Do you have too much stuff and not enough space? Buying storage bins and hiding away your stuff will give you a big headache to deal with when you decide a move is in your future. No matter when you choose to move, there are undoubtedly clutter hiding somewhere in your home. The earlier you begin to declutter your home, the easier it will be to move into your new space. Not only will downsizing help the strain of moving when the time comes, it will also save you money on shipping and supplies. Follow these decluttering tips to lessen the load before moving.
- Do you love these items? If you don’t like it, why go through the time and expense to move it? If it just doesn’t work for you, get rid of it. Things like the mismatched silverware you’ve had forever and that filing system that isn’t keeping you organized, can easily be replaced after you move into the new house. Now, decide if you are really going to use that. How many cookbooks do you have that you’ve never used or VHS tapes still floating around in the basement? If you’ve read a book, are you really going to reread it again? If you are, could you get a digital version or borrow it from the library? Those magazines collecting dust can also be thrown out as articles can most likely be found online even if they are years old.
- Go room by room and deal with excess in each one as you clean and pack non-essentials. Some rooms will take much longer to organize such as the kitchen. You can’t pack away everything right away, so take your time to evaluate if your belongings are things you need or even like. You will need to work your way through the whole house at least a few times before you move. Don’t put off cluttered areas for last because these will need the most help and time to become clutter free.
- Sort through your closet and inspect clothes for damage, stains, and fit. If it’s repairable and you love it, have it fixed. If not, get rid of it. If you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in a year, it’s probably time to toss it. Designer clothing can be sold on various websites with very little effort. Less desirable brands in good condition can easily be donated to a local non-profit donation center.
- Don’t do it all yourself. What’s important to someone else may not appear important to you, so enlist your whole family to help you clean house. If one person uses a room far more than anyone else, like the kids play room, assign them that room. This will take a substantial strain off you as you try to become clutter-free before moving day.
- Medication that was never used or expired should be disposed of. Depending on your city you may be able to return it to your pharmacy or many police stations will accept old medicines. Similarly, paints and chemicals should be properly disposed of as well.
- Paper clutter is an inevitable problem in life. Sorting through mementos, family photos, or children’s schoolwork can be tough. Some will have sentimental value, while others can easily be tossed. Shred any sensitive paperwork that can’t be thrown away, recycle anything you can and throw away what’s garbage. If it was something made by your child, ask them if they want to keep it. For special pictures and projects, give each child a spot in the new house to showcase their art.
- Have your children sort through their own toys and games to see what they would like to donate and keep. If they are having trouble deciding, go through things together and sort toys into piles of things that are played with often, never, broken and so on. Explain why some things should be gotten rid of and what you plan to do with the discarded toys. If they understand you are giving toys to other children who don’t have as much they may be more willing to part with things than if they assumed their toys would be thrown away.
- You will most likely amass a lot of unwanted things before the move. If you have the time and the patience, try to sell them. Garage sales or posting items to sell online will help downsize what you have as well as give you a little extra cash. Electronics can be sold or recycled. Whatever is left over can be posted for free on craigslist or many charities will collect things from your home or porch for free.
- Assign a number to each room of your new home and label all moving boxes with the appropriate number. Nothing should go in a box if it does not belong in that room. This will be a great help on moving day. All the boxes for one room go straight to that room and you’ll be ready to unpack the room in no time at all.
- Continue downsizing as you unpack in your new home. As you put things in their new space, you may find you have multiples of items you didn’t realize you had or are just not interested in keeping in your new space. Try to put as little as possible into storage areas of your house. This is typically where clutter will collect first.
There are ultimately more unnecessary items than you realize and tackling the clutter early will save you time when it comes to packing and unpacking. It took you a lifetime to amass what you have, it will take much longer than a day or even a few days to declutter. Give yourself time and understanding as you clean. Keep in mind your goal is to start fresh in your new home. The less you bring into you new space the lighter you will feel. Planning and putting in the time will ease the burden of having to move so many things so you can enjoy your new home.