Over time, holding onto things for too long can create clutter in your home — and too much stuff can create chaos before a move. Decluttering closets, drawers, and rooms helps purge items you don’t need. Getting rid of clothes, toiletries, food, and other unnecessary items makes moving easier.
The benefits of decluttering before a move include lower costs and stress levels. You also save time and energy by removing any excess items. Addressing clutter is important and gives you a fresh start in your new home.
Believe it or not, decluttering before a move can be fun and stress-free if you plan accordingly. Have friends or family join you in the mission to sort through your stuff. Figure out what items you won’t use in the future and donate or dispose of them.
Here are some tips to follow to declutter before moving.
The earlier you start to declutter, the less stressful the whole moving process will be. Putting a plan in place also makes packing easier on you. The longer you wait to remove clutter, the more difficult a move you’ll have.
Depending on the size of your home, it’s recommended you start decluttering 2–6 weeks before your move. Some professional organizers suggest clearing out junk 6–12 months prior to moving. In essence, when it comes to decluttering, the sooner, the better.
Clutter happens to the best of us and takes on a new life with an upcoming move. Stay calm and focused by developing a plan. Schedule dedicated time to declutter and ensure it gets done before the big day.
Devote a few hours a day to emptying out a room or closet and go one by one. Pro tip: play some uplifting music in the background to get into the right mindset and stay motivated!
Declutter by Room
When preparing for a move, develop a strategy before decluttering. Clear out rooms that are the least used first. Make a schedule and list the areas you’ll tackle in order. You can start with the basement, spare bedrooms, linen closets, and other smaller spaces before you get to the big stuff.
Sticking to a solid plan streamlines the entire moving process. Save mementos and keepsakes along with more important rooms for last. Most clutter gets tucked away in drawers, closets, or rarely used areas in the home. You’ll get a rhythm going and you’ll avoid getting stuck in deciding whether or not to keep something.
Sort by Keep, Donate, Throw Away
Get three boxes or containers for each room when you begin to declutter. Categorize unwanted items and sort them by keep, donate, and throw away. This process helps you identify what stays and what goes prior to your move.
The general rule of thumb is to get rid of anything you haven’t used or touched in a year. Donate or sell any clothes that no longer fit or haven’t been worn in a year. A best practice is to go through clothing twice a year to clear out closets.
Try a practicality test to approach any belongings you’re uncertain about when decluttering. Ask yourself if you’ll use the item in the future — and answer it honestly. If you have multiple household items, like bedding or kitchen gadgets, only keep one. Once you determine what you need to keep, donate, and throw away, place it in the appropriate box.
Use Up Consumables
Start eating any perishable foods in your home that will be heavy or difficult to move. Use up consumables that can weigh boxes down or become damaged in transit. Shelf-stable drinks, cans of soup, and jars of pasta are difficult to pack and move. Also, look at the expiration dates and throw away any old food.
Use any products you have in bulk before moving. Items may include paper towels, toilet paper, or soap. Almost-gone shampoo bottles and other products take up time and space when packing. Even if you see something on sale, don’t bring new products into the home. The fewer items you have to move, the less stressful it will be.
Make It a Fun Event
You can make decluttering a fun event by asking friends or family to help. Bribe them with beer, dinner, or something else they love. You can also tell them that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, and they’ll get free stuff. People are more likely to help when they get something out of the deal.
When decluttering sounds fun and you get to spend time with loved ones, it won’t even feel like work. You can play music, drink, order a pizza, or take a trip down memory lane as you purge a room. Packing for a move is challenging and stressful enough; if you enjoy it, you’ll feel less pressure.
Declutter by Room
Start decluttering early, whether you’re moving in a few months or a year. Put a solid plan in place and focus first on the least-used rooms. Develop a strategy for each area and separate items by keep, donate/sell, and throw away. As you declutter, use up any products you can to save space and time when packing. Most importantly, stay motivated by making the process fun.
Decluttering is a way to start fresh in your new home and feel good. Seize the opportunity to let go of personal baggage like mementos and other items you don’t need.
If you need even more help, consider hiring professional organizers, packers, or movers. Extra sets of hands make it quicker to declutter your home. The whole moving process gets much easier when you have professional hands to help you.