Moving anywhere is always an endeavor, whether you’re moving within the city limits, across the country, or to the other side of the world. When we move, most of us get rid of items we don’t want or need to take with us to our new homes, but why wait for moving day to declutter? Getting rid of unused or unwanted items before you move makes a lot of sense, and will save you time, money, and space. When you declutter before moving, you make your move more efficient, and you can also make a few extra dollars in the process. By decluttering before a move, you don’t waste time and money packing up unwanted items that can be sold in an online marketplace, auction site, or listed in a local classified ad service like Craigslist, freeing up space for more important things and putting money in your pocket that can go toward moving expenses. Don’t add a moving sale to your list of “to do” items, as the time and effort they take to set up, run, and clean up afterward would be better spent decluttering for your move and packing.
How to Declutter Your Home
Sometimes getting started is the hardest part of decluttering, so we’ve compiled some useful tips to help you get the ball rolling. Set yourself up for success by having three boxes ready for things you will keep, sell, and give away/ donate, and set aside some time to complete the task. It doesn’t have to take all day, but you should have an hour or two you can dedicate to the job.
- Start sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until the day before you move to start packing. This may seem like common sense, and it is, but you’d be surprised how many of us procrastinate when it comes to moving! Think of it as spring cleaning or preparing for a trip and it may be easier, but don’t wait until the last minute to get started. Set aside an hour a day to do one thing toward decluttering before a move and when the big day comes you won’t be stressed out because you waited too long to prepare. Taking your move in bite sized pieces will make it much easier to handle, and you might even enjoy the process.
- Take inventory. Rather than tackling one room at a time, take inventory by categories to determine how much of each category you want to take with you. For instance, books are one category of items that can add up quickly, especially if you’re paying professional movers who charge by weight, or shipping items to your new destination. Gather all your books and magazines from every room (and closet!) of your home and put them all together. When you take inventory of your book collection, you may find that you have duplications within this category that you can get rid of. Think cookbooks, gardening books, craft books, and children’s books. Choose your favorite one or two, then sell, donate, or give away the excess. Other categories include kitchen wares, toys, music and movies, home décor, and clothing. Don’t move on to the next category until the first one is totally sorted and packed, then continue the process. Doing this prior to your move will ensure that you only take those items with you that you know you want and will use.
- Be brutally honest with yourself. As you’re decluttering before a move, there may come a point where you’re not sure you should keep or donate something. Be brutally honest with yourself about what you need to keep. If you are having trouble sorting through your wardrobe, use the time test. If you have items you haven’t worn within the last year, you probably don’t need them, so toss them in the donate box. The one year time limit works because it encompasses all four seasons. With linens, keep two towels for each family member, one or two sets of guest towels at the most, and either cut up frayed towels for rags or throw them away.
- Toss expired items. This goes for the bathroom as well as the kitchen pantry. Odds are both contain a few items past their prime. Check for an expiration date and toss anything that’s expired. Kitchen spices lose their potency after six months or so, and many of us have containers we haven’t touched in ages. If you’re not sure if a spice is still good, take a good sniff of the contents. If the aroma is weak, the spice can be tossed. When it comes to cosmetics, many products expire after one year. Now is a good time to throw out any makeup or personal hygiene products you haven’t been using.
- No more “just in case”! All of us fear tossing out something we own only to realize that we really did need it after all. While holding on to things “just in case” may give us a false sense of security, there are negative consequences to this kind of thinking if it isn’t kept in check. Not only does it lead to clutter, we begin to keep so many unused items that we lose track of the things we have, and our closets become so full that we can’t find those items we hung on to “just in case” when we need them anyway, which totally defeats the purpose of keeping them! Expert minimalists tell us that just about every item we would keep “just in case” can be replaced for approximately $20 from a store within 20 minutes of where we live if it turns out we ever actually need it. If you’re going to declutter before moving, you’ve got to root out the “just in case” behavior.
At Golden North Van Lines, we help families make the move to and from the great state of Alaska. We hope these tips on how to declutter your home before a move have been helpful. If a move to Alaska is in your future, we are happy to give you a free quote. We are an Alaskan moving company and relocation service in Anchorage and Fairbanks with decades of experience successfully moving households and businesses. Whether you’re moving yourself, your family, or an entire business, we’re here to take the worry out of the moving process by carefully packing and moving your belongings. Golden North Van lines can help make your move to or from Alaska the best one yet. Call us toll free at 1-800-478-4685 or get a free quote today!