How to declutter before moving house

Why should I declutter before moving?

Moving can be a very stressful process, make things easier on yourself by taking the opportunity to declutter. Not only will this make you move easier it can also make your move cheaper. If you have not already sold your home, decluttering may also make your home more appealing to prospective purchasers.

Even if you don’t think your home is cluttered, most of us, when you take a look you will find more than expected. You may well find items that your have long forgotten about or in some cases didn’t even know you had. Have a declutter can be cathartic and getting organised in advance of your move will save a lot of time and effort, you won’t need to pack things you no longer want or need, you will use fewer boxes (good for the environment and may reduce your moving costs).

We would suggest starting with one room at a time, take a good around the room being strict with yourself. Are there items that you no longer use? Are broken? Have never used? Clothes that you haven’t worn in the last year? In the kitchen are there any out-of-date food items? Don’t forget to include the shed, attic and garage as areas to declutter. Garages and sheds are often the places where we put stuff we don’t know what to do with or the items we plan to deal with at a later date, but rarely do.

While it’s tempting to keep everything it pays to be discerning.  After you have decluttered a room you may find that you change your mind about certain items and you may decide to keep something you had decided to sell or when you are packing decide that you didn’t really need an item after all. For some of the items you no longer require you could consider selling online, donating to charity, or giving to a free-cycle group. For anything else, where possible recycle before your dispose of the remaining items.

Our wardrobes and drawers can often be one of the hardest areas to sort, most of us will have items we have never worn or are hanging on to in the hope that it may fit us in the future. For unwanted clothes that you are not able to sell or recycle you may be able to use them as padding when you start packing.

De-cluttering furniture and bulky items you no longer need can be a big boost to how you feel about the amount of decluttering you still have to do. It’s really important to measure items and ensure you are not moving furniture that will not fit into your new home.

Top Tips for Decluttering

  • Make sure you are in the right mindset – it’s best to do this task when you are feeling positive and looking forward to the future, as you will make much better decisions about what to keep or not keep. Look at the task as making a fresh start.

  • You may find it easier and less stressful to split the task into small manageable chunks, decluttering a little bit each day.

  • Start early – don’t try and declutter in one day (unless you have do not option). Give yourself plenty of time to do this so you can be methodical and make the right decision.

  • Preparation – have plenty of good-quality bin bags and some boxes to help you sort your unwanted items into recycling, donating, selling sections.

  • Where to start – if you have a “junk/spare room”, attic, shed or garage they are often good places to start. If not, another good place is with all the documents, appliance manuals etc that we often store.

  • Think green – where possible recycle items you no longer need. We are all conscious about waste and our environmental impact, so recycle, give or sell items you no longer need.

  • Reduce spending – when your move is imminent start using up food in the kitchen cupboards and freezer, reduce the number of toiletries and bathroom supplies you buy. Plan your meals carefully to use up what you have, and when you shop don’t be tempted by offers buy only what’s on your list.

  • Digitise any paperwork – are you keeping lots of bills and documents? You could scan them to create a digital copy before shredding the original (if you need these for accounting purposes make sure you check with your accountant first!)

  • Label everything – if you pack items you won’t need until after your move, label everything and create an inventory. This will not only make it easier for the movers but make unpacking much easier too.

Most is us admit that we don’t like getting rid of items, so it’s no surprise that we find it such a difficult task and one that we often put off. Being more organised makes most people feel that their quality of life will improve, having less clutter also reduced the housework.

If you need more inspiration for de-cluttering you could take a look at some of the more popular methods, KonMari by Marie Kondon a Japanese organising consultant, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, Project 333 a minimalist fashion challenge or The Minimalists 90/90 Rule.

Now you know why it is such a good idea to start your decluttering and packing process well in advance of your moving day! Making things easier does require a lot of planning and preparation ahead of moving day but it is worth it in the end.

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