Moving to a new house presents a perfect opportunity to remind yourself of what you have accumulated over time. Some people unknowingly accumulate several identical pairs of shoes, hoard unused clothes, or fill their closets with half-finished crafts. Basically, these items are non-essentials, and you shouldn’t take them to your new home. Unfortunately, because of the sentimental value of these items or other reasons, most people find difficulties choosing what can remain and what they should throw out.
Why You Should Declutter Before Moving
Decluttering before moving is important for the following reasons:
- Reduce moving costs – professional moving companies charge for moving services based on the total weight of your items. The more items you have, the more the cost. Decluttering can save on your moving budget.
- Saves on packing supplies – fewer items mean you will need a few packing supplies, such as boxes, wraps, and duct tapes.
- Better for the environment – fewer items to pack means few packing materials and minimal landfill waste.
- Less time spent packing – eliminating non-essentials before packing saves on time and effort used when packing.
- More space in the new house – moving to a new home with reduced closets translates to more storage space.
What You Should Get Rid of Before Moving
1. Cheap and Worn-out Furniture
Furniture items take up a lot of space in the moving truck. Loading and unloading them is also a headache. If you’ve got a worn-out piece of furniture that you’re planning to get rid of soon after moving, consider not moving it at all. Sell, dispose of, or donate it before your move.
Stains, missing cushions, broken parts, marred surfaces—just a few reasons to not move a piece of furniture. Getting rid of these can save a lot on moving costs because moving companies charge per room or box for large moves and hourly for small moves.
2. Old or Unused Clothes
Clothes use up a lot of packing boxes. Consider each item as you pack, and set up separate “To Donate” and “To Dispose Of” piles. Anything you have not worn in the past year, is woefully out of style, no longer fits, or has irreparable stains or tears—donate or throw out. Unless you have important reasons for keeping them, bless them onto someone else who’ll get better use of the item. You can sell old clothes in good condition through eBay or second-hand marketplaces such as tradesy.com.
3. Household Appliances and Electronics
Household appliances, such as washers and dryers, are expensive and yet necessary. However, they are heavy, and moving with them is challenging, especially if they are old. Most appliances have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years. Therefore, bringing these along won’t make financial sense if your unit was installed more than seven years ago. Same goes for wall-mounted TVs more than seven years old. Clarify on your home listing that, “All major appliances are included with the home.”
The same applies to outdated electronics. Most people hoard their old electronic devices because they don’t know how to get rid of them. As such, they stay in the garage or basement, collecting dust and harboring pests. Thrift shops and retailers may buy your old computers, phones, and televisions. An even easier option: InterConnection takes donated electronics and recycles or repurposes them.
4. Old Books, Magazines, and Paperwork
Piles of books, magazines, and paperwork lying around the cabinets take a lot of space and are extremely heavy when packed. You should donate or throw them away if you don’t need these materials again in the future. Learning institutions and libraries can appreciate slightly used books.
Similarly, if you have been keeping your bills and receipts, moving to a new house is the perfect opportunity to get rid of them. According to the IRS, you can discard tax returns and other important paperwork after seven years. However, you should discard them carefully. Shredding them is the best, most secure option. (Note: Simplify Experts takes all your documents to a very reliable and reputable commercial shredding service.)
5. Your Kids’ Toys
Most people still have their kids’ toys in storage or throughout the house, even if most of them have been outgrown or are unused. The best way to pack your children’s toys is actually not taking them. Donate still usable toys and throw out ones with broken pieces or missing items.
6. Non-essential Kitchenware
It is surprising how five coffee mugs always grow into 20 or more. The same applies to forks, plates, knives, bowls, cups, and more. Packing these items takes a lot of time and requires a lot of cautiousness. Therefore, if your kitchen cabinet is overflowing with these items, sell, donate, or get rid of them. Keep one good set of everything, and your new kitchen will feel more spacious and fresh.
7. Household Chemicals
Liquids are a nightmare waiting to happen when moving. Moving companies usually don’t allow their clients to load dangerous household chemicals into their moving trucks. Loading bleach, paint thinner, lawn treatments, and other chemicals into the truck invites a spill. Instead of exposing the moving team to toxic fumes or damaging your belongings, you should dispose of these chemicals according to EPA guidelines.
The Bottom Line
Packing is probably the most stressful and challenging task you will undertake before the actual move. While doing it, you may be surprised how you collected a lot of clutter in your home during your time there. Fortunately, you don’t have to take everything to your new home. Moving is the perfect time to declutter and organize while simultaneously lightening your load and saving money!
Guest contributor: Allied Van Lines