Moving house can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be this way!
By decluttering before moving house, you will be amazed at how much simpler the move becomes. There are many benefits to decluttering before you move:
- You’ll save money. The less you have to move, the less it will cost to move it. You will spend less on packing supplies and removal costs.
- Your home will be easier to stage (if you are selling).
- You may make money by selling things you don’t need.
- You will save time and energy packing and unpacking.
- Your new home will be easier to organise and clean.
- You will not bring the clutter with you and fill your new home with it!
1. Plan of action
Decluttering takes time so start as soon as you can. Write down which areas or categories of items need the most attention for decluttering. Carve out regular periods of time in your diary for decluttering sessions and plan which areas you will try to tackle in each session. If you need a hand, reach out to others who can help you in this process, whether it be a partner, friend, family member or professional organiser.
You will need bags and cardboard boxes to hand when decluttering. Label bags and boxes so you can easily categorise items as you go. When sorting through items, the basic rule is to decide whether you want to:
- Donate to charity
- Gift to friends / family (remember most people have their own clutter crises going on so don’t gift unless you are sure the recipient wants it!)
- Discard (e.g. broken items)
Of course, you can customise these categories to fit your circumstances. For example, you might have a pile of items which you are going to keep but which need to be repaired or need some other action taken.
Now you’re ready, start decluttering in your priority areas by picking up and examining each item. Think carefully about each items and determine which pile it belongs to. When deciding whether to keep an item or get rid of it, ask yourself whether you love it and / or use it. What value is it providing to you? What purpose does it serve? If the item does not belong to you, leave it to one side and make a note to ask the owner to make a decision about it. It can be tempting to hold on to a lot of things but be realistic about the space that you will have in your new property and the things you want to bring into it.
If you have piles of paperwork and feel stressed by them, the problem is not going to go away in your next home. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a fresh start? Gather all your paperwork together from around your home, go through it and get rid of as much as possible. Most people keep paperwork because it may be useful one day. However, remember that most things can now be found online and only keep paperwork which is really important. You definitely don’t need outdated bills, manuals for items you no longer have, old invitations etc. This also includes magazines and newspapers you’ve been meaning to read, but haven’t! Shred anything that has your name and address and financial details on them to prevent identity theft. Scanning documents to your computer can also save space but make sure it is backed up!
5. Sentimental items
As beautiful as you or your kids are, take personal photos down before buyer viewings. In this way, you de-personalise your home which means prospective buyers can visualise your home as “theirs”. This is a good opportunity for you to decide whether any of these sentimental items should be stored in a memory box instead. I always recommend that each person in a family has a “memory box” so that they can store items of sentimental value which they want to keep but don’t need to be on display all the time. Make sure they are in a box made out of a water-proof material and are air-tight so that you preserve the contents from damp, moths etc.
One of the quickest “wins” when decluttering before moving house is to get rid of excess furniture. Taking measurements of your new property is really important so you avoid moving items which won’t fit. You can try selling furniture before you move on Shpock, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or if you just want it gone quickly, try putting it up for free on these sites or on Freecyle. Don’t overvalue your items – the important thing is to get rid of those that are no longer needed.
7. Lofts / Basements
These are such useful storage spaces but often they just turn into dumping grounds particularly if you’ve lived in your home for a number of years. They can take a while to clear so don’t leave these until the last minute! Clearing these spaces will also give the impression that your home is bigger and add value to it when you are selling. The good thing about decluttering these spaces is that often you haven’t used many of these items for many years which makes it easier to let go of them as they are not serving a purpose in your life.
8. Stop spending!
Once your move is only weeks away, start reducing the consumables in your home. Check kitchen cupboards, fridge and freezer and remove food that is expired and plan what meals you can make with what you already have. Amend your shopping list for only the items you really need that week. Do the same for your bathroom toiletries. Try not to be tempted by BOGOF deals as it is just more stuff to move and find a home for when you move in! Save yourself money and resist buying “storage solutions” unless you know that these will be useful and are the right measurements for your new home.
9. When to pack
When you are decluttering before moving house, some of the items you are keeping can be packed well ahead of time. For example, if you have Christmas items and you are moving at the end of April, box these up so they are ready to go. Vacuum pack seasonal clothing depending on what time of year you are moving. Pack similar items together and based upon which room they will live in. You may find it useful to dedicate a room or part of a room as a storage space for the packed items so they are out of the way until moving day.
10. Labelling boxes
It would be great to have a list of each item inside the boxes but in reality this is time-consuming and hard to maintain! Label the outside of your packing boxes with the room they should go into in your new home and write a couple of the key items inside the box are e.g. “coffee maker”, “pillows” etc. This means you will know which boxes to unpack first based on how urgently needed the items are. If there is more than one bedroom in your new house give each a number or a name so that the movers know exactly where the boxes should go. Also, when labelling your boxes, make sure you label the tops as well as the sides. This will enable you to know the contents of a box when another one is stacked on top of it.
These are just some of my tips for decluttering before moving house and hopefully help you to prepare. Being honest with yourself about what you really need to take with you and not allowing emotions to take over is the key to making the most of this process!
Getting ready to move and don’t know where to start? Perhaps you’ve moved in already but boxes are still to be unpacked? Find out how I can help you here.