How to declutter your home before the big move

Accumulating items and steadily increasing the volume of household goods and personal effects you own is inevitable – this is likely to be the case if you have lived in your home for a couple of years, but it's especially the case if you have resided in your home for five or ten years or more.

This does not necessarily mean everyone who lives with a few possessions and comforts is a potential chronic hoarder, far from it. Our personal possessions often reflect our passions and define who we are, and where we have been.

However, the important thing to note is moving provides a perfect opportunity to reflect, refocus and in most cases de-clutter.

How to declutter your home

Moving, particularly international moving, can be an expensive business and since, in most cases, the volume of your belongings has a major bearing on the overall cost of your move, then reducing the number of items you want to include in the move has a clear financial benefit.

Understanding International Moving terminology

  • Certain items were not designed to serve for a long time. If they have served their purpose, they can be discarded/removed.
  • A weight off your shoulders / less admin, fewer items to list, prepare, pre-pack, insure.
  • Giving stuff to neighbours or friends or donating to charity.
  • Making some money – sell items online or organize a garage sale.

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How to break down the de-cluttering task

Whether you decide to recycle donate or sell items it is important to get organized as early as possible, ideally a few weeks before the movers due to arrive.

Step A

Deal with one room at a time, ideally prioritizing the most densely filled rooms.

Step B

Sort out the big items first, (electric appliances, furniture, anything bulky), then move on to the smaller items (clothes, contents, books, pictures, ornaments, bathrooms, etc).

Step C

Form a simple categorizing method in order to accelerate the sorting process. An example would be 4 clearly defined, groups

  1. Must Go – Indispensible items you simply do not want to part with. This stuff is a no-brainer.
  2. Valuables – Some items have a monetary value but also are highly sentimental; a family heirloom, antique or your child’s first pair of shoes for example. It is unlikely you will want to part with items such as this, so categorise them and move on.
  3. Unwanted – This is the category you need to prioritise and action. These are the items you will want to sell or donate. Examples could be
  • Duplicate items – Do you really need that third computer screen or second microwave oven?
  • Outgrown items – Clothes, shoes, toys, bicycles, etc.
  • Neglected items – When did you last use that treadmill? Are you really making use of all that sports equipment?
  • Collector’s items – Perhaps it is time to cash in on that huge comic book collection.
  • Unused gifts – The dinner service set you hate, and that bowling ball, (you don’t even like bowling!).
  • Useless – Broken or worn items, which are damaged beyond repair. Items such as this probably cannot be sold or even donated and so should be disposed of and if possible recycled.

Well done! You have made some brave decisions and have taken a major step towards reducing your volume as part of a well-planned move to your new destination.

NEXT – How to dispose of your unwanted/unneeded personal effects and household goods