A new move presents a perfect opportunity to walk around the house and look for items you might not need once you start your new life. You’ll lighten your load significantly.
How to declutter before moving house is not just a question of basic cleanliness and interior organisation but ends up being an important part of giving yourself some peace of mind.
People with fewer belongings have less to worry about, less to clean and maintain, and fewer things to be robbed of. Which ultimately leads to less stress and, in a way, to more free time.
Table of Contents
How to declutter for moving: Preparations
- Set a date. It should be about a month before the move and it may take you more than one day. Make sure you have nothing else to do during that time and that there are no unnecessary distractions – no guests, no kids, no spouse. Most people reach peak productivity when working alone.
- Make a list. This is for the purpose of having a basic plan. You can make it as detailed as you want, or just list the rooms in your house, leave a big blank space under each and write down the items you decide to get rid of as you go.
- Dwell on the idea. We live in a materialistic society, so for most people, it would be hard to get rid of anything. So, give yourself time, to get 100% convinced you’re going to do this. Set some rules. For example, “expired things go on the list, no matter what”, “things I’m never going to use, go on the list, no matter what”, and so on.
- Set a deadline. This might not be for everyone, but if you’re a person who works better under pressure, go for it.
How to declutter before moving house
- Meditate. Give yourself at least half a minute of doing absolutely nothing. The best thing to start with is a clear head.
- Work one room at a time. Otherwise, you’ll get tangled and might end up doing nothing all day.
- Take everything out. To save time, and get a better grasp at what you’re having, empty out every possible container.
- Decide what you need. This is a tough one since you might decide you need everything really. In this case, the best question to ask yourself is: “Okay, this might be useful in that rare situation, but even if I don’t have it, will it be that bad?”
- Start with paper. In every home, paper tends to accumulate the most. It might even take you a whole day just to deal with all the documents, user manuals, even old books that might have been in your library for more than 40 years and the pages are so fragile that they crumble between your fingers. Once you clear away the paper, you will feel a lot better.
- Segregate questionable items. This is the biggest helper since it gives you a clear vision of the things you really need. Make enough space and use four old sheets. On the first one, place expired items; on the second, place broken items; on the third, place items that still work, but it’s highly unlikely you will use them in the future; on the fourth place items that are perfectly okay, but you have the feeling they’ll just take up space.
- Take out the junk. Obviously, the first two sheets of items belong in the trash. It’s a good idea to make sure there isn’t anything hazardous for the environment – old cell phones, batteries, old fireworks and anything that does not fall in the category of domestic junk and might pose some degree of danger. Research online on how to get rid of these items. You can also, make use of a rubbish removal service if some of these items are too bulky, and especially if we’re talking about electronics.
- Evaluate working items. Once you’ve decided you won’t be needing the items on your last two sheets, look them over and consider if they’re fit enough to work for someone else. You can give them away to friends and family, and even sell off some of them.
- Repeat until you’re happy. Honestly, you might not just do this for every room, but also a few times on the same room.
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Techniques to declutter before moving house
No one would think people actually thought of special techniques for de-cluttering, but there are a few really good ones, and they did help a lot of people who find it hard to part with some of their items.
- Give away one item a day. This is definitely not a time-saving approach, and should not be used when you’re about to move house… unless you start it 365 days before the move. It can be very helpful for people who need a gentler way to get rid of clutter, so decide for yourself.
- The closet hanger experiment. They say, if you haven’t used certain clothes for the past six months, you don’t need these clothes at all. The Closet Hanger Experiment is a great way to identify these particular clothes. Hang all your clothes in one direction and every time you use any, switch it to the other direction. In six months, you can clearly see which ones you didn’t use at all.
- The 12-12-12 challenge. This is a simple one. Locate 12 items to throw away, 12 items to give to someone, and 12 items to try and sell (if that doesn’t happen, just donate). This way you’ll get rid of 36 items you don’t use.
- Day by day schedule. Segregating and specialising in a precise field is the basics of a productive workday. If you apply this to your home, you can set a ten-day schedule, where you decide what to throw away. For example Day 1 – throw away unneeded papers; Day 2 – throw away batteries; Day 3 – throw away empty plastic bottles, and so on. You decide how to set your schedule.
- When in doubt, use storage. It might seem lazy and uncreative, but honestly, time is precious. Our main goal is to remove materials from our life and reduce stress. The things that cause us the most stress, are the ones we can’t make up our minds about. So, if certain objects (especially bulky ones) take too much time to consider, just call a storage service and keep them away for a while. This way you’ll see if life is possible without them, if it’s not, you can always have them back.
How to declutter your home before moving
Right from the bat, don’t expect to get rich from this; if you want to save some cash, better plan on how to reduce your moving costs. But, you might get some spare cash if you send the right items to the right people. One person’s junk is another person’s treasure, after all.
- eBay. By setting up an account on eBay, you can post and sell your unwanted items to excited onlookers. With a safe, efficient, and secure system in place, you can use eBay to sell old artwork, music collections, books and a lot more.
- Craigslist. If you want to remove the headaches of shipping things around, you can always make a posting on the Craigslist site relevant to your area. Especially when we’re talking about larger items like furniture, electronics, bookcases. These are better on Craigslist. Not only are your items given the widest local exposure possible, but also the buyers come to you with cash in hand.
- Transfer your clutter to the local recycling centre. If you live in Enfield or the surrounding areas you can always call for the local removals company in Enfield and ask them to move off all the unwanted goods to your local recycling centre on your behalf. This might be one of the most effective and inexpensive ways of clearing your household of clutter.
- Garden sale. Set up a table in front of the house, layout a few price tags, and watch your house transform into a hip vintage store. Garden sales are ideal for ridding yourself of smaller items like dishware, forgotten toys, and the coterie of bric-a-brac that seems to rear its ugly head when a move occurs. Get to know your neighbours, practice your haggling skills, and turn a pretty profit all at once. We’ve got this idea from a family that did a garden sale weeks before moving to Germany and vacate their property in the UK.
- Sell books to local bookstores for used books. A lot of people forget these exist, but if you have too many paper books around. And, let’s face it, books are seriously heavy when packed. If you don’t think you would need paper books, you might not even have space for paper books (especially with e-books being in the spotlight more and more), this is a good place to sell them.
- Give away to friends. Let’s face it, people would prefer not to spend money most of the time, so even your garden sale might not be that successful. So, all that’s left is to give away. Your friends are the first stop to that. And, you can always sell for a favour. Godfather style.
- Donations. If all else fails, give the best gift of all and donate. Your junk maybe someone else’s perfect present. Besides, giving is the true spirit of the season.
- Donate old books to the local library. While there are local stores for used books you can sell, many sellers do not like to buy books with bad covers. For used bookstores, the main concern is the book to have an eye-catching colourful cover, so potential buyers can get interested. They also would not accept fragile old books. However, the local library would not turn you away.
- Practice letting go.
It is important to realize that consumption can never be completely quenched. We have urges. Marketers will continue to try and sell you more stuff, too. But there is much freedom to be found in getting rid of stuff and consuming less. However, subtraction doesn’t tend to be a natural part of the process when staying planted and living in one place for long periods. Moving provides a natural reason to practice letting go.
These are just a few ways how to declutter before moving house, and you can always come up with more.