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Throw it out before moving out

August 13th, 2018 - 3:04 PM

Do you have too much stuff to move?

Does the thought of moving every item in your home seem daunting? Maybe that’s because you have more stuff than you need! With a little time and effort, you can pare down your belongings to a more manageable amount before the packing process starts. Don’t spend time, energy and money packing, moving and unpacking unwanted objects. Instead, find a decluttering method that works for you, and then sell, donate, recycle or throw out the things you no longer need.

Man decluttering a closet with clothing and towels
Methods for decluttering a house

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you’re ready to pare down, there are several ways to go about it. One of these may seem best depending on the situation, but no matter which one you pick, the end goal is the same: to get rid of stuff before moving.

KonMari method

Perhaps the most well-known technique on this list, the KonMari method became popular after the release of Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” It’s a method of cherishing items that “spark joy,” and then thanking and letting go of items that don’t. With this method, you go by category and examine every piece within that category. You pare down immensely, and then carefully organize what’s left.

Four boxes

This process also requires going through everything, but you don’t have to be as systematic with it. For this method, you get four boxes: keep, donate, sell and trash.  Go through a room and put everything in one of those four boxes.

Pack it up

If you have a little bit of time to work through the process, this method can be eye-opening. For this, put everything within a category into a box, packed away. For example, pack all of the kitchen items into one box and shoes into another. When you need something, remove it from the box, use it and put it away (not back into the box). After three weeks, anything unused isn’t considered essential, so it goes away. If you’re struggling with the thought of keeping things “just in case” they are needed later, consider the 20/20 rule from The Minimalists. With this rule, get rid of anything you can replace in 20 minutes for $20 or less. Getting rid of the “just in case” stuff can free up a lot of space.

Minimalism game

Have a friend who needs to declutter as well? Or want to compete with your spouse to see who can pare down the most? Use the 30-Day Minimalism Game. For this, get rid of one item on day one, two items on day two, all the way to 30 items on day 30. Whoever lasts the longest wins (though you both win because clutter is gone!). Anything counts as a single element: clothing, kitchenware, towels, tools, electronics, furniture, decorations, etc. After 30 days, you’ll get rid of 465 things in total.

Things to consider when getting rid of items before moving

As you declutter, keep these things in mind:

  • Pass on low-quality items that may not make it during the move. Low-quality furniture or already damaged pieces may only deteriorate during a long-distance move. 
  • Check expiration dates. Medication, spices, food and cosmetics all have expiration dates. Don’t keep anything past the dates.
  • Get rid of unfinished projects or old hobbies. If you’ve been keeping things for years to work on or use “someday,” maybe a move is the time to get rid of those things. 
  • Toss outdated, unusable items. Old media you can’t use (like VHS tapes with no VHS player), broken electronics or unknown cables and cords don’t need to be moved.

What to do with stuff after getting rid of it

You know what’s no longer staying, but now what do you do with it? There are several options depending on the item, the condition and the amount of work you want to do. Donating and recycling can give belongings a new life, selling things can earn you a little extra money, and then you can throw away anything that is broken, stained or has no value otherwise.

  • Donate. Several organizations, both nationwide and local, will take used items. When determining where to take your stuff, figure out a few different things.
    • First, do you mind if stuff is resold or do you want it to be given away? Each charity does different things with donations. Just make sure you’re comfortable with what happens after.
    • Second, make sure the organization accepts your types of items. For example, some groups may not accept baby things while others might not allow mattresses. Don’t give them anything against their guidelines, as it can take valuable time and resources from the charities to deal with these types of donations.
    • Third, does the organization provide a receipt for tax deductions? To deduct donations, you’ll typically need a receipt for claims over $500.
  • Recycle. It may take a bit more time to get everything to the correct recycling centers, but it’s possible to recycle many household items.
    • Textiles, like clothing and linens, can be recycled. Find a location here.
    • Most electronics stores offer free recycling of things like cables, computers, players, digital cameras and other unwanted technology. Or send e-waste to a Waste Management location.
    • Place books and magazines in a paper recycling bin (remove the cover from hardcovers first).
    • Take unwanted paint to a collection site. Locate them here.
  • Sell. You have options here: host a moving sale, or sell items to individuals. List belongings online, like on eBay or Poshmark, and ship them to buyers, or put them in online marketplaces. There are endless options for “get rid of it” apps, like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, along with apps like OfferUp and LetGo, where you’ll meet up with buyers to complete the transaction.
  • Trash. Check with your trash collection company for guidelines and limits if there’s a lot of stuff to throw out. If it exceeds the weekly limit, a trip to the landfill may be necessary. For medications, follow the suggestions from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for safe disposal.

Have questions about the purging process?

Do you have questions about actually getting rid of things in your home? Leave us a comment below, and we’ll be happy to help!

Once you’ve pared down the items in your house, it’s time to start packing. Check out this ultimate packing guide to ensure everything is well-protected before the move.