Removing Clutter Before You Move
I am the kind of person that gets excited about a move. It is a fresh start. A new beginning. It also forces my hand to get rid of things I do not need. For most people packing and moving belongings from one home to another is the most stressful part of a move. For me, it is getting rid of belongings. It emotionally drains me and I plain hate it. At the same time, I am grateful for the extra pressure to tackle the built up clutter.
Luckily, with this move, I do not have too much to go through to get rid of. I did a lot of that with our last move. Clothes, toys and some multiplying plastic lids will be my biggest obstacles. So, where does one start to get the clutter out? I am glad you asked!
First, I arm myself with the W.A.I.D. questions:
These four questions have helped me many times decide whether something was worth keeping or not.
Why am I keeping it?
Am I keeping it for sentimental reasons?
Is it broken?
Do I really need it?
Second, I set up four/five categories to place my belongings into:
- Keep – If I keep something it has a set place where it always goes. A home of its own. Everything else is a toss.
- Donate – family/friends… Here is a well thought out list by miss minimalist: Where to Donate Your Stuff: 101 Places Your Clutter Can Do Good
- Sell – Need ideas? Charis Brown has some suggestions: 49 Ways to Sell Your Old Stuff for the Most Money
- Throw Away
- Store – For a normal de-clutter, I try to avoid storing too much stuff; which normally would be reserved for seasonal items, but since I am moving, if I can pack it now, I do.
Third I set up my plan of attack:
If you can, designate a room to store packed boxes. The garage, a spare room or laundry area. Any spot that is out of the way of everyday living and will cause the least amount of stress and upheaval. For us, it will start in the outdoor storage space than the laundry room. Then our large bathroom and part of the living room.
- The first space to tackle will be the space designated as the drop-off area for packed belongings. For us that will be our outdoor storage room. It is not holding very much so I just have to move some things around to make room. That was easy.
- Spaces such as attics, basements, hall closets are next. For us, it is the coat closet and the hall closet. Normally the de-clutter stage is not a time to pack, but these closets are so small that it is easy to do a de-clutter and pack what I can. It is still cold outside so I cannot pack our coats up, just yet, but other odds and ends get packed or tossed. If I can, I keep the stuff I packed up from the closet, in the closet. The hall closet has our spare bedding, blankets and bathroom stuff. I definitely want to wait to pack anything from here. However, I do pull worn out towels and washcloths and toss them in a box for cleaning and throwing away later. As I get further into packing, I will use the towels, wash clothes, sheets, and blankets to wrap up some of our breakables. Make sure you leave a towel and washcloth out for each family member.
- With Non-essentials, such as, artwork, picture frames, knick-knacks, books, CD’s, DVD’s, off-season clothes, crafts and junk drawers do a quick run through on what to keep or toss. For us, this is going to be easy. Most of these things are already packed up and in a storage room from our last move. I have a nightstand that is actually a bookshelf with a few small baskets placed in it to hold small items. Here I have two small junk baskets. My bookshelf nightstand contains more than what most people keep beside their beds. This is my first real de-cluttering challenge. Deep breath!…. And GO!
- For me, getting rid of my clothes can be a real challenge. I like having a variety and I may not wear something one season, but it will be my favorite the next. The first thing I do is empty out the closet or dresser I am de-cluttering. By doing this, old, worn out, damaged, do not fit right clothes don’t get missed. I then divide the clothes into piles,
(1) Clothes I love
(2) Clothes I wear all the time
(3) Clothes I want
I look over each item for wear, tear, stains, and if it is repairable. The two piles that I take the most time with are clothes I want and my maybe pile. I try them on so that I can make an informed decision on why I should keep it or get rid of it. If there are articles of clothes I really like but never wear it is usually because they do not fit right or do not look right on me. So, out it goes. I go through the same process with accessories and jewelry.
- Children’s clothes – I have one toddler and normally I would wait one more month or so to go through her clothes. At the time I am writing this, the weather is cold one day and the next its warmer, but it needs to be done now. I decided that as I went through her clothing I would pack up half of her winter clothes, mostly things she rarely wears or is about to outgrow. The box will remain in her room just in case I need to get into it before we move out.
- Toys are pretty easy at this point for us. I have a toddler so most of the decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of falls on me. I’m pretty aware of what she loves to play with and what she has outgrown or does not have an interest in anymore. Every few months I look her toys over for wear and tear and use the basic method I use to go through clothes. I try to clean up and donate what she no longer has a use for.
- Kitchen – When de-cluttering the kitchen I use a different approach than for de-cluttering clothes. I have found that the best approach is to first, do a quick clean of anything on the counters, sink, dishwasher and the floor. Then take one cabinet or drawer at a time. I use four containers or boxes to organize everything.
(1) Put Away
(2) Put Away Elsewhere (outside of the kitchen)
(3) Give Away,
I throw things away in the trash and use the counter space for things that will go back into the space I am de-cluttering. Once you pick which drawer or cabinet, stick with it and make no exceptions. If you were to move items to or from other spaces, instead of the container designated for that very problem, you could find yourself overwhelmed and have a very messy kitchen on your hands.
This is also a great time to deep clean the space you are de-cluttering. Once that cabinet or drawer is back in order, I move on to the box holding the items for Put Away Elsewhere. Do not be tempted to remove things from the other spaces. If you need to, leave the things in your Put Away Elsewhere container for another time.
Working it out this way saves time, space, and sanity. Before you know it you will have a very organized, de-cluttered, and clean kitchen. Those extra container lids will not be taking up cabinet space.
NOTE: Another way I have been able to keep my kitchen organized and avoid buying the same items over and over again is by using Kitchen Inventory Sheets. This has drastically cut down my kitchen clutter and over buying items I already have on hand. I have several FREE Kitchen Organizing Kits you can find them in by clicking Printables – Planners, Journals, and Calendars.
- Bathroom – I de-clutter the bathroom similar to how I de-clutter the kitchen. First, do a quick clean of anything on the counters, sink, tub, toilet and the floor. I have five containers or boxes.
(2) Put Somewhere Else
(3) Put Away Elsewhere (outside of the bathroom)
(4) Give Away, (5) Sell
(6) trash bag
The bathroom is pretty much a sort, toss, organize and put away kind of job. Anything worn out or not used in awhile, get rid of. Sort rarely used items into storage bins. I try to store as much as I can under the sink.
Apply these methods for any remaining rooms in your home.
More in this series: We’re On The Move
- Moving & Packing Supplies w/ FREE Printable Checklists
- A Moving Binder Planner is the Secret to Making Your Move Easier
- Weekly Moving Schedules with Free Printables
Looking for more advice on how and where to get rid of clutter? Try these links:
- Pinterest Board For Moving: Plan and Organize Your Move
- lifehacker.com – How to De-Crapify Your Home: A Start-to-Finish Guide
This is NOT a sponsored post and does NOT contain affiliate links. All opinions contained in this post are my own.
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