Ready to declutter your things? Before moving is the perfect time!
Many people have belongings they no longer need hanging around their homes. From old clothing and linens to toys the kids don’t play with; these items can clutter your spaces and make moving more time-consuming (and possibly more expensive). Whether you decide to combine decluttering with packing or treat it as a separate task, you’ll end up with less to manage and a much better experience.
Sound impossible? Don’t worry — downsizing belongings doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The process can be simple if you just focus on one room at a time!
Clean-out game plan: the room-by-room approach
Focusing on individual rooms allows you to stay organized throughout the process. As you work through each room, it’s easy to sort things into four categories: keep, sell, donate or trash.
For items you’re keeping, you can either start packing them to save time later or just set them aside for now. Sell and donate items can be placed in a certain part of the room to keep them separate or into extra boxes or baskets so they’re easier to remove from the home. Make sure to have some trash bags for things to throw away.
Next, pick a room to get started. We recommend starting on rooms with the least number of items so you can get the process down and make some quick progress.
Here’s how to tackle each room:
Bathrooms and laundry rooms
These areas collect clutter fast from makeup to cleaning products. Look at these items to make these spaces easier to clean and organize in your new home:
- Extra linens. Keep only your favorite towels and wash rags and discard the rest.
- Old makeup and beauty products. If it’s opened and older than six months, it’s time to throw it away.
- Expired medicines. Out-of-date products could be unsafe or might not have the right potency.
- Unused cleaning products. There’s no need to hang on to cleaning products you’re not using. Use them to give your place one last cleaning or discard them.
As we live in our cozy spaces, extra things tend to follow. Too much stuff can turn what’s supposed to be an inviting space into an unwelcoming one. Start by downsizing these items to prepare for a tidier room after the move:
- Throw blankets and pillows. If you have way more throw pillows and blankets than you have people in your house, it’s possible you have too many.
- DVDs, records and books. If you’re not sentimentally attached or actively using it, pass it on.
We spend much of our lives sleeping, so our bedrooms should be an oasis for relaxation. But when the rooms are messy, they can be stressful. Here’s what to sort through now so your new bedroom can be a peaceful space:
- Clothing and shoes. Purge anything that is stained or torn, doesn’t fit or you just don’t like.
- Toys. Now’s the time to do away with broken, disliked or outgrown toys.
- Unused exercise equipment. If it doesn’t work for you, it might work for someone else.
Home offices and dens
You might have some unneeded stuff sharing your office or den. Start clearing out these things so you can set up the new space in a way that works best for your family:
- Paper. Shred old records* and remove old magazines, paperwork or advertisements from your space.
- Unmatched cords. If you’re not actively using a cord or can’t remember what it goes to, you probably won’t miss it.
- Electronics. Still have an old cassette recorder or MP3 player lying around? Now might be the perfect time to donate used electronics.
- Craft supplies. If you’re no longer using certain craft supplies, give them away for someone else to enjoy.
*The IRS recommends filers keep tax records for at least three years, or up to seven if you claimed significant losses. Consult your accountant for advice if you’re unsure about keeping records.
Kitchens and dining rooms
The heart of a home is often the kitchen, so it’s only natural for clutter to accumulate in these rooms. Removing the excess now will make it much easier to set up a functional kitchen and dining room at the new place. Here are things to focus on:
- Expired food. Throw away out-of-date foods and spices from your fridge, cabinets and pantry.
- Dishes and silverware. It’s a good time to get rid of broken, unused or mismatched items.
- Pots and pans. If you haven’t cooked with it in the past year, you might not need it.
- Dish rags and towels: It’s a great time to toss stained and torn rags and towels (or use them for deep cleaning).
- Table linens and centerpieces. Not using those fancy centerpieces, tablecloths or cloth napkins? It might be time to let them go.
Bonus tip: The time leading up to a move isn’t the best time to stock up on food or paper products. Buy only what you’ll use immediately and wait to stock up when you’re settled in at the new home.
Garages, basements and storage rooms
Any areas we use for storage might hold some forgotten items. It’s time to give these things new homes before moving so you can get off to a fresh start:
- Old paint. There’s no need to take it with you if you have no use for it at the new place. Donate it if it’s usable or dispose of it properly.
- Building supplies. Things like fence posts or extra flooring and tiles can be left behind for the next renter or owner.
- Excess auto supplies. Old batteries, oil containers and other similar items don’t need to make the move with you.
- Tools. It’s a great time to get rid of duplicate or unused tools.
Make sure to look around outside for things you don’t need. Since these items are often large and require special packing, it’s much easier to get rid of them now so they won’t take up valuable space in moving equipment. Here are things to downsize:
- Patio furniture. Get rid of it if you won’t have room for it or it won’t match the aesthetic of the new place.
- Planters. It’s time to toss old flowerpots and planters and only keep your favorites.
- Large toys. Unwanted bicycles, skates and skateboards can be donated if they’re still in good shape, and outgrown playsets might be left behind for the next residents.
These items are easy to accumulate and might be in any area of your home. Weeding them out before packing means less to deal with when you’re unpacking. Consider these things:
- Décor. It’s a good time to purge unused holiday decorations, old wall décor, worn-out rugs or any other items in your current home that won’t work in your new one. Give things new life somewhere else.
- Pet supplies. Time to clean out the old or broken pet toys and hold off on buying new ones until you’ve moved.
What should you do with the extra stuff?
Now that you have your sell, donate and trash items, it’s time to dispose of them. But how?
Sell unwanted items
- Host a sale. If you have a lot of things still in good shape, a moving sale is a great way to make some extra money while clearing out your home.
- Sell it online. Try Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, ThredUp or other online resellers.
- Consign it. Look for a local resale shop that offers consignment.
- Give to a local animal shelter. They usually need extra blankets, towels and cleaning supplies.
- Donate to schools, libraries or senior activity centers. These places might be a good home for books or craft supplies. Just call and ask what they want.
- Drop off at a donation center. Look for a Goodwill, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity or another charity in your area.
Properly dispose of household waste
Some things can’t be handled by your regular trash and recycling services. Here are some items that need special care:
- Medications. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the best way to dispose of unused or expired prescription or over-the-counter drugs is through a local take-back program. Check with the police station or pharmacy for drop-off locations.
- Cleaning supplies, oil, liquid paint or other chemicals. Contact your trash service or city hall for proper disposal instructions.
- Metals, batteries, appliances and e-waste. Search for scrap metal recycling locations in your area or check with city hall for rules about getting rid of these items.
Ready to move?
Don’t forget one of the most important parts of your long-distance move — hiring the right moving company. At U-Pack®, you handle the packing and loading, then we handle the driving so you don’t have to. Request your free quote online or give us a call today at 844-362-5303844-594-3077. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions. We’re happy to help!
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