If you’re about to move to a new home, there is one thing you absolutely must do: Declutter before moving. Really, this is your big chance! There is no better excuse than an upcoming move to unload dead weight. Think about it: For one, moving costs money—an average of $1,170 for an in-state move or a whopping $5,630 for out-of-state—so every box you pack adds up. Plus, you want your new place to look awesome, right? Cramming nooks, crannies, and closets with junk just isn’t pretty.
How Big Is Your New Place? Will It Fit Everything?
Before decluttering, think about your new home and how much space it contains. That will help you decide whether to move that extra set of pots and pans, or donate them. But even if you’re moving into a home with equal or more space, that doesn’t mean you should use this as an excuse to keep everything you own. Clutter and extraneous crap is clutter and extraneous crap!
So before even packing, start going through your possessions to find things you’re okay throwing away or donating. Not only will this reduce how much you need to actually move, but you can start doing this even before your home is sold and you have a moving-date locked in. All of the newly-freed up space will help your home seem bigger to potential buyers, and help your decor pop! If you’re not sure what to look over when you begin throwing things away, here are some good things to consider:
Stuff That’s Still In the Box: These items never made it out of the boxes: gifts, bulk purchases of all those giant jars of capers you won’t live long enough to eat. You might even be able to raise some cash by selling this clutter online. But get rid of it.
Stuff You Never Use: Tastes and waistlines change. If you haven’t worn or used something in a year, you probably never will again. If it’s in good shape, donate it charity. If it’s stained or unusable, or even not in a fashion you wear anymore, just donate it!
Stuff That’s Expired Or Outdated: Food way past its sell-by date and expired or unwanted medication shouldn’t live with you in your new place. Some pharmacies will take back unused medication, and cleaned plastic pill bottles are recyclable. Bag up your pills and take them to your local pharmacy for safe disposal. Don’t pour or flush medicine down the drain, which can contaminate drinking water with chemicals.
Tackle One Room at a Time
Try to tackle one room, or one closet (or one drawer) a day—it’s less overwhelming—and never handle an item twice. Designate “toss,” “donate,” and “sell” boxes, and when you decide an item’s fate, toss it into the correct box. Done, done, and done. By tackling one room at a time, and focusing on getting it clutter-free, the whole process will feel less overwhelming: and if you start to have home showings even before you’re finished with the whole house, it’s better to have SOME spaces wholly de-cluttered to show off your home all the better, rather than the whole house SOMEWHAT de-cluttered.