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How to Declutter Before You Move

Planning for a move can be stressful, and it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed. Especially if it’s been a long time since you moved last. Don’t worry though, we’re here to help give you some tips and tricks to help make your move as effortless as possible. The first thing to do is declutter before you move!

Decluttering Your Home Before You Move

The first step to a successful move is decluttering your home before you begin packing. 

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The more stuff you have to move, the more expensive and time consuming your move will be. The more you can sell, donate, throw away, or give away the better your move you’ll have.

Start Early

The earlier you can start the process of decluttering your home before you move – the better! 

It’s not uncommon for people to start decluttering their home a year or so before they plan on moving. 

Make a Plan

If you’re like me, then you want a plan of exactly how this decluttering process will work, and  where to start. 

What you’ll do is go through your entire house and sort things into a “Keep” or “Eliminate” category. 

Everything you keep will be packed up and moved to your new home. Everything you eliminate will then be sorted into the categories: donated to charity, sell, thrown away, or give away.  

When you get to your new home you can replace some of the things you eliminated. 

Decluttering Rules to Follow

There are a few simple rules to follow when decluttering that help you make decisions faster and easier about what to keep and what to eliminate. 

  1. If you haven’t used it (or worn it) in over a year then eliminate it. No need to pack up and move something that you’re not going to use. 
  1. Can the item be replaced for $5 dollars or less? Then get rid of them. 
  1. Never keep items out of obligation or guilt. Free yourself from the guilt of keeping unwanted gifts. If you don’t want it, then maybe you can find someone else who will? 
  1. If it doesn’t bring you joy, like Marie Kondo suggests, then it’s time to eliminate it. Why pack up and move things to your new home if they don’t spark joy?  

Where to Start When Decluttering

When you’re decluttering it’s best to start with the easiest things first. Don’t get bogged down in your closets or sentimental items. 

Start with the things you know you don’t want to take with you to your new home. 

Throw Out The Garbage

The best way to start decluttering your home is to go through it with a garbage bag and throw away all the obviously broken and junk items. 

The stash of expired coupons, the kids’ broken toys, the shirt with a tear you’ve been meaning to sew? Just throw them all away. You won’t miss them in your new house.  

Now that the garbage is cleared out, it’s time to tackle the decluttering process. 

Kitchen and Pantry

pantry declutter before you move

I’ve found that decluttering the kitchen is an easy first step. You’ll want to open every drawer and every cupboard during this process. 

Throw out any tupperware that’s old or doesn’t have matching lids. 

Look for duplicates. Do you have multiples of the same size of pan? Could you do without one of them? 

Determine if you have an excessive amount of dishware. Do you really need 30 dinner plates? 

Do you have any kitchen appliances you haven’t used in over a year? Don’t waste time packing them up just to never use them at your new house either. 

Throw out any food that is expired or stale. 

Have you found that you’ve accumulated multiple jars of pumpkin spice and now have enough to last a lifetime? Eliminate anything that is a duplicate or extra. 

Give away any food that you won’t be eating, and you don’t want to bring to your new house. 


folded towels declutter before you move

Next, move onto decluttering the bathroom cupboards and closets. 

Get rid of old towels and expired makeup. Throw out any old shampoo bottles or hair care products. 

Remember, if you haven’t used it in over a year or if it’s under $5 to replace then just throw it away. 

Bedrooms and Closets 

Now it’s time to declutter your closets. 

Start with the easy stuff first. Throw away any clothing that is torn, stained, or worn out. This also includes your shoes. 

Do you have gloves or socks that are missing their match? If you haven’t found it before you move, you won’t find it after. Throw them away. 

piles of clothes declutter before you move

Next, make a pile of all the clothes you haven’t worn in over a year. 

Is there anything that you don’t wear because it’s uncomfortable or no longer in style? Put them in your elimination pile so they can be sold or given away to someone who needs them. 

Now that you’ve gone through and decluttered your entire home, it’s time to decide what to do with all the things you’ve decided to part ways with. 

Have a Yard Sale

It’s common to have a yard sale before a move. It’s the perfect way to make a little bit of money and to get rid of things that are too big of a hassle to pack up and move. 

Selling as much as you can may even help to offset some of the cost of moving. 

Click here for tips and tricks on how to plan the perfect yard sale. 

Be sure to try and sell high ticket items online as well. Check out Facebook to see if your town has an online classified group. Or you can try selling your items on Facebook Marketplace. 

Donate to Charity

Do you have a few items that are too nice to throw away, but no one seems interested in purchasing them either? These items are what you’ll want to donate to charity. 

Look online for charity centers near your home. Often these help to serve underprivileged children and women. See if they accept donations of clothes, furniture, and appliances. 

You can often get a tax write off for your donations so record the amount of items that were donated. 

Another option is to ask friends and family if they want any of the items you’re getting rid of. You might have something to give away that one of them needs. 

And remember, the more you can get rid of the easier moving will be.

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