It’s the first tip on every moving advice list: declutter. Get rid of excess items so that you don’t have to spend time and money moving them to a new place (only to put them right back into storage). But it’s not always that easy. We tend to amass clutter specifically because we have a hard time letting go. Just having someone tell you to “get rid of clutter,” isn’t very instructive. So, to help both you and your local movers get through this process without hauling excess junk around, follow these steps for successful decluttering before your move.
1. Bring Three Boxes into Every Room
You want to take charge of your move. As you attack each room, bring three boxes into that room with you. One for trash, the other for donations, and the third for a yard sale. You’ll find yourself getting into a groove the more you practice decluttering, and you’ll find yourself able to assess items quicker and more honestly as you go.
Plan on making regular trips to the donation center and the dumpster, so you are removing these excess items and getting them out of your way. And be careful with the yard sale box. Have a plan for any items that don’t sell – probably another donation. Don’t let the yard sale box become an excuse to hold onto things a little longer. Be prepared to let them go whether they make money or not.
2. Check Expiration Dates
Here’s a quick and easy way to bring yourself to part with things: read the expiration dates. Your pantry, your cleaning supplies, and your garage are probably stuffed with items that are well past their prime. Any expired items should go directly into the trash pile. Don’t donate them.
3. Use Up Your Extra Items Before Moving
If you’re the kind of person who shops for bulk items like paper products, cleaning supplies, or canned goods, try to use up as many as possible before your move. About six weeks out from moving day, begin tapering off your grocery shopping. By the time you get to the two-week mark, you should barely be grocery shopping at all. Maybe just a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk here and there.
4. Schedule a Yard Sale
A surefire way to make sure you go through with the yard sale is to schedule it in advance. You can list the sale for free on sites like Craigslist, and you can even make posterboard signs to hang up around your neighborhood. Set a date and stick to it.
5. Imagine a Timeline
Sometimes you come across an item and you really can’t tell whether you‘ll need it again. A good rule of thumb is to imagine an entire year – have you used this item at any point in the last year? If the answer is no, you’re probably not going to use it again and can let it go.
6. Save Sentimental Items for Last
This is usually the hardest part for people who are trying to declutter. We all hold onto items for sentimental reasons and facing too many of these items early in the process only serves to stress you out. Set aside a few hours towards the end of your process so you can give these objects the thought they deserve.
n’t Keep Anything out of Guilt or Obligation
Lastly, remember that moving is an opportunity to start fresh. Why keep dragging the past around with you? You know there are items that you don’t need, don’t particularly like, but feel an extreme sense of guilt about letting go. Don’t let that guilt dictate the amount of junk in your life. We are officially giving you permission to let it go.
Hopefully this list helps you make more sense of the decluttering process. Best of luck with your move!