Decluttering: How to Get Organized Before You Move


Decluttering your home prior to a move may seem like a daunting project to handle. When it comes to deciding which items to keep and which to toss, consider going the route of the use it or lose it approach. If you think of the process as a way to create a more enjoyable and efficient living space in your future home with less junk lying around, you will feel infused with the necessary motivation and energy to get the job done.

Categorize Your Belongings and Sort Them into Groups

With the exception of those few people that never accumulate boxes of junk over the years, most of us tend to hang onto things that we no longer use or even need. We all have tons of boxes stacked to the ceiling or sitting in our basements that do nothing more than collect dust and spider webs.

Forgotten and doing nothing more than taking up space, those cartons of questionable items suddenly see the light of day when it comes time to move. The best way to sort through all your things is to categorize your belongings and sort them into groups.

The easiest way to accomplish this task is to identify items that you want to keep, things that you want to donate or sell in a garage sale, and targeting junk that will be tossed out as trash. Before you get started, you may want to consider getting a storage container or moving pod and also temporarily renting a large outside dumpster for trash.

Being able to pack up your belongings and put them in a moving pod will leave you with much more room in your house during the process of decluttering. With the rented large dumpster receptacle in your driveway, you can simply carry unwanted junk outside and toss it into the bin. Now let’s go through each step to help you get better organized for your move.

Deciding What to Keep

Put moving boxes in each room of your home as well as within the basement and garage to get started. As you sort through your belongings, a suggestion would be to put labels on each box and use a magic marker to clearly designate what will be placed within each one.

If you find yourself torn between tossing something out, donating it or keeping it, you need to ask yourself some simple questions. A good checklist to help you decide includes considering how long you have had the items and how often you use them.

For example, many people have clothing they have not worn for years, toys and games collecting dust in the basement, or extra sets of dinnerware no longer being used. If you still feel a strong attachment to some things perhaps because they were handed down to family members over the years, those things are actually treasures to hang on to and would be included in the category of what to keep. On the other hand, if you no longer care about the item and would not miss it, its condition would be the deciding factor as to whether you should toss it or donate it.

Knowing What to Toss

Things destined for the dumpster could include anything that would be considered no longer usable. If you own some valuable items such as lamps or appliances that still work but need minor repairs, put those things aside. Before you toss them in the dumpster check with family members or friends that are good at fixing things to see if they would like to pick them up.

Other items that would fall into the category of what to toss includes things that you store in your garage and basement. If you have old cans of paint, cleaners, and other supplies, you will want to check with your town’s sanitation department for the guidelines overseeing the proper methods of disposal for such products since they contain chemicals and other hazardous substances.

Donating to Charitable Organizations

Unless you and your family really need the money generated by a tag sale or garage sale, consider donating all your unwanted and no longer used items to a local charitable organization. You can check your local Yellow Pages for local drop-off centers such as The Salvation Army or Good Will Industries International.

Things that can be donated includes toys and games, books, clothing you no longer wear, extra pots and pans, dinnerware you don’t use, small appliances, and even furniture. Those less fortunate and in need will appreciate items that are in good usable condition that can still be used. If you do not live near charitable organizations another option to consider would be to donate your things to local churches that often hold tag sales to raise money to benefit the community.

Decluttering in the Home Stretch: Get Inspired and Treat Yourself

As you work your way through decluttering each room in your house, neatly organizing and categorizing all your things, you should feel a sense of accomplishment during the process. After you finish your first room, deciding what to keep, what to toss and what to donate, you will be able to stand back, take a deep breath and take it all in with a big smile.

Reward yourself and take short breaks while tackling this big project. At the end of a long day after sorting through junk and putting aside items that others will appreciate at charitable organizations, treat yourself to your favorite fast food takeout such as a pizza or juicy hamburger at McDonald’s or Burger King.

You will be tired and worn out after having burned all those extra calories, so splurging a little will make you feel better and also give you more energy to move on to the next room for decluttering. Before you know it, everything in your house will be packed and ready for the move to your new home. Be sure to check out Digital Landing for other helpful tips and suggestions in Moving Resources.

Photo Credit: Grant Hutchinson