Declutter Before You Move

Everyone loves moving, right? Right? Well, not exactly.

Sure, buying a new home marks the start of an exciting new chapter in our lives, but the actual act of moving is generally met with trepidation. Carefully packing up all of your belongings, carting them from point A to B, and then undoing all of the work you just did in a brand new location? Let’s face it—it’s a lot of work. But this work doesn’t have to be a bad thing: moving actually presents an excellent opportunity to take stock of your belongings and decide what you want to bring with you into your new space and what you may want to leave behind.

There are many reasons we tend to hang on to stuff we no longer need. As we get real about getting rid of old clutter, we’re often faced with difficult decisions, but there are also some very real benefits.

Downsizing your belongings not only helps you create space in your physical life but can actually make you feel more confident and calm. It also allows you to fill your new space with intention, creating a space that appeals to who you are now instead of filling it with leftovers from another life. And finally? Decluttering makes your move smoother and more enjoyable by literally lightening your load.

So what are you waiting for? Here are some helpful tips and guidelines to get you started.

Make A Proper Plan
Set yourself up for success: create a decluttering plan well in advance of your move. This includes listing out items you will be getting rid of and deciding how you will get rid of them.

Start by categorizing your items, either by type (furniture, clothing, books, appliances, outdoor gear, etc.) or room (kitchen, living room, garage, bedroom). This prep work, though time-consuming, will give you a real sense of the size of the work ahead and provide a strong foundation for streamlining your things in the most efficient way possible.

Divide and Conquer
Take your categorized list of items and sort them into different groups to determine their fate. The most common groups are donating, selling, recycling, and trash.

Donating is a great way to make a meaningful difference in your community. Look up local organizations specializing in certain items, like women’s clothing at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre or clothing for homeless youth at Covenant House BC. Be mindful that many donation policies have changed due to COVID-19, so consult individual websites for the latest procedures. Giving your old items a new purpose will be rewarding beyond merely freeing up space in your own life.

Selling your old things can inspire a major turn to minimalism. It’s practically money for nothing! Well, maybe not “nothing,” but selling your old items can be a fun way to get rid of stuff. It can even encourage you to purge more than you otherwise would have.

Recycling and trashing unwanted items is a fairly straightforward process. If you have any specialized plastics or batteries, be sure to research recycling locations in your area. Once you’ve done your darndest to donate, sell, and recycle, though, you’ll just have to trash it

Minimalism 101
Once you’ve identified the items that are the obvious contenders for the sorting pile, it’s a good idea to go deeper with things like clothing and kitchen items.

One general rule of minimalism: consider when you last used or wore an item. If it’s been more than a year—like those dusty boots in the corner of the closet that are oh-so-cute but haven’t been worn in a few seasons—it’s time to let it go. You’ll resist, but this rule can help you get rid of things that are no longer serving a real purpose in your life.

The Joy of Kondo
Try applying the Marie Kondo method and ask yourself whether an item brings you joy. Hold the article in question and look within to see if it brings you happiness. If the answer is yes, keep it! If there’s any hesitation or a clear no, it’s time to say goodbye. This method is crucial for those really tough decisions.

The Storage Solution
If a few items have you really stumped, put them in a box for storage. Consider whether you would pay money to store that box and how much it would cost you to store it for a year. Are these items worth paying to keep? If you’re still unsure and you really can’t bear to part with them, ask a friend to store the items for a while and see if you really miss them in six months.

The steps you take to Home Edit your home or Kondo your condo before a big move are always worth it. Every appliance, memento, article of clothing, DVD, or piece of furniture that you can purge before relocating will lighten your load and (dare we say it?) bring you joy.

All Decluttered with Nowhere to Go?
If you’ve got minimalism handled and you’re ready for a change of scenery, talk to a Stilhavn REALTOR today. We’ll help you find the sanctuary you’re looking for.