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10 Things to Declutter Before You Move

Updated: Mar 6

After moving myself 12 times within the last 12 years, I am here to tell you the golden rule of moving: declutter first. The last thing you want to do in your new home is open a box of items and think, “I have no idea what these are, why I kept them, or where they should go now.” Not only will decluttering first save you mental energy later on, but it will also save you money now. Here are 10 areas I suggest you declutter now:

1. All of your freebie clutter.

  • As in promotional pens, brochures, frisbees, takeout menus, all those hotel shampoo bottles, etc. It’s no longer a “freebie” if you pay to have it packed and moved.

2. Everything that has expired.

  • This goes for your pantry, fridge, medicine cabinet, makeup, first aid, sunscreen, hair products, and bath products. If you notice items that have not expired that you won’t use, consider donating them.

3. Books large and small

  • Textbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, books you already read and won’t read again, and books you won’t read in the next year. If you are moving to a new city, joining your local library can be a good way to get to know your neighborhood while getting access to almost any book - win-win.

4. Furniture and decor that isn’t your style.

  • You are starting your life in a new space - don’t bring things that you have always thought were ugly. This one can save you the most money in a move because of how much labor it can take to move and lift furniture, pack artwork, or transport extra fragile decor.

5. Anything that no longer fits or never has.

  • Clothing and shoes can be heavy to move (and heavy equals more expensive). Look first at letting go of clothes with stains, holes, or faded fabrics. Next, take anything out of your closet that you won’t wear again and donate it. If you are a strict rule follower, when I say “closet,” that includes your dresser drawers, laundry hampers, and things lying on the backs of chairs.

6. Appliances, equipment, and gadgets that were supposed to make your life better but didn’t.

  • Bye-bye, breadmakers. Your future self will be particularly thankful when you don’t have to stand in your new kitchen at midnight and wonder where the juicer is going to fit.

7. Things that were gifted or passed down to you that you don’t particularly want.

  • You will most likely find these in the kitchen and bathroom (or a closet if you have one). I am talking about all those candles with scents that bother you, mugs with sayings you would never say, china set(s), wine you won’t drink, etc. You can appreciate the thought of the gift and let the item go.

8. Things you’ve been planning to sell.

  • Might as well make some money while decluttering! However - if you have things that have been sitting around for months that you are planning to sell at some nondescript time, be sure they do not come into the new space with you. If they haven’t sold by your move week - donate them.

9. Things you are keeping for guests:

  • Consider your linens. When was the last time one of your guests asked for 15 extra throw blankets for the bed? It is a scenario that does not happen but that most of us prepare for “just in case.” If it is someone you are comfortable having in your home, chances are they don’t care if they have a matching towel set, so we can let the excess go.

10. Equipment and supplies for hobbies you don’t have anymore.

  • The majority of these things probably live in your basement or a closet you don’t like to open. They are probably also a pain to pack, so let go of them now before you find yourself spending hours getting them safely packed.

Remember, as you are going through these things, that with each item you let go of, it is one less thing to pack, store, move, unpack, and find a home for in the future. In other words, your next move will be less stressful even if you only get through one category on this list.

If you are moving this week, and this list is overwhelming - focus on getting the trash (expired items and freebie clutter), books, and furniture decluttered first. You’ve got this! And if you want help sorting through these items, getting them packed or unpacked, just give us a call.

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