All the excitement you have for your move likely took a giant nosedive as soon as you started thinking about packing. Trying to decide what to get rid of when moving is never easy, especially if you have lived in your current home for a while or never purged before your last move. It can be hard to let go of the “treasures” you have accumulated through the years, but there is no point in moving things you don’t need. Letting go brings clarity and creates tranquility. Check out our handy pre-move guide.
Prepare Your Moving Boxes
If you are wondering how to decide what to get rid of when moving, you need to understand that everyone will have their process. Some find it easier to rip the Band-Aid off fast by setting aside a weekend to go through every room in the house. Others prefer to do it a little at a time, so they have time to process between rooms. Either way, you are going to need a few boxes.
As you go through every room, put items you want to sell in certain boxes and things you want to donate in another box. A third box should be for questionable items. Maybe you have a drawer full of t-shirts that are all in bad shape. They are not nice enough to donate or sell, but that does not mean they can’t be turned into reusable produce or grocery bags, cleaning rags, etc.
Sort Through Your Clothes
Many agree that the wardrobe is the hardest thing to downsize. You know this! How many times have you decided to clean out your closet and ended up keeping everything besides one or two items? For some reason, people develop an emotional attachment to apparel, shoes, and accessories. Maybe it is the memories you had wearing a certain outfit, or perhaps you are just really hoping something comes back in style. You may be holding onto a 20-year-old pair of jeans as inspiration to get down to your high school size, or you feel guilty about spending a small fortune on something that you have only worn once, so you are determined to get your money’s worth out of it one day.
Hanging onto these items can be a form of punishment. It’s a constant reminder that you have been struggling to lose that last 10 pounds for years, or it can simply mean that you are stuck in the past. Maybe you are unhappy with where you are in your life now, or you could still be saddened by a breakup or mourning the loss of someone the clothes remind you of. How to decide what clothes to get rid of is not easy, but you will feel free once you let go of items that no longer serve you.
It is said that you wear 20 percent of your clothes 80 percent of the time, and if you think about it, you will likely agree that it is true. Ask yourself these questions:
Does it fit? Get rid of it, if you can’t comfortably put it on and wear it today.
Does it need repairing? If the zipper has been broken in something for three years now, you are probably never going to get it fixed.
Do you feel good when you wear it? If you love a piece of clothing, but it is uncomfortable, makes you feel self-conscious, or causes you to constantly fidget it is not for you.
Does it represent you? If you are now living a simplistic, carefree lifestyle in flip-flops all day running your surf shop then maybe it is time to get rid of all those old business suits you no longer wear.
Have you worn it in the past year? If you haven’t worn something in the past year there is a good chance you won’t in the future either. The exception to this rule is black-tie apparel. Having a few favorite cocktail dresses or suits handy for special occasions is okay, as long as they fit.
Evaluate Your Fitness Items
This category includes everything from sporting equipment to camping gear. If you have kids then you probably have your share of sporting equipment. Kids grow out of things so fast and busy parents just toss them in the garage or basement to deal with later. These are all items that need to go.
Now, you may look at that old baseball bat and remember teaching your son to hit for his first softball game, but just think of the memories that could be made by another child that doesn’t have any sporting equipment. Sometimes, when you are trying to figure out how to decide what to get rid of when moving, it is easier to focus on the good that can come from letting go. Your generosity is allowing someone else to participate in a sport they might not be able to otherwise.
Sports Gift is a great online outlet to use for donating these items. You can also sell them to Play it Again Sports or any sporting store in your area that has a buyback program. UsedSports.com and SwapMeSports.com are a couple of online options to check out.
As for camping gear, if there is a chance you will use it again these are things you may want to hold onto. That being said, if you have several extra tents and you have accumulated dozens of flashlights it is time to downsize a little.
Will You Play That Game Again?
If you have a huge collection of board games or if you haven’t gotten rid of one toy since your 10-year-old was born, you can probably do a lot of purging in this department.
If games are missing pieces or there is no chance you will ever play them again there is no point holding onto them. GameChanger is a great nonprofit that resells donated items to support children and their families dealing with cancer.
As for toys, you need to look at them as you did your wardrobe. You don’t need to hold onto the toys because you already have the memories attached to them. If you sell them someone who can’t afford to pay the full price can enjoy them. If you donate them this is even better.
Look at Furniture and Household Items Objectively
Whether you are finally getting rid of that beat-up old sofa or you have somehow accumulated three slow cookers, you probably have plenty of furniture and household items to get rid of. There are things you shouldn’t have a hard time selling, but there are also items nonprofits are always looking to be donated.
As you go through furniture evaluate items by asking if they complement the space. As for décor and other household goods, ask yourself why you are holding onto them. Were these things gifts? Did they belong to a deceased relative? It is okay to keep things that have true sentimental value. So, keeping a nightstand that belonged to your great-grandmother who carved her initials on it as a child is something you want to keep. Holding onto a table because it reminds you of the first time your toddler bumped his head on the corner and you ran to the emergency room is not quite the same thing.
You’ve Sorted Your Stuff. Now What?
Now that you know what to get rid of when moving, you need to decide what you are going to do with everything. It very well may come down to how much time you have. If you have months before you move, you can take your time and sell as much as you can. If you need everything gone now then donating may be your answer.
If you are listing things for sale make sure you have quality pictures. It is also very important that you be as descriptive as possible. So, if you are selling a pair of The North Face shorts, you need to provide the waist, rise, and inseam measurements, as well as size, material, and any distinguishing features, such as cargo pockets or cinched bottoms. The more detailed your description is the better chance you have of selling it quickly.
Before you get ready to move it is best to tap into your inner minimalist. Ask yourself if you will truly use an item again – and whether or not it brings joy into your life. The less emotion you tap into, the better chance you have of making the right decision when it comes to determining what to keep and what to toss.
Once you have trimmed your belongings to a reasonable level, it’s time to get that moving quote and relocate to your new home.