Residential Moving

Essential DOs and DON'Ts for decluttering before your move


Preparing for a move extends beyond packing. Decluttering your home before moving will save you time and money by reducing what you transport, allowing you to start fresh in your new home without unnecessary items. By sorting your belongings and deciding whether to keep, donate, sell, or throw away each item, you simplify packing and unpacking, making your move smoother.

Where do I start decluttering for a move?

While it may seem daunting to decide where to begin, you can start building momentum after the first step. Here’s how to kickstart the process effectively:

  • Start by tackling high-traffic areas in your home. These are often the places where clutter accumulates the most, such as the living room, kitchen, or entryway. By starting here, you’ll make a noticeable impact early on.
  • Setting a timeline can help you stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Break down the decluttering process into manageable tasks well before your move.
  • Before diving in, establish clear goals for your decluttering efforts. Decide what you want to achieve, whether it’s reducing the amount of your belongings, organizing specific areas, or simply creating a more minimalist living space.
  • As you declutter to prepare for your move, categorize items into four main groups: keep, donate, sell, or discard. Be honest with yourself about whether each item serves a purpose or brings you joy. If not, it may be time to part ways.
  • When deciding what to keep, consider factors like necessity and sentimentality. Focus on retaining items that are essential for daily life or hold significant emotional value. You can reconsider everything else for donation, sale, or disposal.

What is the Rule of 5 in decluttering?

The easiest way to declutter for a move involves the Rule of 5, which can streamline the process. This method involves selecting five items from a designated area and deciding to keep, donate, sell, or discard each. The Rule of 5 is adaptable to any home area, helping to declutter gradually without feeling overwhelmed. By focusing on small sets of items, you’ll efficiently clear out space and prepare for a smoother move.

How to declutter and prepare for a move: The DOs

Decluttering room by room is a practical approach to make sure you don’t overlook anything. It helps to tackle each area methodically:

  • Kitchen: Start with the heart of the home. Sort through cabinets, drawers, and pantry shelves. Discard expired food items, duplicate utensils, and gadgets you no longer use. Consider donating excess cookware or dishes to streamline your kitchen essentials.
  • Bedroom: Next, focus on creating a serene sleeping space. Sort through clothing, shoes, and accessories. Donate or sell items you no longer wear or need. Consider organizing drawers and closets to maximize storage space.
  • Living room and bathroom: These shared spaces often accumulate clutter quickly. Remove unnecessary decor, magazines, and knick-knacks from the living room. In the bathroom, discard expired toiletries and old towels. Consider investing in storage solutions to keep these areas tidy and functional.
  • Decluttering garage storageGarage/storage areas: Tackling these spaces may require extra time and effort. Sort through tools, sports equipment, and seasonal items. Consider using the four-box method—designating boxes for items to keep, donate, sell, or discard. Utilize storage containers and labels to keep items organized and easily accessible.

Sort and organize across your home for efficiency. Store infrequently used items like seasonal clothing and holiday decorations in clear, labeled containers. Decluttering systematically simplifies moving and promotes a clean slate in your new home.

DON’Ts of decluttering for a move

While decluttering is essential for an easy and efficient move, it’s equally crucial to avoid common pitfalls that can hinder your progress. Here are some “DON’Ts” to remember:

Don’t procrastinate

Avoid leaving decluttering tasks until the last minute. Procrastination can lead to unnecessary stress and rushed decision-making. Start decluttering early and work consistently to avoid feeling overwhelmed as your moving day approaches.

Don’t keep items out of guilt or obligation

It’s natural to feel attached to certain belongings, but holding onto items out of guilt or obligation can contribute to clutter. Be honest with yourself about whether each item serves a purpose or brings you joy. If not, it may be time to let it go.

Don’t forget to involve family members

Decluttering is a team effort, especially if you’re moving with family members. Encourage everyone to participate in the process, whether it’s sorting through belongings, packing boxes, or deciding what to keep or discard.

Don’t overlook digital decluttering

These days, it’s easy for digital clutter to accumulate. Don’t forget to declutter your digital spaces, including files, photos, and emails. Delete unnecessary files, organize folders, and back up important documents to ensure a clean digital slate for your move.

Final steps

As you approach the end of your decluttering process, it’s important to take care of the last details. Contact local aid centers or recycling facilities to arrange for the donation or disposal of unwanted items. If your move is large or complex, consider hiring a moving company or renting storage containers. Working with a moving company will provide options for professional packing, unpacking, and storage services to assist you with your move.