If you’re about to move to a new home, there is one thing you absolutely must do: Declutter before moving. Really, this is your big chance! There is no better excuse than an upcoming move to unload dead weight.
Think about it: For one, moving costs money—an average of $1,170 for an in-state move or a whopping $5,630 for out-of-state—so every box you pack adds up. Plus, you want your new place to look awesome, right? Cramming nooks, crannies, and closets with junk just isn’t pretty.
All of this is our long-winded way to say it’s high time you started chipping away at your possessions. For help on that front, check out these guidelines on how to declutter before moving.
Step No. 1: Start throwing things out early
Try to start purging at least a month before you move, says Ross Sapir, CEO of Roadway Moving in New York City, which moves up to 6,000 customers each year. The reason: This gives you time to, say, sell items online or drive them to a consignment shop. Plus, advance decluttering “spreads out the (task) to make it feel like it’s less work than it actually is,” Spair says.
Try to tackle one room, or one closet (or one drawer) a day—it’s less overwhelming—and never handle an item twice. Designate “toss,” “donate,” and “sell” boxes, and when you decide an item’s fate, toss it into the correct box. Done, done, and done.
Step No. 2: Gather the right packing materials
Gather organizational tools like packing tape, black markers, and labels in a tote; that way, you don’t have to rummage through drawers whenever the decluttering bug bites. After all, you’re going to need to get this stuff for moving day anyway, so there’s no harm in kicking things off early.
Another huge help? Clear plastic bins are your friends—and great homes for small items like batteries or office supplies. You can see what’s inside, and they’re easily stackable to save space.
Step No. 3: Consider the size of your new home
Before decluttering, think about your new home and how much space it contains. That will help you decide whether to move that extra set of pots and pans, or donate them. But even if you’re moving into a home with equal or more space, that doesn’t mean you should use this as an excuse to keep everything you own. Clutter and extraneous crap is clutter and extraneous crap!
Step No. 4: Target these top things to toss
Here are some common items you can almost certainly do without. Be merciless, and get them out of your life!
Books and magazines
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