While the task of decluttering sounds extra overwhelming, the rewards are worth it. Clutter inevitably builds up in your home over time. But how much of that stuff do you actually use? Are you treating your home like a storage unit instead of a cozy, clean space?
Once you start packing up, how much stuff you accrued in the past year or two becomes apparent.
Instead of living in clutter, make a move to your new house with a fresh start and less stuff.
Start anew by following these decluttering tips.
Give Yourself Time
Before you start the whole process of cleaning and decluttering, give yourself time. Sorting all of your items can be pretty overwhelming and challenging, so don’t rush yourself.
Typically, packing and decluttering should start about two to four weeks before your move. However, If you have a larger home or more stuff, start earlier.
If you give yourself enough time, you will prevent burnout and start off on the right foot.
Sort Your Items Strategically
Even more important than getting rid of unused stuff is sorting things strategically. Though moving inevitably becomes stressful, this tip can relieve a great deal of it.
Here are different sorting methods you can follow when it comes to decluttering.
Declutter by Room
The easiest way to begin decluttering is attacking the task by room.
Start with unused spaces and work your way up to the most used ones. You can probably sort out the guest room and office first, while bathrooms and closets probably need to wait until closer to moving day since you will be using items from these rooms daily.
Figure Out if Items Are Necessary
Once you start sorting out your items, ask yourself — is this item necessary? Stuff accumulates over time. Where you once had one set of dish bowls, you might have four different sets now.
Dish bowls already answer the question of necessity, and you should keep a set … but four of them might be too much. Which of those is your favorite? Do you reach for the pretty blue dishes 99% of the time and ignore the rest? If that is the case, get rid of the other three sets of bowls. Bowl sets always make a pretty gift, and you can gift them to your friends or family.
Try abiding by the 90/90 rule to help you decide on what to keep. Have you used it in the last 90 days, and will you use it in the next 90 days? If the answer is yes, keep the item. If it is a no, it’s best to get rid of it.
This rule doesn’t apply to sentimental items, though. You should keep things that make you happy, but try to do it within reason. You can also consider gifting some of these items to friends if you know they love them.
If your friend Brittany always comments on how much she loves your wine glasses, and those aren’t your favorite — why not gift them to her instead of piling the glasses in storage?
Sort Your Items by Keep, Sell, and Throw Away
After the first “sorting round,” the second half of decluttering is figuring out the place for each item.
Your “keep” pile may look way bigger than necessary at this point. If you believe there still could be stuff you can get rid of, it’s best to go through the pile again and sort your priorities.
Once you’re sure which items you’re not going to keep, it’s time to decide where they should go. There are multiple options. You can either sell your stuff, donate it, gift it, or throw it away if it’s of no use to anyone.
First, pick out those items that you believe no one could find useful so that you can throw them away. You should include items that are not in usable condition anymore — like a broken microwave you never found time to get rid of or a barely-staying-together couch.
The remaining items can be sorted into sell, donate, and gift piles.
The donate/sell pile should include items in excellent condition that someone else would be happy to use, but that you don’t have room for anymore.
Back to the example of dishes — if you have no use for three sets of bowls, consider having a garage sale or selling them online if you have time. If not, donate them.
We suggest trying to sell items first because moving is costly. Why not try to make a little extra cash? There are various local garage-sales Facebook groups or even neighborhood apps that will help you organize such an event.
You’ll inevitably gather trash while you declutter, but we urge you to donate, sell, or try to recycle those items before disposing of them, if you can.
Make Decluttering a Breeze
Decluttering can be an immense task even when moving is not in the equation, let alone otherwise.
Give yourself some time to prepare. The most important thing to remember is that strategic decluttering will get you far, while rushing the process won’t make it more productive or easier. Plus, you will have more time to think through every item and come to smart decisions. If you need help moving the items you decided to keep, consider hiring a moving company.
Getting rid of piles of stuff that don’t serve you anymore will give you the possibility of a fresh start in your new home.