4 Best Tips to De-Cluttering for a Move

In the last 10 years or so, I think I’ve probably moved 4 times. In my last move, I decided that I wasn’t going to be lugging everything from my past 3 lives (and moves) with me. I decided that I was only going to move my clothes, and things that were irreplaceable; photos, a blanket that my mom crocheted for me, etc. That meant somehow getting rid of EVERYTHING ELSE, including a huge, thick, glass dining room table that I vowed that I’d be buried with, I loved it that much (still do).

I told my kids many times that “in my next move, I’m not renting a damn truck. I’m so sick of seeing the word ‘U-Haul’ that I think I might puke. Whatever doesn’t fit into the car, isn’t coming with me”. And I meant it.

I also refused to put a damned thing in storage. Storage is (in my humble opinion) forever. Storage is like having an off site attic, where you put anything and everything that you never plan on using or even seeing again. The ‘catch’ is that you have to pay for storage…in perpetuity. Again…storage is forever.

De-cluttering for this move was a task of enormous proportions. Thinking about it before actually doing it literally gave me anxiety. On the one hand, I couldn’t imagine parting with everything that I had, but on the other hand, you get to a point in life where you see ‘everything that you have’ not as assets, but as liabilities. It’s all just ‘stuff‘ that you have to move at some point, and the thought is daunting, because you don’t realize how much stuff you really have, until you have to move it.

My first 3 moves were a BITCH. Think about moving a 5 bedroom, 3 storey house, with all the belongings of 4 people…three times!

Never, ever again.

That said, I hope that these 4 Tips to De-cluttering for a Move serve you well;

  1. It’s a Mental Thing

Come to terms with the fact that the things that you’ve been holding on to for the past God knows how many years are actually right now just ‘weights’ that you need to physically move from one location to another. De-cluttering is more mental than anything else. You have to mentally divorce yourself from ‘things‘, in order to start the purging process, especially if you’re moving into a smaller space from a larger one (as was the case in my last move).

2. They’re just things

That’s it. It’s all just “stuff”. I had two rules in my move; the first was “if I can’t replace it, it comes with me”.

So the things that were impossible to replace, like photos of the kids, personal items that someone else had given me, I moved those things with me. Anything else was given away, thrown away or sold. Period.

3. Make 4 Piles; Give It Away, Sell It, Toss It or Move it

There is nothing else. You’re going to decide what the parameters are for each category; what qualifies as ‘give away’ as opposed to ‘sell it’ or ‘toss it’. That’s up to you. But everything lands in one of those piles.

Give it away;

There are things that you’re going to give away. Deciding how you’re going to do that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

If you have grown up ‘children’ who live relatively close, call them to come over and get anything that they may have left in the house that you don’t have any personal use for. You have to be a bit of a hard ass, because sometimes they think “if I don’t go get it, mom/dad will just move it with them. They can’t part with it…”, but they’d be wrong. Don’t you dare move it with you.

The things that you don’t give away to family and friends, you can give to a good will centre, thrift store or donate to a good cause. A word of caution; there are some ‘charities’ that don’t take a lot of things. One charity that I called didn’t want to take a nearly new desk, I think she said it was because they “had too many”.

Sell it;

The things that you decide to sell, you can list on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Honestly, I hate Craigslisting stuff. I’ve never been a fan of having strangers in my house, let alone for the purpose of haggling over the price of the item that was listed in the Craigslist post. If you decide to list your stuff on Craigslist, be prepared to take much less than you actually want for your items. Everyone’s looking for a ‘deal’ on Craigslist. If you’re in a “I don’t care, I just want it gone” position, then by all means, go nuts. But if your couch is nearly new, and you paid prime dough for it, Craigslist isn’t the first place that I’d suggest you try unloading it.

Facebook Marketplace is another way to sell things that you no longer want or need. And this vehicle has the added bonus of selling to friends, or friends of friends. So you won’t feel like you’re selling to a complete stranger, and friends don’t tend to want to verbally ‘beat you down’ in order to get a better price on something that you’re selling.

Toss it;

Suffice it to say that there are going to be more than a few things that don’t fall into the above piles. This is where the work gets the hardest. These are the things that you’ll load up into a pickup truck, and haul to the dump. Throw it all away. Don’t look back. Don’t say goodbye. Just turf it. Drive away, thankful in the knowledge that you don’t have to move all the stuff that you just got rid of to a new place, only to have it take up space there. You’d likely have to throw it away eventually. Why put off the inevitable?

And last, but definitely not least…

4. Don’t put ANYTHING in Storage. Period.

Nothing. Nada. I forbid it.

As I said before, “storage is forever”. So if you’re not fond of the fact that once you put something in storage, you’ll be paying for it until the day you die (at which point, your stuff will probably end up on “Storage Wars”), bypass the temptation to rent a storage unit. Regardless of how small it is, that fee that you pay for that space that only “stores a few things” add up…and they’re for life!

I hope these 4 Tips to De-cluttering for a Move are of some help to you.


Debbie xo