There are many good reasons to declutter before moving to a new home. However, it’s easier said than done. Maybe you are moving to a smaller place, or perhaps you have just accumulated so much stuff over the years, and you realize there is no sense cluttering up your new home.
In any case, declutter or letting go of some of those lesser-used items is a freeing experience and can make for a simplified and more cost-effective move. Use some of these ideas to reduce your store of belongings. Using an inventory and methodically approaching the job is especially helpful.
Why Downsize by Decluttering
If you’re moving to a smaller space, the reasons for downsizing your belongings are apparent. You can’t take everything.
But even if you’ll have room to pack up all your possessions and dump them in your new home, you may not want to.
There are many benefits to decluttering. You can sell things for cash or donate them for a tax deduction. You can free up the storage space in your new home.
Last but not least, you’ll reduce the cost and effort of moving.
Tips for Reducing the Amount of Stuff
Maybe you’re looking at decades of accumulated goods and wondering, “How am I ever going to make a dent in this?” Here are some ideas for whittling down that house full of possessions.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
To avoid frustration, don’t start the decluttering process at the last minute. Begin the process as soon as you know that you will be moving. Schedule a few hours a day to deal with a different room or closet in your house. When you give yourself the proper amount of time and work in smaller chunks, you’re less likely to just throw it all in moving boxes and be done with it.
Make it as detailed as you want. A spreadsheet is one good way to do it.
Here are some things you might note about each item:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you want it?
- What shape is it in?
- When was the last time you used it?
- How often do you use it?
- Will you keep it, sell it or give it away?
There’s no right or wrong on any specific item. How much do YOU care? If your great aunt’s homemade watercolors mean something to you, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
Go Through the House Methodically
Reader’s Digest suggests going through the house in concentric circles and working from the outside toward the center. The reasoning: more disposal-worthy items are in attics and closets nearer outside walls.
Whether you do circles or not, it’s important to have a method. Hit every room, closet, and drawer.
Separate Keepers from Non-Keepers
Designate part of a room or garage to collect everything you plan not to keep. Sort those into stacks to be sold, donated, or thrown away.
While you’re working, don’t put anything back in a closet or drawer unless you’re likely to keep it.
How many Phillips head screwdrivers do you need? How many large wooden spoons? The kitchen and the workshop are excellent targets for weeding out extras.
Disposing of Your Unwanted Items
Some people hold a garage sale then donate what’s leftover. That’s not the only option.
If you’re selling, think beyond eBay and Craigslist. Here are 65 places to try.
Or, set the items on the curb with a FREE sign. Let things go where they’re really wanted.
Are you really going to start using the exercise equipment? Do your relatives actually want the baby clothes you’re saving?
Leave Special Mementos for Last
It’s easier to get rid of things that have less meaning to us than it is to discard items with sentimental value. So, leave the harder decisions about sentimental things for last.
It’s best to lighten your load before you move, but if there are belongings you just can’t decide about, consider putting them in storage.
If you don’t use them within six months, maybe you never will. Then it will be time to revisit handing those items off.
Yes, you incur the cost and trouble of moving them. But you don’t have to unpack them or look at them.
Relocating to a new home is a chance to start over fresh. Why not start by eliminating those things you don’t really need or want.
If you are still making your moving plans, contact us for a quote. We can help simplify your move experience.