Declutter Guide: How to Decide What to Get Rid of When Moving

shutterstock 143771893 Declutter Guide: How to Decide What to Get Rid of When Moving


Nearly everything you read will tell you to declutter before packing for a move. This is usually easier said than done. How do you know what to get rid of? If you have ever gone through your closet to get rid of everything you haven’t worn in a year, but ended up finding excuses to keep most things then this process will likely be a challenge for you. This guide of questions to ask yourself should help.

Do You Use It?

If you have things you never use there is no point moving them to the new place? Sure, you can say you might need them one day, but if you have not used them in the past few years, you likely never will. The two dozen coffee mugs and four can openers are prime examples.

When Was the Last Time You Wore It?

If you have been holding onto your skinny jeans from high school for a decade, hoping to get into them it is probably time to let them go. Besides, the style is probably outdated anyway. Shoes, clothes, and costume jewelry can go, if it’s not needed. The only exceptions are gowns and suits that you wear for special occasions. Cleaning out your wardrobe is one of the most time consuming projects. Do not leave it till the last minute.

Are You Emotionally Attached?

Okay, some items you really should keep if they have sentimental value. However, if you are keeping things you don’t need simply because you have had them so long you have grown attached to them you need to ask yourself if you really need them.

Does it Work?

Holding onto things you intend on fixing one day results in pieces of worthless junk lying around the house. Anything that does not work does not belong in your new home.

Are You Going to Read It?

If you have books, magazines, old newspapers, etc., you probably do not need to move all of it, unless you are trying to grow a nice library. All of these items can be donated. Even those old newspapers can be put to very good use at your local animal shelter or rescue.

Is it Expired?

Do you hold onto old medications, just in case you need them one day? Do you have 10 opened packs of cold and cough medicine because you just buy a new bottle every time someone in the house has a sniffle? Any medications you do not need, and those that are expired need to be correctly disposed of. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices offers a detailed guideline for disposing of prescription and over-the-counter medications. If you have food that is way past the expiration and you are never going to eat it, then it probably does not need to come either.

As a special note, when going through toys, games, etc., belonging to children, it is a good idea to let them be involved. Getting rid of their stuff while they are not home and assuming they won’t notice is unfair. Chances are very good that if you tell them you are donating to someone less fortunate they will be surprisingly generous with what they are willing to part with.