Are you planning to move or thinking about moving soon? If so, you may want to consider preparing for the big event by decluttering early and often. Going through 5, 10, or 15+ years of “stuff” can be a daunting task, overwhelming and filled with stress but ask yourself, “Do you really want to pay a mover to bring unneeded things to your new home where you will than need to unpack or store items you don’t even want?”
Here’s some tips on how to tackle this project, assuming you are starting early enough in the process! If you are moving in less than a month, this probably won’t help too much.
Grab a Notebook and Pen
Take a stroll through your home and as you go room-by-room, take notes about what areas need to be decluttered. For most people, the biggest areas tend to be the basement, attic, garage, and guest room, since these are often used as “catch all” and storage areas.
Determine your Timeline
Once you have a complete list, look at your timeline. If you have a year to declutter, you can move at a slower pace than if you only have 3 months. The shorter the timeline, the more you will need to prioritize what areas get worked on first. When it comes to making decisions about what items to dispose of, you should include everyone in your household in the process.
Consider the following as you Prioritize:
Is there “low-hanging fruit” that is easy to decide on? Perhaps you can do an initial sweep of each room for these items as a first pass, and come back for the more difficult decisions.
If you are paying movers, can you decide on bigger/heavier items first, so the moving cost is lower?
Can you ask for help? Sometimes having a friend who is neutral can help you make decisions, or you could hire a Professional Organizer to keep you on track.
One approach is to pack up the things you know you will need in your new home (assuming you won’t need them before you move), or put them aside, and see what is left. You can use this technique to limit areas to a certain number of boxes that you will move, and choose to not bring anything that won’t fit into those boxes.
Set Aside Time
Once you have prioritized, set aside time in your calendar each week to work on your project list (we recommend sessions 3 hours or less as your decision-making ability will fatigue). You may find that the decisions get easier as you move along, or you may find they are more difficult as you get into items that hold sentimental value.
If you are the type who likes to keep everything “just in case”, ask yourself these questions; “How easily could I get this item again if I needed it?” and “Could I borrow this item from someone else in the future if necessary?” The answers to these questions just may help in your deciding whether or not to keep a rarely used item.
Make sure to include regular trips to your favorite donation places to keep items moving out of the house, or set up a pickup from charities that will accept your donated items.
Let me know if you have gone through this process before, and what other tools or techniques were helpful. Happy moving!