful scanning tool with recognition capabilities allowing you to save directly to the Cloud.
  • Ideal for Apple users, iCloud provides easy synchronization across all Apple devices and some free storage, with the option to purchase more.
  • External hard drives and SSDs
  • Digital decluttering tools like CCleaner or WinRAR to remove duplicate files and compress them.

3. Donate What You Don’t Need

a box full of clothes ready to be donated

One of the motivations for holding onto items is the sentimental value we associate with them. These objects, once cherished and invaluable to us, now only create clutter and distractions that prevent us from enjoying the present.

This method of thinking can be quite burdensome, resulting in a collection of unnecessary items that merely occupy valuable space.

One way to alleviate the discomfort of decluttering is to organize a donation pickup from easydonationpickup.com, donate to a second-hand store, or even give your items away to friends and family. The thought of your possessions being found and treasured by someone else can bring a sense of gratification, making parting with them more bearable.

4. Use the One-Year Rule for Clothes

a woman decluttering her wardrobe

The one-year rule is a popular decluttering principle that suggests if you haven’t used an item in the last year, it’s unlikely you will use it in the future and therefore you can let it go. This rule is particularly effective when applied to clothing for several reasons.

Since the one-year timeframe covers all seasons, any seasonal clothing that hasn’t been worn through its appropriate season can be considered for decluttering. Reflect on any lifestyle changes over the past year. If your clothing no longer matches your current lifestyle or work environment, it may be time to donate or sell those pieces.

a wardrobe in neutral colours

Implementing the rule:

  1. Sort through your wardrobe and ask when you last wore a piece.
  2. Create a “maybe” box if you aren’t sure if you want to get rid of them and revisit them after a set period.
  3. Be realistic and honest with yourself about whether you’ll wear the item again. If the only reason you’re keeping it is “just in case,” it’s a sign that it can go.
  4. To maintain a decluttered wardrobe, for every new item you bring in, consider letting go of one you haven’t worn in the past year.

5. Measure Up

Securing precise dimensions of your future home before moving can be crucial in decluttering, especially regarding larger items. Transporting items only to discover they don’t fit is inefficient and expensive.

If you cannot get these measurements or are still undecided about your new location, identify the items you could easily let go of. This will help you understand what you’re willing to discard if needed when the time comes.

6. Take Into Account the Item Weight While Packing

a husband and wife trying to move a sofa

While preparing for your move by decluttering, it’s important to consider the weight of the items you intend to bring along. If you’re managing the move independently, packing heavier objects will require more exertion and trips between your former and future homes.

If you’ve hired movers, reducing the weight of your belongings can significantly cut down your moving expenses. The process of moving is an excellent occasion to contemplate purging any exceptionally heavy items that you don’t genuinely utilize, require, or have affection for.

7. Schedule a Date One Month Before Your Relocation

a kitchen with oak worktops and open shelving

It’s advisable to begin decluttering your house at least one month before your moving date. Avoid attempting to declutter simultaneously while packing as it can lead to increased work, or even worse, you might abandon the task midway and end up transporting unnecessary items to your new residence.

Allocate sufficient time to organize, categorize, sell, and donate your possessions. Schedule at least two weekends for this task; one for decluttering and another for selling and donating. Distributing the work over time will make the job seem less intimidating, particularly if you have many items to dispose of.

If decluttering before moving seems daunting, you might find it beneficial to begin with a simpler area like a bathroom or a utility room. These spaces are less likely to contain sentimental items, allowing for quick and straightforward progress.

Decluttering before a move is not just about reducing the physical load but also about lightening the emotional and mental burdens. It’s an investment in efficiency and tranquility that pays dividends in all phases of the moving process.

By following these decluttering tips, and purging unnecessary items, you decrease the costs and complexities of transportation and unpacking. You also afford yourself a unique opportunity to reassess what’s truly valuable in your life.

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