I guess we all agree that moving can be a stressful event for anyone. In a country like Canada, there are enough chances you have to deal with one or more moves in the long run. Moving is also a time when you discover that you have way more stuff than you need. It is your opportunity to go through all of your things and get rid of some of them.
The need to declutter before moving is one of the things that bring stress to the event of moving. Decluttering can sometimes be more demanding than the moving itself. In the past few years, the minimalist lifestyle has caught on around the world, with people looking to reduce the stuff they own. Moving gives you that opportunity to eliminate the excess and make your new home as clutter-free as possible.
Here are some tips to help you declutter and move into your new home with a much lighter load.
It makes sense to plan your move a few weeks before the arrival of MPR Movers. Plan ahead to allow yourself time to evaluate everything room by room and item by item. Make a checklist of things you rarely use or do not need anymore.
Make a schedule
Make a schedule of what you plan to achieve each day — whether it is going through each room individually or a particular category of things like clothes or decoration pieces — and stay with it. Be reasonable with your time allocation.
It is easy to get drawn into passing hours sorting through items that evoke nostalgia. Make sure that you adhere to your timeline.
Make a checklist
You may have tons of stuff and cannot spend too much time pondering over each item. Add a method to it. Make a small checklist and quickly scan anything that puts you in two minds against your checklist. Here are some examples of the types of questions you can include in this checklist:
❓When did I last use this item?
❓Does it have a real emotional value for me?
❓Does it still work or fit?
❓Is it current with fashion or technology?
❓Do I need it?
❓If I keep it, how likely am I to use it?
❓Could it be of greater utility to someone else?
Scan for usual suspects
When you are packing up to move you will come across things that you forgot you even had, realizing that you probably live with a lot of excesses that you do not really need. Here are some groups of items that you should scan with a view to letting go of.
Examine your furniture items to see what you have a place and need for. No point in holding on to the big-ticket items you no longer want. You want to start selling them as early as you can to get the best prices or find someone who will be happy to have your used furniture.
Most of us tend to hold onto clothes quite unnecessarily because they might fit again one day, they may be back in fashion, or we may need them someday. Get rid of any non-specialized clothing that you have not worn for the past year.
DVDs and CDs
Do not cling to your collection of DVDs and CDs. Transfer the ones you cannot replace to digital forms and get rid of all the stuff that is now easily available online.
Many of us have appliances, especially in the kitchen, that we never use but they are still sitting taking valuable space in our cabinets. Do not assume that you will start using them at your new house. Look at them critically and let anything you are not sure of using go.
Art and Decoration
I am sure there are things that are still decorating your walls or sitting on shelves because you just have never moved them. Let someone else decorate their place with the stuff you should not be used in your new home.
Books are heavy and require lots of room. If you do not have a strong reason to keep them, let them go.
You will likely discover that you have way too many glasses, coffee mugs, and other dishes in your cabinets that you never use. Cookware is another big part of this category. Get rid of the stuff you never use.
Get rid of the toys that you or your children have grown beyond.
Look for any old, dusty, or unused items, furniture, glasses, or any other extra stuff you do not want to pay for transporting and keeping.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of things you could do without, but it is a good enough place to get started.
What to look for where
Above we discussed the categories of things that usually offer you a lot of room to declutter. Let’s now discuss some of the key points for each room, to help you strategize and cull.
As you inspect your kitchen, look for anything that is broken, surplus, past expiry date, stored away, or unused. Some of the things you can look for are:
💠 Expired food items
💠 Condiment packets are not likely to be used
💠 Tupperware (all containers have their lids?) and jars
💠 Travel water bottles and coffee mugs
💠 Tools and kitchen gadgets
💠 Appliances, especially small ones
💠 Cookware and tableware
💠 CookbooksExpired food items
If they are expired or you simply will not use them, do not pack them with you. Get rid of anything that is used as a set and is now incomplete. Give away the items that are unopened, within their expiry date, or still serviceable.
We all tend to put away things we do not want in common spaces in a home. These spaces are always a great place to minimalize even if you are not envisaging moving. Here are some examples of the things in the living room that are a good target for sorting and expelling:
💠 Media such as cassettes, CDs, VHS tapes that no longer serve any purpose except feeding your nostalgia
💠 Books, magazines, and journals
💠 Children’s toys, play objects, and activities
💠 Game consoles, games, and accessories
💠 Pet toys, beds, and other objects
We all love to hide away unwanted objects in closets, and they are not just clothes. There are other things too, such as packings, boxes, and other random things we may have tucked out of sight at some point in time. Here are some of the things you can scan and sort in your bedroom and closets.
💠 Jewelry and fashion accessories
💠 Bedsheets, towels, and other linens
💠 Unused boxes and hangers
💠 Handbags and storage bags
💠 Travel bags and items
💠 Identify clothing, shoes, jewelry, and other items that you are not wearing and give them a good home elsewhere.
Bathrooms are known for holding on to things well beyond their expiry dates or usage. Some of the categories that gather a lot of unnecessary items are:
💠 Medicines, including those already expired
💠 Beauty items such as makeup brushes, hairbrushes, curlers, nail files, and clippers
💠 Cosmetics, perfumes, and beauty supplies
💠 Bathroom appliances like hairdryers, shavers, and scales
Garage, shed, and home office
Generally, you will find a lot of miscellaneous items to get rid of in the garage and home office. Garage and shed tend to collect items that you want out of sight and do not know where to keep them. Similarly, the office has piles of papers, diaries, receipts, files, and other items that you are not likely to use again. Here are some of the things you can inspect in your garage and office:
💠 Tools and hardware
💠 Old electronics and appliances
💠 Home improvement items
💠 Raw materials such as wood pieces
💠 Gardening supplies
💠 Tents and camping gear
💠 Hiking and outdoor accessories
💠 Broken items you planned to fix
💠 Parts for cars and appliances and other spare parts
💠 Documents, files, and Instruction manuals
💠 All other paperwork
Defer difficult decisions
Sometimes it could be difficult for you to decide on something with emotional value. It may make sense to postpone such harder decisions when all other pre-moving tasks are over. Then when you get packing be willing to give each thing a quick second thought, without spending too much time on it before you box it up. Every so often it transpires that once the actual packing starts, some of the things you thought you could not live without will manage to make it into the get-rid pile.
Manage your emotions
It is easy to get sentimental once you start processing certain items. Be biased toward getting rid of things of use -like clothes, shoes, toys-, despite their sentimental value, if you have not used them in five years. Hold on to the souvenirs of sentimental attachment, such as photos or your grandmother’s jewelry.
Get rid of old or expired items
Take a look at items in your bathroom, pantry, pharmacy, and dressing room for their expiry date. Get rid of the items past their expiry date. Also get rid of unused edibles that are very old, even if they do not show an expiry date. Also, throw away cosmetics that you have not used in years.
Seek help from family and friends
Sometimes you may need extra hands to complete the task before a move. You can then ask your housemates, neighbors, or relatives if they can give you a hand. Not only will that move your decluttering process faster, but you may also benefit from an objective viewpoint while deciding on some of the things.
Organize around your next abode
If you know your new home’s layout, draw a floor plan for each room. Then decide on each piece of furniture you wish to put there. Once you have a clear idea, based on the storage space and what you desire, of what will sit well in your new home, you will find it easier to let go of items that do not fit in.
Get rid of the items you have identified to let go of
Once you have done a complete survey through your entire house and identified the items, you need to decide how you want to get rid of them. Here are some of the ways you can get rid of such stuff:
Sell it – Thanks to the internet, it is not difficult to get just about anything sold quickly these days. If you have an item that you know will take time to find a buyer for, such as a piece of jewelry or art, sort through those items first to give yourself a good chance to find a buyer for them.
If you have a lot of ordinary but still useful stuff to get rid of, you can have a garage or yard sale. Get the word out about it, so that you are sure to have lots of people stopping by.
Donate it – There are some people who are in need of some of what you do not need anymore. Look for places in your area that take donations of items. Locations to look for are thrift stores, schools, churches, non-profits, libraries, community centers, etc. Make sure to check what types of items a place accepts as donations.
Gift it – Some of the things may be totally new with tags and original packing intact. These are great for gifts. Just because you did not use it does not mean someone else will not. You may make someone happy.
Leave it behind – If you have the possibility to contact people who will be moving into the place you are vacating, you can find out if they would like you to leave behind some of what you are getting rid of. It may be garden furniture, yard equipment, decorative items, shelving, patio items, or something else that works great for that particular place.
Give it away – It will not hurt to ask friends and neighbors if they want any of what you do not want anymore.
Minimalizing can be a daunting task to start for some. But once you get going, most people find that getting rid of those extra things becomes empowering and even addictive, particularly in the course of a hectic big move. Welcome to the minimalist way of living.