Easy Ways to Get Rid of Stuff Before You Move
If you’re moving soon, you’ve probably found yourself staring into your overflowing closets and thinking, “Do I really want to move this stuff?” Figuring out how to pack it and where you’ll put it in your new place is a puzzle. Especially when preparing to sell your property in the midst of moving. There are a ton of things to juggle during this transition! Plus, you may not even want to keep all of your personal belongings during your next move.
If you’ve decided to lighten your load before hitting the road, there are a few simple steps to keep in mind. This guide will help you tackle your clutter, get rid of things you don’t need and feel prepped and ready for your big move.
Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Rid of Stuff Before a Move
The decluttering process can be a daunting task to take on by yourself. While you begin to go through your things and decide what stays and what goes, follow these eight steps to simplify the process.
Step One: Set Your Goals
Are you trying to downsize your closet from three boxes to one? Is your new garage much smaller than your current one? Are you hoping to fit everything into a single moving van?
Knowing your goals will help you declutter with efficiency and confidence. To get started, write down 3 to 5 goals on paper. You can check these off as you go through the process. Your goals might include:
- Downsize the garage from 10 boxes to 5.
- Declutter the closets in the hallway and guest bedrooms.
- Donate or throw away items you haven’t used in over two years.
- Finish decluttering by the end of the month.
Every goal you check off your list will give you that extra boost of confidence to keep going.
Step Two: Start with a Plan
A plan will help you stick to your goals. Before you jump in and try to organize your clutter, consider splitting your items into categories and taking your decluttering process room by room, day by day.
For example, let’s say you categorize items by room. You can look through your kitchen on Monday, the bathroom on Tuesday, and the garage over the weekend. Slowly but surely, you’ll get closer to your goals — and a cleaner home!
Step Three: Take Inventory of Your Items
Don’t make decisions about what to do with the items just yet. Instead, as you take inventory, ask three simple questions for every item:
- Is it in good shape, and if not, would I pay someone to fix it?
- Is it unique and useful? (This one addresses all those plastic containers: They’re useful, but not unique.)
- Do I use/wear/like it now, and am I likely to use/wear/like it in a year?
Taking inventory of your clutter will help you decide what you want to keep, what needs to be fixed, and what isn’t salvageable. This can also help you sort out items you may have borrowed and forgotten to return (who hasn’t?) or that belong to a roommate. Before you donate, sell, or throw items in the trash, make sure they won’t be missed by anyone else in your home.
Step Four: Sell, Donate and Recycle
As you go through your home, categorize your items into four groups: Sell, Donate, Recycle, and Keep.
Make a list of the items that need to be fixed, that you still like and use, and that are useful and unique. Or make a list of items you hate and want to get rid of. Either way, you’ll have a starting place to take action.
Once you have your list, you can start deciding what to do with everything on it. Plan a weekend (or two) for this step. Put two boxes, one labeled Donate and one labeled Sell, and a trash or recycle bag in each room as you clear it out. Drop items you don’t want to move into the appropriate box or bag. (For larger items like furniture, appliances, playsets, etc., use Post-it notes for the same purpose.
Before moving clutter into your keep pile, make sure you have a solid reason for keeping it — no excuses! Sticking to your plan is critical for a successful decluttering. If you stick to these four categories and go through your home methodically, room by room, you’ll be decluttered before you know it.
If you decide to sell your home to a local company that buys houses as-is, they won’t require you to throw out your unwanted items. You can just take out the things you want to keep, which is a huge plus when moving.
Step Five: Look Into Storage Solutions
Of course, you’ll probably want to hold onto seasonal items, family heirlooms, and keepsakes. If you’re downsizing into a condo or apartment, consider looking into storage options. This will help you declutter and hold onto those items without adding chaos to your new home.
Step Six: Host a Garage Sale
If you find a ton of clutter in good condition, consider hosting a garage sale. A pre-move garage sale is a great way to make some extra cash and find new homes for items you no longer use.
If you plan on hosting a garage sale, you’ll want to start early. Market your event in your community and neighborhood groups on social networking apps, but don’t wait too long. Try to host your garage sale or offload your salable items in a week or two to avoid losing your sense of urgency. The worst thing that can happen here would be to run out of time and end up moving all that stuff anyway (or dumping something you could have made some money on).
Step Seven: Don’t Wait Til the Last Minute
Start this process as early as possible. If you wait until the last minute, you’ll stress yourself out and may not have the time or energy to donate, sell or recycle your items. If you truly want to declutter your space, commit to the process and make time to take on the task.
Step Eight: Reach Out for Additional Assistance
If you’ve lived at your current home for a while, it’s a safe bet you’ve accumulated more clutter than anyone wants to go through on their own. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family for some additional help. Not only can they lend an extra pair of hands, but they will also view your clutter with an impartial eye. A third party is invaluable when considering whether something is worth keeping. Your friends and family may even take a few things home with them — a win-win for everyone!
Common Items to Consider Getting Rid Of
For many people, the process of decluttering is easier than actually letting go of their items. If you’re struggling to get rid of things, you’ll need to rethink your approach and mindset.
Here are things you should get rid of:
- Anything broken that can’t or won’t be fixed
- Clothes that don’t fit, are out of fashion, or you just don’t wear
- Things your kids have outgrown
- Duplicate items or things you just have too many of (think plastic containers and lids)
- Old magazines, catalogs, and newspapers
- Anything that you dislike
- Anything you don’t use at least once or twice a year
Decluttering for Your New Home with Confidence
Moving to a new place is a fresh start. It’s an opportunity to finally get rid of items you no longer need while making room for the new things you’ll acquire. If you’re struggling to declutter, use this step-by-step guide to help you manage the process. Even if you only save yourself from packing one or two extra boxes, it’s a huge accomplishment. Start small, set goals, and get ready for a cleaner, better home!