Moving your family: how to declutter while you pack?
Getting a handle on clutter is always important, but when it’s time to move, this action becomes critical. By decluttering as you pack, you can limit your moving stress, only transport what you really love, and even make a little money.
When you know you’re moving
Stop shopping. Stop buying things you’ll have to pack for your new home. If you’re completely out of something or if something you use every day breaks, replace it, but only go in and buy exactly what you need to replace. This habit will reduce the need to declutter in the future, and it will protect your budget now.
Gather the right containers
You will need a sizable collection of
- boxes, for packing what you want to take
- white trash bags, for items to sell or donate
- black trash bags, for things that need to be tossed
In each space, work in two directions. Move counterclockwise from the door for the initial sort, filling the two trash bags. This pass can be fairly quick. When you get back to the door, you will need to work the other way. This pass will take more time, as you’ll be folding and boxing items as you go. Use a color-coding system, either with sticky dots or colored markers, to define where items should go. Label the box on two perpendicular sides.
Sell or donate?
If you have the time, you can sell many things on various marketplaces such as Facebook or Poshmark. If you need to move in a hurry, avoid any marketplace that requires you to maintain the inventory. For example, you may make more money selling clothes on Poshmark, but if you get a kit from ThredUp, the garments will be out of the house. Timing on selling belongings is critical.
Check for dust
If you have collectibles that need to be dusted regularly and you adore them, pack them. If you have kitchen appliances that you have forgotten about until they grow dusty, donate them. Yes, the waffle iron was a lovely gift, but if you don’t eat waffles, it can serve a better purpose in someone else’s kitchen.
Beware the basement
Basement storage areas are sneaky spots because you can easily move stuff to the basement and forget about it. If you have to lug boxes up a ladder to the attic, it’s more likely to be something you really want. Carrying things to the basement is a much simpler process. Anything in the same box that you used to move it last time has to go.
Carefully review the sizes of garments in closets, especially children’s clothing. It’s easy for clothes that they’ve outgrown to get pushed to the back until there’s no space for the next size up. Again, donate as much as possible. If you have friends who are willing to help, ask them to take things to thrift stores and wait for receipts while you stay in the house and manage the decluttering and packing process.
Pack with linens
If you have old towels, worn sheets, or linens you just don’t like, set them aside for packing materials. Wrap your dishes and delicate collectibles in fabric to prevent breakage. As you unpack, try to toss as much of this fabric as possible, or donate it to an animal shelter to be used as bedding.
Hire professional movers
No matter how many friends offer to help, hire a pro to load the truck and to move the big stuff. Unless your friends are bodybuilders, they’re likely not in any better shape than you are, and if you can’t lift that couch, they shouldn’t either. Keep an eye on moving company reviews so delicates like your piano and Aunt Sally’s glass cabinet get to the new space in one piece.
Moving, whether you’re going bigger or smaller, can be a time of tremendous cleansing. Keep a mental list of all the things in your home that you use on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. How many can you do without, and how many would you like to upgrade? These decisions will be tough, so make them early in the day and give yourself some breathing and thinking room in the evening.