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Moving can be a roller coaster of emotions, can’t it?

There’s the ecstasy of finally finding the house of your dreams (and being able to buy it, which is a process all on its own), there’s the agony of finding a buyer for your current place, and then there’s the sudden headache as you slowly realize exactly how much stuff you have to pack up.

Whether you’re moving across the country or simply down the street, whether you’re buying your first home or simply trading apartments, the idea of packing up for a move can bring about a lot of anxiety. We’d like to help take some of that anxiety out of an already-stressful situation by helping you with one of the biggest steps in the moving process: decluttering!

Figuring out what not to take with you when you move can save you a lot of time and headache from the get-go, and provides a perfect opportunity for you to do some much-needed decluttering like everyone should sometimes. Here’s a few of our favorite tips for decluttering before a big move, and what they can do to help your home get where it’s going:


Start as soon as you can

It might be a bit late if you’re reading this, but a good rule of thumb for decluttering before you move is to start as early as possible. Got the new place picked out? Start decluttering. Already boxing up the old place? Start decluttering. Just recently decide to commit to a move? Start decluttering. The more heads-up you have for this project, the easier the whole thing will be.


Decide on what you need to get rid of before the move

Obviously this will vary wildly depending on what exactly you’re sorting through to move, but making a preliminary list of things you know you should or can get rid of is going to go a long way. Focus on things like broken items, old furniture or fixtures that might be too bulky to take with you, or the old “rule of 12”—if you haven’t used something in 12 months, you probably don’t need it. Get an idea in your head (or make a list, whatever helps you the most) of what you plan on parting with and work from there.


Figure out where it could go in your new home

If there’s something you’re on the fence about (or even for things you intend on keeping), a good question to ask yourself is where you plan on keeping it when you move. Do you have enough wall shelves to hang onto all those knick knacks and souvenirs when you move, or will they need to be rehomed? Do you have basement shelves for whatever you have in your basement now? If something is going to require too much work to implement into your new space, it might not be worth taking along with you.


Go room by room

When it comes time to actually start decluttering, make sure to take your time and move through each room as needed. Start with whatever room will have the most stuff you have to move – the majority of the time this is the kitchen or the living room, maybe the basement—and make your way through the house, being sure to declutter as needed as you pack up everything else.


Figure out where it’s all going

Okay, so you’ve finally gotten your head in the game and you’re getting big piles of stuff together to get rid of. Now you just need to figure out where it’s going. Don’t be too precious about it, as this can lead to you putting it right back where it was, and nobody needs that. See if any of your friends would like to take any old furniture or unwanted clothes off your hands, and get ready to give the rest to charity. Try to avoid the trap of saving something to sell unless it’s a guaranteed mover, and prepare yourself to get pretty friendly with the employees of your local Salvation Army over the next few days.

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