When you get the keys to your new home, you should feel excited. From choosing paint colors to planning DIY projects, there’s a lot to look forward to. That said, packing can be stressful, and move-in excitement often becomes move-out anxiety. If you’re not sure how to minimize before a move, this guide will help you discern useful items from the clutter that’s just taking up space.
How to Start Getting Rid of Stuff Before Moving
When it comes to decluttering, starting is the hardest part. Before you label boxes and fill storage containers, determine which items will have a purpose (and a place) in your new home. Most clutter is easy to identify, but certain things deserve more than a once-over before being packed up. Throughout the years, everyday essentials like appliances and cleaning supplies get older and need to be replaced. Can’t decide if something belongs in your “toss” or “keep” pile? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have enough room for this item in my new home?
- Where will it go?
- Have I used it in the past year?
- Do I have more than one?
- Is it difficult or expensive to move?
- Does it need to be repaired?
Ready to declutter before your move? Make sure to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to purge, pack and prepare. We also recommend creating a moving checklist, so you only bring things you’ll need and enjoy having in your new home.
“To make the moving process less overwhelming, give yourself enough time. Decluttering, packing, and moving always takes longer than you think. However much time you estimate, give yourself at least 50% more time. Start to declutter as soon as you are considering a move. Use a moving checklist to make sure no small details are forgotten.”
Ali Wenzke | Author of “The Art of Happy Moving”
Room-By-Room Declutter Checklist for a Move
While making a personal checklist works for staple items, follow this one when deciding what to pack and what to pitch.
Things to Purge From Your Kitchen
1. Unused appliances: If a bread maker, stand mixer or air fryer has been collecting dust in your pantry for months, get rid of it.
2. Overused cutting boards: Can’t see the design or woodwork your cutting boards once had? They’re likely due for an update and should go in your “toss” pile.
3. Old mugs: How many mugs do you actually use? Minimize your collection before the move and save yourself some precious cabinet space.
4. Unnecessary utensils: If you don’t use that serving spoon now, you probably won’t use it in your new home. Pitch it and make room in your utensil drawer.
5. Expired food: Always double-check the expiration date on canned food before packing it up. If it’s inedible, it shouldn’t take up room in your pantry.
6. Scratched-up pots and pans: If they’re damaged, they’ll need to be replaced, so don’t waste space and resources moving them to your new home.
7. Old pot holders: Are your pot holders burned or stained? Purge them when you move, and treat yourself (as well as your kitchen) to some new ones.
Find more kitchen decluttering tips to make more space in the hub of your home.
Things to Purge From Your Bathroom
8. Raggedy towels: If you wouldn’t want a guest to use them, you shouldn’t be using them either.
9. Expired medication: Double-check the labels on prescribed medicines, and purge anything that’s past its prime.
10. Shampoo and conditioner: Whether they’re travel or full-size, use as much as you can before moving, and start fresh with new toiletries.
11. Lotions: Are unopened or barely-used lotions hogging up your vanity? They probably should’ve been tossed a long time ago.
12. Cleaning supplies: If you can’t remember the last time you bought a new broom or mop, yours likely need to be replaced.
13. Toilet plunger: It’s not sanitary to transport a used toilet plunger anywhere, so get rid of it before you move.
14. Drain stopper: While drain stoppers don’t take up too much space, these are also unsanitary to move. New bathroom, new stopper!
15. Bathmats: If your bathmats have gotten grungy over the years, trade them in for clean ones that match your new bathroom décor.
Check out additional bathroom decluttering tips here.
Things to Purge From Your Office
16. Old papers: If it’s not important, pitch it. If you think you’ll need it someday, digitize it.
17. File cabinets: How many papers do you file away these days? Any important documents you have are probably digital. And if you do have a file cabinet filled with paperwork, trade it in for a drive – either Google or flash. You’ll thank yourself later.
18. Worn-down pens and pencils: Chances are, old pens and pencils don’t have much life left. Save yourself future frustration, and buy a new pack.
19. Half-filled notebooks: If a notepad is partially filled with old notes and doodles, recycle it.
20. Outdated calendars: 2020 has come and gone – leave it in the past where it belongs.
21. Old planners: Still have a planner from five-plus years ago? Purge it. Agendas are supposed to organize future plans, not ones that have already happened.
22. Old computer equipment: If you haven’t used a mouse or wired keyboard in the past five years, you won’t any time soon. Throw it away before you move.
23. Desk lamps: Only have one at-home office? Then you only need one desk lamp.
24. Paper clips: They’re small, sharp and easy to lose. Buy them on an as-needed basis.
Learn more about organizing and clearing clutter in your home office.
Things to Purge From Your Living Room
25. Furniture: If it’s damaged, not right for the space in your new home, or costs more to move than to replace, get rid of it.
26. Radios: Unless you’re in the car, how often do you actually listen to the radio?
27. DVD player: In the age of streaming, DVD players are quickly becoming obsolete. Get ahead of the curve and pitch yours.
28. DVDs: If you’re already purging your DVD player, get rid of your old DVDs along with it.
29. CDs: You’ve been able to buy, share and stream music online for over a decade. Any CDs you have should’ve been tossed years ago.
30. Empty picture frames: Unless a frame holds a treasured family photo, it doesn’t really have a purpose – declutter it before moving.
31. Televisions: If it still has “box” in the title, you’re due for a TV upgrade. Plus, newer TVs take up less space than their boxier counterparts.
32. Rugs: What are the odds your old rug matches your new home décor? If you still haven’t chosen a paint color, don’t let your rug decide on one for you.
33. Wall art: Since you’re designing a fresh, new living room, old artwork that you’re not crazy about anymore shouldn’t crowd your walls.
34. Lamps: How many lamps do you actually use? Unless it’s your favorite reading lamp or your primary light source in the room, purge it when you move.
35. Magazines: Recycle old magazines and make room for newer issues.
36. Old books: Any books you don’t love or plan to read again shouldn’t make the trip.
Discover additional ways to declutter your living room and make the space a haven for relaxation.
“When you declutter for a move, start with books. Shaving pounds off a move by decluttering heavy books will save you time and money. Also, books are easy to pack because of their rectangular shape, so books are a good starting point when you declutter. Just remember to use smaller moving boxes for books, so the boxes aren’t too heavy to carry.”
Ali Wenzke | Author of “The Art of Happy Moving”
Things to Purge From Your Closet
37. Old clothes: Any clothes you haven’t worn in the past year should be purged or donated.
38. Beat-up shoes: Have old sneakers that are bursting at the seams? Toss them, and treat yourself to a new pair.
39. Extra jewelry: If it’s not worn regularly, a family heirloom or your wedding ring, get rid of it before you move.
40. Old blankets: Toss your torn or stained blankets before moving day comes around.
41. Bedsheets: If you’re moving up to a king size bed and your current sheets fit a queen, purge them.
42. Damaged or cheap toys: Donate any toys your child doesn’t love or play with anymore, and toss any that aren’t in good condition.
43. Excess hangers: Fold your clothes more often than you hang them? Have a bunch of mismatched wire hangers from the dry cleaner? Pitch any excess hangers that are crowding your closet.
Ensure your closet is move-out ready with these extra decluttering tips.
Things to Purge From Your Basement
44. Appliances: When you sign for a house, washers and dryers are usually part of the deal. Leave yours behind for an easier, cheaper move.
45. Sports equipment: Having a built-in basement gym seems ideal, but how often do you really use your treadmill or elliptical machine? Skip the hassle of moving your workout equipment by selling or throwing them away.
46. Old holiday décor: Did a few decorations miss the cut last Christmas? They probably will again this year.
47. Items in storage: If you have knickknacks and antiques collecting dust in your basement, pitch them and save yourself valuable storage space.
48. Laundry detergent: Transporting laundry detergent can be messy and an unnecessary pain – use as much as you can before moving.
49. Bleach: They say not to cry over spilled milk – try spilled bleach. Protect your belongings by leaving bleach and other potentially harmful chemicals behind. When tossing household chemicals , make sure to do so responsibly.
50. Mouse traps: While they’re great to have on hand, mouse traps aren’t safe to move. Plus, they’re inexpensive and easy to replace.
51. Tools: Unless you’ve used it in the past year or actually know how it works, donate or throw it away when you move.
Keep the momentum going with these other helpful tips for decluttering your basement.
How to Get Rid of Stuff That Isn’t Moving With You
- Host a garage sale: Willing to put in some time and effort? Hosting a garage sale can help you minimize your “purge” pile and earn some extra cash. Essentially getting paid to declutter and prepare for a big move? It doesn’t get much better than that.
- Donate some items: If moving day is quickly approaching, selling your stuff might prolong the decluttering process. Consider donating to Goodwill, or another local charity that will take unwanted clothes, appliances or furniture off your hands. Just make sure your donations meet the charity’s guidelines.
- Sell items online: Want to make a few bucks during your pre-move purge, but garage sales aren’t your thing? Online auctions might be the way to go. If you have time (and patience), making listings on Craigslist, Ebay or a community Facebook group will help you declutter your home and maximize your profit.
- Rent a dumpster: Don’t have time to host a garage sale or sift through donatable items? Renting a dumpster is the most efficient way to get rid of stuff before a move. It makes decluttering stress-free, as you won’t have to relocate anything on your own.
Moving day is more enjoyable when you’re not overpaying movers or tripping over household junk. By minimizing before you move, you’ll simplify the process and ensure your belongings have a place in your new home.
So, You’ve Decluttered Before Your Move… Now What?
Still have mover’s anxiety after decluttering? Read through these articles to ease your nerves and better prepare for your big move.