Moving is the perfect opportunity to declutter and downsize on your belongings. Getting rid of unneeded items makes your moving experience far easier, and it allows you to get a fresh start in your new home. Decluttering can be difficult, though, especially if you feel a sentimental attachment to your belongings. Here are 10 tips to help you successfully declutter your home before moving:
1. Start Early
Preparing to move always takes longer than expected. You should start decluttering and packing long before you think you need to. It’s never too early to start considering what items you will and won’t bring with you during the move. Many homeowners initially plan to declutter before moving, but they wait too long and end up throwing everything into boxes indiscriminately to save time.
Decluttering can also be emotionally exhausting for some people. If you know you’ll have a hard time deciding which items to keep and which to throw away, start the process several months before you move. This will allow you to think carefully and take as many breaks as you need.
2. Make a Plan
Decluttering an entire home is overwhelming, especially if you’ve been accumulating items for many years. One of the most common challenges homeowners face is not knowing where to start. Making a clear and strategic plan of attack will help you stay focused and avoid stress.
Some people decide to declutter their home room by room. This can be an effective strategy because it allows you to limit the mess and chaos to one room at a time. However, others find it easier to work category by category. For example, you could go through all the clothes in the house first, then go through old papers, and finish with kitchenware.
3. Consider Your New Home
When downsizing for a move, it can be helpful to think about what your life will look like in your new home. Is your lifestyle changing with your move? Are there any items you rely on now that you won’t need in the new house? How much storage space will you have? Even if your new home is the same size or larger than your current house, its layout may not support all of your belongings.
As you sort through items before your move, you should also consider where each item will live in your new house. If you can’t come up with a specific place to store something, you should probably get rid of it.
4. Think of the Last Time You Used Something
In most cases, the things you haven’t used in over a year can be discarded. This applies to clothing, kitchen goods, technology, and many other items. So many people hold onto unneeded possessions just in case they come in handy someday. However, you have to be honest with yourself and think about whether you truly need these items. You’ll probably never find a use for the box of old cables in your closet or the toys your kids have long outgrown.
5. Digitize Items
Sentimental items are some of the hardest to part ways with. You shouldn’t get rid of important sentimental belongings just for the sake of downsizing. If the items are truly meaningful to you and bring joy to your life, you should feel free to keep them.
In some cases, though, digitizing sentimental items is a great alternative. For example, if you want to remember your children’s toys or baby clothes, take photos of them and upload the pictures to the cloud. You could also scan birthday cards, your kids’ drawings, or old photos. This allows you to keep your memories without bringing too much clutter to your new home.
6. Set a Timer
If you’re a sentimental person, deciding whether or not to get rid of certain items can be difficult. You might come across a sentimental item and get stuck on it, which causes you to lose your decluttering momentum.
In this case, try setting a timer during your decluttering process. If you can’t make a decision in five minutes, move on to the next item. You can always return to the item in question later, but moving on after a few minutes will prevent you from getting overwhelmed and giving up.
7. Pack at the Same Time
If possible, pack as many of your belongings as you can while you declutter. You’re already sorting through your items while decluttering, so packing simultaneously will save time. This can also motivate you to get rid of more items. If your only choices are to throw an item away or pack it in an already heavy box, you’ll be more inclined to discard it.
8. Sell What You Can
When decluttering, some items will simply have to be thrown away. Selling what you can offers a number of benefits, though. When you can get money for an item, you’re more likely to be willing to part ways with it. Selling your belongings to people who truly want or need them reduces waste, too. You might not make a lot of money from selling your unwanted items, but it could mitigate some of your moving costs.
There are plenty of resources for selling items secondhand. Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and other online markets are always a great option. You could also host a yard sale or join in a community sale. Alternatively, some consignment shops offer a small amount of money for items in good condition.
9. Have Your Friends Take What They Want
Giving items away to friends can be a great way to downsize. Gather all of the items you want to get rid of in one area of your house. Then, let your friends come over and take what they want. If you’re moving out of town, you could combine this with a going away party. Enjoy some food and drinks, spend quality time with your friends before you move, and downsize on your belongings all at the same time.
10. Don’t Bring in More Clutter
After you declutter, the most important thing you can do is avoid accumulating more items. You might feel like you have plenty of space to fill now, but buying new things will only lead you back to where you started. It’s also very easy to make unnecessary purchases shortly after moving. Take your time when buying decor, kitchenware, or other items for your new house. Being thoughtful with your purchases will help you stay organized and reduce the amount of work you have to put in during your next move.
Decluttering before your move may be stressful, but it’s far better than packing a moving van full of unnecessary items. Give yourself plenty of time, be aggressive when getting rid of things, and consider what items will or won’t fit in your new home. If you downsize before moving, you’ll start your new chapter feeling much more organized and level-headed.