No matter how you look at it, moving can be stressful, even when you are excited to move into a new home. But you can make it easier on yourself by paring down and organizing your household before the moving begins. Here are eight tips to help you pare down before you pack up:
1. Prepare early. There’s no timetable for when to start paring down, but the sooner you start, the better. You can even begin as soon as you make the decision to buy a new home. Just be sure not to get rid of anything you might need prior to the move.
2. Create a home purging plan. To make sure you stay on task, and save time for proper packing, create a home purging plan. For example, set a goal of spending 30 minutes to purge your pantry, 30 minutes to purge closets except walk-ins, 1 to 2 hours to purge large rooms, walk-in closets, garages and sheds.
3. Declutter room by room. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in your current place; you’ve got stuff you won’t be taking to your new home. Go through your home room by room to decide what will go with you. This includes everything from your furniture and furnishings (lamps, curtains, pillows, rugs, etc.) to appliances and personal items (jewelry, clothes, sports equipment, etc.)
4. Pack, donate or toss. Pack items you want to move but don’t need right now. Donate usable items to local nonprofits, or give them away to friends, family or community members who can use them. Toss those that can’t be reused or recycled.
5. Comb through your closets. It is amazing how much stuff we accumulate and store in our home’s closets! Go through clothes, accessories, outerwear, shoes, umbrellas, toys, etc. to see what fits and works and what doesn’t. Also, consider getting rid of anything you haven’t used or worn in the last year. Bonus tip: Don’t forget to check the pockets of coats and clothes! You never know what hidden treasures you might find.
6. Go through your shed and garage. Sheds and garages are necessary for storage, but they can easily become the structures where old tools, paint cans and holiday decorations go to die. Make time to go through each to ensure you are only moving items you need or will use again. Follow the pack, donate or toss rule above. Check your community library to see if they have a tool library where your old tools can be borrowed and returned. Be sure to dispose of hazardous materials like paint, aerosol cans and gasoline properly. Check your county’s website for recycling and disposal options.
7. Remember the kitchen! The kitchen is sometimes the last room to be packed up because, presumably, someone is cooking and eating up until the very last day. Organize this room early on. You might be surprised what you can get rid of: lidless storage containers; smaller appliances (blender, crock pot, fondue set, etc.) missing parts or cords; expired food in the pantry, fridge and freezer; duplicate utensils; and anything you haven’t used in a year.
8. Don’t buy anything new. This may seem obvious, but it is very tempting to buy a lamp, rug, painting or coffee maker that will look great in your home! But if you buy that item, you will have to pack it and move it. Waiting not only prevents impulse purchases and saves money, but it also eliminates work later.
Paring down and purging before your move takes time and motivation, but it will be well worth it. You won’t be packing and moving things you don’t want or need, so you can focus on the excitement of moving into your new home!