Decluttering Before Moving: What You Should Know

July 7, 2017
Pamela Muller

It’s not every day that you move to a new home. When that day does come, you want to make it as stress-free and meaningful as possible. Moving to a new home is an opportunity for a host of wonderful things. One of them is subtracting what is quite literally baggage, by doing some pre-move decluttering.

Let’s take a look at how you can make the process less troublesome and more effective.

The Right Approach

One of the first things you should do is determine the different categories of things that you will not be needing until after you move. The list might look something like this:

  • Books
  • Collections
  • Décor
  • Outdoor gear
  • Toys
  • Clothing / shoes
  • Furniture
  • Holiday items

Your next step is to filter all of the above through three funnels:

  1. Pack
  2. Donate
  3. Dispose

You should be able to put everything in one of these funnels. Think about it, you don’t want your moving company to spend their time on stuff that would rather be donated or thrown out, right?

Know How to Decide

Not being able to decide what to hold on to and what to part with is quite common. This indecisiveness often hinders the decluttering efforts of even the most organized people. However, you can power through this phase, without making any decision you might regret later (or you can hire us to help you).

For instance, you should ask yourself if an item is damaged. If yes, throw it out. If an item has not been used for over six months, chances are you won’t miss it and can throw it out or donate it.

When it comes to clothes, a good rule of thumb is donating anything you haven’t worn for over a year. Only exceptions to this rule is any apparel of sentimental value. Even with that, you can re-evaluate the clothing item’s importance. It might find a better home, which isn’t the one you’re moving to. Sometimes you will realize that an item doesn’t hold any true emotional value; you just needed up to bring the question in your mind.

Keep these rules of thumb in mind, they’re invaluable in that they help you make difficult decisions during your pre-move decluttering.

Focus on the “Lower 30%”

Whether it’s a pile, stack or a drawer, the most “useless” tend to be at the bottom. So if you find yourself short on time and/or don’t want to go through an entire stack or drawer immediately, focus on the bottom third. It will probably belong in the “donate” funnel.

Of course you won’t be blindly throwing away these things. Yet this technique will speed up your decluttering process. You’ll be surprised by how stuff you can get by without once you’ve accepted a “pre-screened” batch to be worthy of disposal as this lower 30% technique.

Start Early

As with so many things worth pursuing, the first step is always the hardest with decluttering as well. So resist sweet promises of procrastination the best you can and get started with your decluttering early on.

Even with a professional moving service to help you, the move and the pre-move decluttering will require some measure of your time and attention. Think of it this way – the less stuff you to move, the quicker and easier it will be to set it up in your new home.

The more methodical you are, the more swiftly things will proceed. If you have kids, feel free to enlist their help. If you give them a chance, they can certainly rise up to the occasion and help your decluttering instead of just getting in the way.

You can position this as a “game” where they get to choose their favorite toys, while storing the rest. Once in your new home, even in your kids might agree to dispose some toys that the previously wouldn’t let go of.

Respect Your New Space

The relationship between your belongings and your living space is just that – a relationship. So if you or anyone in your home has the habit of overloading your living space, now is the time to turn over a new leaf. So your habit of hoarding, overloading etc. should go in the “dispose” funnel!

Remember, this isn’t just a decluttering exercise that you can either do yourself or have us assist you with.