How to Declutter Before a Move

How to Declutter Before a Move

May 12, 2015 | Apartment Hunting, Moving Tips

By Lindsay Smith

Here’s a quick quiz: Do you still have full storage boxes in your apartment from the last time you moved? Do you still have clothes in your closet that you’ve owned since high school? Is your collection of snow globes gathering dust under your bed? If you answered “yes” to any of these, you should probably think about decluttering before your upcoming move.

In fact, no matter what, decluttering before you start packing is a helpful way to get rid of stuff you no longer use and have a fresh start in a neat and tidy new apartment. Not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered. Here’s how to declutter before moving:

Start ASAP

How to Declutter Before a Move 0 Start ASAP

Because packing all of your belongings and making your moving arrangements will take a lot of your time and energy, get started on decluttering as soon as you possibly can. Declutter before (or at least during) packing so you don’t have as much stuff to fit into your boxes.

Look at it this way: The fewer belongings you have, the easier it will be to move. So getting rid of some stuff is actually a great way to save time, money, and stress later on.

Understand Your Options

How to Declutter Before a Move - Understand Your Options

When it comes to parting with your belongings, make sure you know your options: donating, selling, and throwing away. Any items that are broken, stained, torn, or unusable by anyone should just be tossed out. Donating is a great option for old clothes, CDs and DVDs, kitchen supplies, knickknacks, and anything else someone may potentially want.

If you want to get rid of big-ticket items like a couch, TV, or any electronics, consider selling them. Have three labeled boxes with you throughout the process that you can sort items into as you go.

Know How to Decide

How to Declutter Before a Move - Know How to Decide

Not knowing what to keep and what to part with is a very common problem people have while decluttering. There are a few rules of thumb that can help you make the more difficult decisions.

For one, if it’s damaged, it should be thrown away, no exceptions. Also, if it’s spent more than six months unused, you likely won’t miss it if you get rid of it. For clothes, if you haven’t worn a garment in over a year, it should be donated– that way you don’t get rid of seasonal clothes you may need in a few months.

Remember that it’s important to let go of some sentimentality. If you have no use for something, and it doesn’t hold any true emotional value, you should consider parting ways with it.

Be Methodical

How to Declutter Before a Move - Be Methodical

The best way to declutter is to do it in a methodical fashion. Start with one room, one closet, or even simply one drawer in a dresser, and systematically go through your belongings one at a time. That way, you’ll avoid feeling too overwhelmed, and you can stop at any time with your apartment still mostly intact. Don’t forget to hit some of the most important declutter zones, though, including your bathroom, kitchen, bedroom closet, and storage closet.

Invite Some Assistance

How to Declutter Before a Move - Invite Some Assistance

Here’s how to declutter and have fun at the same time: Invite some friends over! Play some music, have snacks and drinks out, and have fun going through your things and deciding what to get rid of.

Even if they’re not that much help, you’ll still have a good time and will likely come across some pretty funny things you didn’t realize you still had (the last time I went through the decluttering process, my friends and I found an old *NSYNC CD– needless to say, a great time was had by all).

Set Up a Pickup

How to Declutter Before a Move - Set Up a Pickup

After you’ve finished going through all of your belongings, you should have at least a couple boxes of stuff that you’d like to donate. If you have a car, you can simply drive everything to the nearest shelter or second-hand store.

But what if you don’t have a car? Some thrift store chains, including the Salvation Army and Goodwill, will actually pick up your donatable items for you, so you don’t have to cart them across your neighborhood. The Salvation Army will pick up boxes, furniture, and almost anything else, and some Goodwill stores pick up large items that are hard to transport.

Get Online

How to Declutter Before a Move - Get Online

Finally, it’s time to deal with the items you want to sell. A good starting point for this is to post a status on Facebook to see if any of your friends would want to buy your items. Selling to friends is often a lot easier and less risky than selling to strangers. If your friends aren’t interested, try selling on sites like eBay or Amazon.

Remember: Decluttering can be tricky, but it’s an effective way to make your life much easier when moving day rolls around.

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How to Declutter Before a Move


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