Moving is the perfect opportunity to deeply declutter and lighten your load before starting life in your new home. Putting in the work before you move will really pay off in the long run, saving time and money. The thought of decluttering your entire house while planning a move feels a little overwhelming, here’s how to simplify things.
The Benefits of Decluttering Before Moving Home
You’ll save money
Anyone who’s ever done a big move will tell you two things; it’s hard work and expensive.
Don’t pack and transport a bunch of stuff you don’t need to your new place, declutter first. If you’re doing the move yourself, you’ll save on the size of the truck you’ll need to rent and packing supplies. Moving long distance or planning to store items? Less stuff means the lower removal, storage, and insurance fees.
Less to unpack your new home
A pre-move declutter simplifies things at the other end. Not only will you have less to unpack, but you’ll also be able to locate things much quicker. Less time spent hunting through 10 boxes packed to find the TV remote.
You can earn some extra cash
Not only will decluttering before move day save money on transport fees, but you’ll also have the chance to make some too. More on exactly how to do that below. Put the extra cash towards the cost of your move or any repairs for the new place.
A fresh start
Decluttering is a chance to let the past go and look towards the future. For many people, moving home is the start of something new; a house, city, job, and lifestyle. Decluttering items you don’t need before you leave will give you a fresh start and a clear head in your new home.
Decluttering Timeline Before The Move
It’s easy to underestimate the amount of time and energy decluttering your home will take. The more you plan ahead, the simpler the process will be. No matter when your move date is, start decluttering ASAP. If time’s on your side and you know the date well in advance, we’ve mapped out a guideline of what items to tackle when.
Up to 6 months before
Between 4 – 6 months out, start decluttering these items:
Seasonal clothes: If it’s winter, tackle your warm-weather wardrobe or vice versa.
Sentimental items and photos: Decluttering sentimental items shouldn’t be rushed.
Books: Include how-to manuals, cookbooks, textbooks, and magazine stashes.
Paperwork: Use a document shredder to destroy any personal information and financial records no longer needed.
Craft supplies/hobbies: If you haven’t crocheted in a decade, it’s time for the mountain of wool to go.
Sporting equipment: Do you use the item enough to justify the space it takes up or the cost to move it?
Gardening equipment and tools: Get rid of anything broken or you have multiples of.
1 – 2 months before
As the move date closes in, you need to be ruthless with decluttering. Ask yourself do you really love the item or is it something you use regularly? If it doesn’t tick the boxes, it doesn’t make the cut to have a place in your new home.
Furniture – Consider carefully how each piece of furniture will fit into your new home.
Kitchen appliances – Hasn’t been used in the last 6 months? Donate it.
Electronic devices – It’s time to face up to the tangled mess of charging cables, devices, and all the accessories. Be smart about recycling and disposing of unwanted electronics.
Clothes in season – You’ve decluttered your off-season wardrobe, now it’s time to be brutal with your current one
Shoes – Any shoes uncomfortable to wear, worn beyond repair or smell need to go! Consider ditching any you haven’t worn in the past 12 months.
Decorative items – Will the style of your current home suit your new place?
Linens – Check with your local vet or pet shelter to see if you can donate any towels you don’t plan to take.
Plants – These are a real pain to move, especially long distance. Decide if your happy plant is really worth the effort.
1 – 2 weeks prior to the move
This close to the move date, ideally most of your home should be packed up and decluttered items sold, donated or binned. At this stage, you’re living with the daily items unpacked. Be brutal about deciding exactly what you need in these categories:
- Plates, dishes, cutlery
- Plastics, Tupperware
- Mugs, glasses
- Tea towels
- Cleaning supplies. Pack a small box of supplies for the new place.
5 Simple Ways to Declutter Your Entire Home
The thought of decluttering your entire home can feel overwhelming, especially when you’ve got a move to plan too. These methods help break decluttering down into manageable, bite-sized pieces. Remember, the earlier you start, the better!
3 box decluttering method
Find 3 boxes or garbage bags and working room by room, sort items into the boxes as follows:
Box 1 / Rubbish – Anything destined for the bin goes here.
Box 2 / Sell or donate – Items to be sold or donated.
Box 3 / Storage – Stuff that’s not used frequently but you’ll still be taking with you. Boxes for storage can be packed up for the move as you go.
10 / 10 challenge
Choose 10 things to donate or sell and 10 things to the bin from any room or area. Simple! If you’re feeling motivated, increase the number to 20 or 30 items.
The KonMari Method – Declutter by category
Japanese decluttering consultant Marie Kondo made decluttering a global obsession with her best selling book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. The book outlines the KonMari Method of decluttering by category, rather than room by room, for dramatic results.
Categories to declutter (in order)
- Miscellaneous categories
- Sentimental items
The idea is to declutter an entire category in one hit. You’ll need to allocate a few hours at least for every session. Keep this in mind when choosing the decluttering method right for you.
Putting aside hours to declutter isn’t practical? Give interval decluttering a try. Choose an area to declutter, grab your 3 boxes and set the timer on your phone for 15 minutes.
Work uninterrupted on the designated spot until the timer is up. It’s an effective way to squeeze mini decluttering sessions into a busy day.
Garbage bag declutter
Grab one garbage bag and hit any room, filling the bag with items to either bin, sell or donate. When the bag is full, the session is done! Feeling inspired? Fill a bag in each category.
Perform A Deep Clean
Doing a deep clean around your home before the move will help identify other areas of clutter you may have overlooked. Sometimes we get so used to stuff being around we no longer consider it clutter. A thorough clean will help you see things with new eyes to decide if it’s worth keeping.
If you’re moving out of a rental, vacate cleans are a must if you want to get your full bond returned. Once you’ve done a deep clean for de-cluttering purposes, you might want to give yourself a break and call in the professionals for your final vacate clean!
How to Sell Your Stuff
You may be surprised at the amount of money you can make selling clutter that’s been sitting around collecting dust. Cash from selling your old stuff can boost your moving budget or be saved for a celebratory dinner out when you’re all settled into your new place!
Hold a garage sale or book a market stall
Holding an estate sale or booking a market stall takes some organization. These options are best if you’ve got plenty of time before move day. Follow these tips to maximize sales:
- Group items into categories and give them a clean and polish if needed. Put clothes to sell through the wash.
- Display items so people can browse easily. Use a clothes rail, trestle table and group categories of things together. Have a mirror available for anyone who may want to try on clothes or accessories.
- On the day, don’t forget to have plenty of small change on hand and bags for people to take things away.
- Advertise your garage sale in any local printed classifieds, notice boards or on Gumtree.com.
Advertise the item on Facebook
A few tips on how to successfully sell your stuff on Facebook.
- Take clear photos and write a detailed description of the item in bullet points. This makes the post easy to scan.
- Bundle lower value items together for 1 price
- Focus on active Facebook sell groups in your local area and pay attention to group rules
- Set a deadline for the item to be sold
- Price the item with a little wiggle room for negotiation
Facebook is a good option if move day is closing in quickly. Focus on posting higher ticket items first followed by the lower value stuff.
Decluttering before your big move makes sense. I hope this article inspires you to take action and get your decluttering party started!
Elesha Piper is a freelance writer who knows moving home can be tough, she’s moved more than 15 times in the last 10 years! With this experience, she writes tips and guides to help make your bond cleaning and move as simple as possible.