It’s almost impossible for most adults to avoid moving at least a few times over the course of their lives. A bit of evidence is that, even with the pandemic raging, around 27 million people moved in 2021 alone.
For some, it’s even a semi-regular event as they change companies or get promotions that require them in a new location. For others, it may only happen a handful of times.
Of course, every move provides a golden opportunity to declutter your home and move into your new place with less stuff you don’t need. Not sure how you should go about decluttering before moving house? Keep reading for some decluttering tips and ideas.
Finalize Your Plans First
Before you start thinking about what you should or shouldn’t take with you, you should finalize your plans first. For example, you should make a detailed list of all the essential tasks you must complete before you go.
Some common things that should go on your list include:
- Getting copies of school records
- Getting copies of medical records
- Scheduling connection and disconnection of services
- Canceling local memberships
- Getting moving supplies
Other things you should put on your list are things like finding a new doctor or veterinarian at your destination. This can prove particularly important if you or your pets have chronic medical conditions that require prescriptions.
You should also make sure that you have a mover locked in for a specific date. Movers can help you with more than you think. Just check out these services for some examples.
With your general moving plans settled, let’s dig into how you can declutter.
Make a Decluttering Plan
Did you think the planning was over? Most homes contain enough stuff and enough rooms that you can’t attack decluttering without a strategy in place. One good strategy is simply to list all the rooms in the house in the order that you will declutter them.
You can start with rooms that don’t get a lot of use and work your way down to the rooms that see daily use or vice versa. Starting with low-use rooms is a good way of easing yourself into the process since you won’t have family members competing for the space.
Starting with high-use rooms is often a way of starting with the hardest part first. Those rooms often accumulate clutter.
Consider your average living room or kitchen. Everything from coats and sports equipment to magazines and mail builds up in those areas.
You should also think about how you want to organize your belongings. A common approach is a “four-box” system:
Organizing this way helps you pack what you want and deal with everything else appropriately.
Dealing with Clothes
Believe it or not, many people struggle more with decluttering their closets than with almost anything else. There are good reasons for that struggle.
In many cases, people hang on to clothes for sentimental reasons. A college football player may hang onto a college sweater they can never fit into again because it reminds them of those times. A woman might hang onto a dress she won’t fit into again because it was the dress she wore when her husband proposed.
Hanging on to a few sentimental pieces of clothing isn’t a crime. You should give yourself permission to do it.
Of course, some people hang onto what might be called aspirational clothing. This is clothing they can’t fit into, but they think they might fit into it again someday with the right workout routine and diet.
A good rule of thumb with clothing is the six-month or one-year rule. If you can’t remember wearing an article of clothing in the last six months or the last year, you should get rid of it.
Of course, even after you separate all of your belongings into the appropriate categories, there is still the problem of disposing of them.
Donation sounds easy, but there is some strategy involved there. While you can take clothes and even small appliances to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army store, what about things like furniture?
Always ask around with your friends and family and see if they want anything you plan on donating. In many cases, they’ll take away your furniture for you and prove happy to do it.
You can also contact your local habitat for humanity. They can often put the furniture to use or sell it in one of the ReStores to help finance their operations.
Most people have stuff they don’t necessarily want but are quite ready to simply give away. In those cases, you want some options.
You can always go with the time-honored garage sale. That’s a good way to pick up a few bucks for lower-value items like lamps, toasters, books, and even some old, gently-used clothing. You don’t really want higher-value items at a garage sale because people will haggle over the price.
Of course, in this day and age, a lot of people have old but perfectly serviceable electronics that are actually worth some real money. For example, let’s say that you bought yourself the latest gaming console. The old console you used right up until you fired up the new one likely has a lot of life left in it.
For things like gaming consoles, laptops, Chromebooks, and tablet computers, you’re often better off selling your things online.
Declutter Your Home the Smart Way
Avoid the impulse to jump right in and start. You may get some decluttering done, but it can become overwhelming without a plan. Declutter your home the smart way before you move.
Make a plan of attack. Decide in what order you’ll deal with the rooms in your home. Decide on an organization system for what you’ll keep, trash, sell, and donate.
In terms of selling things, you should separate out higher-value and lower-value items for a garage sale or selling online.
Looking for more tips on decluttering or moving? Check out the posts in our Lifestyle and Travel sections.