Declutter Before Moving Day: Simplify And Minimize Your Move

declutter before moving


Decluttering before a big move isn’t just going to save space in the U-Haul — it’s also going to save you time, and a little bit of sanity, as you embark on your next adventure. The way I declutter before a move is a little bit different than my usual seasonal decluttering and streamlines the entire packing and unpacking process from start to finish.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

Moving takes a great deal of time and attention. I’ve lived in a couple of different homes over the years, and I’ve worked to streamline the decluttering process before each move to make the whole ordeal much easier on me.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

Why Decluttering Before Your Move Is Important

Why Decluttering Before Moving Is Important

One of the wisest things you can do before moving houses is decluttering. The entire process of moving can be a lot, and that’s compounded when you have years and years’ worth of clutter piled into your U-Haul.

The best way to prepare for a big move is to go through all of your stuff beforehand and decide what makes the cut in the moving truck and what will be donated or given away.

If you do this, it will be a much simpler and more manageable move for you and your family. The only thing you’ll take with you to your new house are the things you truly need!

importance of decluttering before moving

Helpful Tips When Decluttering Before The Big Move

Tips When Decluttering Before Moving

Trying to declutter an entire house before moving can feel like a huge, daunting challenge. Unlike a vacation, moving to a new home involves clearing everything out of the house you lived in previously. It involves making an individual decision to keep or get rid of every single item in your current home.

In any move, you’re dealing with a lot of stuff all at once. By using specific decluttering tips and strategies, you can streamline the decluttering and packing process and make your move way less stressful overall.

how to declutter when you are overwhelmed

When Decluttering For A Move, Start Early

When it comes to moving, there’s nothing more stressful than waiting until the last minute to decide what you plan to bring. Tackling this massive declutter is much easier when you start early.

Breaking the decluttering process into smaller, more manageable sections that you address in chunks will make the entire process way less overwhelming in the long run. Most decluttering experts suggest starting to pack a minimum of five weeks before a move, or even earlier if you have a lot of stuff to manage.

check your calendar

Declutter And Pack Simultaneously

A lot of people separate decluttering and going through items from the process pf packing. However, you can cut the time it takes you to declutter for a move in half by combining these two processes! Instead of spending weeks going through everything you own and then additional weeks packing it all away, make packing piles while you sort.

Declutter And Pack SimultaneouslyWhenever I do this, I designate a specific holding place for each category that will come with me on the move, and I have empty packing boxes sitting in that holding place. For example, I might say that all of my dishes are being stored in the garage. I would set aside cardboard boxes and newspaper in the garage so I can pack the dishes away as I go through them.

I like to choose “holding areas” that are out of the way of my typical daily walking path. That way, I’m able to pack things away for my move while still having room for day-to-day life in my house.

Sort Items Into Specific Categories

Another thing that’s important to think about when decluttering to move to a new home is to pack and sort in a way that makes sense for your life and the items that you have. What I mean by this is, take the time to think through which items you want to unpack together to preemptively streamline the unpacking process as well.

sort items into specific categoriesDon’t just declutter and pack in broad categories like “dishes.” Instead, whittle down your boxes into even more specific groupings so that unpacking is seamless. Instead of “dishes”, you could have a box labeled “tupperware”, “barware”, or “wedding china.” As opposed to having 10 boxes generically labeled “bathroom,” have boxes for “toiletries,” “makeup products,” and “medications”.

Not only will this aid you in packing and unpacking, but it will also help you to effectively get rid of more stuff before moving. Creating specific categories will give you a visual picture of how many items you own within a particular category and evaluate how many you truly need.

If your boxes are too vague, it will be a lot more challenging to parse through the piles of stuff and take inventory of what you own. However, when you categorize things specifically, you’ll quickly realize you have way more wine glasses than you ever needed, and you’ll know exactly which items to declutter before the move.

get motivated to declutter

Leave No Item Unturned In The Pre-Move Purge

When undergoing a huge move, you won’t be able to leave any item in the house, unless you’re leaving furniture or household objects for the new homeowners. If not, you’ll have to go through every item you own, which can be a huge undertaking.

Use this as a motivating opportunity to leave no items unturned and make a conscious decision about every piece in your house. Don’t let any items go straight from your room, shelf, or cabinet into a packing box without asking yourself if it’s worth donating, selling, or giving away them away instead.

Questions To Ask When Decluttering Before A Move

Questions about Decluttering Before A Move

As you sort through cherished possessions and daily essentials, you may find you have a hard time deciding what to keep and what to toss. If you find yourself on the fence about a specific item or box of things, run through these quick questions to help you decide.

Ask Yourself the Following Questions

  • Is this an item I will get use out of after my move?
  • Have I used this item in the past month of living here?
  • Is this something I own for sentimental reasons or practical use?
  • Do I have duplicates of this item?
  • Is there another item I own that serves the same purpose as this one?
  • Have I been keeping this item in case I use it someday?
  • Do I have a friend who could get more use out of this item?

Limit Your Boxes, Declutter The Rest

Another expert strategy when it comes to decluttering pre-move, is to limit the number of boxes you plan to pack from the beginning. Then, when all the boxes you’ve set aside for one specific category are filled, don’t add more boxes into the mix to make room for more stuff.

Anything that doesn’t fit in the boxes you’ve designated will be decluttered. Doing this from the beginning will significantly reduce the items you lug with you on your move and help you to get rid of as many items that you don’t need as possible.

decide what to keep before moving.jpg

Use Up Products As A Way To Declutter Them

An additional and very simple way to get rid of more items before you actually move is to focus on using up the last of products that you can buy and replace when you get to your new house. I am talking about things like shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, food stuffs, laundry detergent, and anything else that could go bad quickly or that you could easily and cheaply replace when you move.

Don’t waste time and space trying to pack all of these things away. Just replace them when you get there, as you will inevitably need to do a couple months into the move, even if you had packed the old, original products.

how to declutter

Declutter Memorabilia Last

Memorabilia and sentimental items are likely the most challenging category when packing to move. Moving is often a sentimental time in and of itself, so it can be easy to get caught up in the nostalgia and memories and lose sight of the decluttering goal.

This is why I think it’s super important to save sentimental items and memorabilia for last when decluttering for a move. That way, even if your emotions are heightened and you end up lost in your childhood memories for hours, everything else is already decluttered and ready to go.

memorabilia and sentimental items

Get Rid Of Stuff You’ve Decided Not To Keep

One habit I’ve seen a lot when people are working to get rid of thing before moving is that they’ll pack a box to sell or donate when they get to their new destination. This is a surefire way to take more stuff with you in the move than makes sense.

If you’ve already decided which items you plan to get rid of or sell, take them to a donation spot or second-hand store as soon as you can. Definitely don’t take them with you in the move to sell when you get there. This will just take up extra, unnecessary space in the moving truck!

Places To Donate Your Decluttered Items

Decluttering Before Moving: Room-By-Room Guide

Decluttering Before Moving Room By Room Guide

The most overwhelming aspect of decluttering before you move is forcing yourself to think about how much clutter is hidden in your entire home all at once. To combat this, I encourage you to take the process of decluttering to move one room or section at a time.

declutter your home room by room

Decluttering Your Kitchen Before The Move

It’s easy for dishes, tupperware, measuring cups, and more to pile up in every nook and cranny in a kitchen. Especially if you’ve lived there for years.

Get Rid Of These Items In Your Kitchen

  • Food you aren’t taking with you
  • Sauce packets and plastic utensils
  • Kitchen gadgets that you never use
  • Extra dishes
  • Tupperware and lids you don’t need
  • Extra coffee mugs
  • Fine china you don’t use
  • Excess cookware
  • Old cookbooks and recipes
Unused Cookware And Kitchen Gadgets

how to organize a small kitchen

How To Declutter A Bathroom Before Moving

Decluttering a bathroom before a big move can feel like a lot. The bathroom is a common place for clutter to pile up easily.

Get Rid Of These Items In Your Bathroom

declutter old shampoo and soap bottles

how to declutter a bathroom

Decluttering Your Bedroom Before You Move

In many ways, your bedroom is one of the most important rooms of the home to declutter before your big move. Your bedroom is where you start and end your day, so you don’t want to bring bedroom clutter into the bedroom of your new home.

Get Rid Of These Items In Your Bedroom

  • Trinkets on shelves and side tables
  • Extra candles
  • Books you don’t read
  • Bedroom furniture you don’t need
  • Extra décor
declutter bedroom

how to organize a small bedroom

How To Declutter Your Living Room When Moving

The living room is the central space where guests, friends, and family will commonly spend time. You want to get rid of the excess clutter in the living room as well so that the living room in your new house is clean and organized for guests to sit and stay awhile.

Get Rid Of These Items In Your Living Room

  • Books and magazines
  • Unwanted décor
  • Games and game consoles
  • Pet toys and pet bedding
  • Throw pillows
  • Excess blankets
declutter magazines and books before moving

how to organize a small living room

Your Turn!

  • What items will you declutter before moving day?
  • Which strategies will you try to help get rid of stuff before moving?

Leave a Reply