I’m all for seeking out items that spark joy, but sometimes you just need to get down to business. Moving is one of those times. When you declutter before a move, it’s different than your typical spring cleaning weekend. You may be dreading it, but decluttering now will save you time and money in the future. Plus, it will make you happier.
Think about how much money is at stake
It’s a costly decision to wait to declutter until after your move. When you declutter, you can make money by selling the items or by making a charitable contribution. Also, you will save money by pairing down your things.
If you’re moving on your own, you’ll save money in packing supplies and you can opt for the smaller rental truck. With local movers, you’ll save money on the time it would spend the movers to move your extra stuff. For long-distance movers, you’ll save money on the weight load. No matter how you look at it, if you declutter now, your moving budget will look much better.
Begin with the heavy stuff and with the easiest things to pack
To declutter for your move, you’re going to want to start with the heavy items. We always started with our books. Even if you’re drowning in books, it’s a fairly easy category to get through. You don’t need to try them on and you’re not getting sucked into a scrapbook you made ten years ago. It’s quick and easy. Plus, you’ll be saving big money on not moving these heavy items. Also, their rectangular shape makes them simple to pack after you finish the decluttering process.
Here’s a checklist to guide you through the decluttering order for your move:
Tackle your stuff by category, not by room
In order to make this an effective decluttering project, you need to declutter by category. That means you should gather every single book you own, from all corners of your house, before you begin the decluttering process. Go into your attic, your basement, your closest, your office, and your bedroom and find them all. Then, lay out each book and decide which ones you want to keep.
Set up five piles: Keep – Pack, Keep – Display, Sell, Donate and Trash
As you declutter each category, make five piles. Keep garbage bags handy for your trash and donate piles. Immediately after your decluttering session, take out the trash. Write down each and every donation item for tax purposes. For those items you wish to sell, take a picture of it right away. You can list it online or set up a time for a garage sale. For the items you want to keep, pack as much of it as you can. For the other “keep” items, you may want them to stage your house for sale or because you still need some clothes for the next few months.
Rephrase how you ask the decluttering question
Don’t ask yourself, “Should I get rid of this item?”
Instead, ask yourself, “Do I want to pack, move, and unpack this item in my beautiful, clean, new home?”
Yes, you want to keep the items that spark joy, but there’s more at stake here. Decide whether this is an item that you adore and that it’s worth the money to move it. Will it make you happy when you see it again in your new home? Is it worth the cost and hassle to take this item with you?
If you’re a Keeper, ask for help from a Tosser
Some of us feel more attached to our belongings than others. Maybe you want to hold onto an item because you feel guilty giving it away or you think you may use it one day. If you consider yourself a “Keeper”, ask for help. Invite a friend or your mom or an organizational expert to help you through the process. That person can help assuage some of the guilt and they can motivate you to declutter things that you won’t really want in your new place.
Start to declutter your home ASAP
Before you get moving estimates or put your house on the market, you need to declutter. If you are getting a binding moving estimate, you’ll want to show the movers how you don’t have that much stuff to move after all. Maybe you can even forego movers altogether now that you’ve paired down so much.
If you’re selling your house, you want to make the best possible first impression. Don’t take photos or list your home until you’ve fully decluttered. Your clean, decluttered, and staged home will entice buyers to pay top dollar. See, you’re making all kinds of money because of your decluttering efforts.