Preparing for a Move: 6 Easy Things to Declutter as You Pack

Moving is a big project that can seem a bit overwhelming, but it's also a wonderful opportunity to sort through your stuff and get rid of the excess. As Good Housekeeping suggests, moving is the ultimate decluttering opportunity, which not only helps you organize your belongings but also makes moving a little cheaper. It may seem too stressful to add this to your endless list of moving to-dos, but here are six easy things to put in the donate or trash pile when moving:

Cleaners, Chemicals, and Liquids

The first thing to declutter is any liquid in a bottle: cleaners, chemicals, perfumes, lotions, cooking oils, etc.  Not only do most people have an excess storage of these items that they'll never use (even though you had the best of intentions to start being a perfume wearer!), but most moving companies will ask you not to pack them anyway, and may not even allow it. This is because it's easy for leakages to happen, causing damage to your other items and maybe even becoming toxic while in storage. So play it safe and get rid of the liquids. 


The second easy item to clear out is excess clothing. Once again, most everyone has excess clothing that is hard to get rid of for mostly sentimental reasons. But when you're moving and overwhelmed with all your possessions, it becomes a little easier to be honest about which clothes you really want to keep. An easy rule of thumb for whether a piece of clothing is worth keeping is whether you've worn it in the last two years (or even one year, if you want to be really strict). If so, keep it! If not, it's probably an outdated item that had a good run or a well-intentioned piece that just didn't end up being your style. In either case, if it's been two years, give it away. 


The third set of items to look at is your books. These carry the same trappings and rules as clothes: you've got an excess because of sentimental reasons and good intentions, but if you haven't touched a particular book in two years, it's time to part ways. It's a hard process, but keep reminding yourself that this is why libraries are wonderful—so you can read books without storing them yourself! 

Papers and Magazines

Stacks of papers and magazines will be your fourth set of items to dejunk. Magazines are an easy throwaway item. There's really no reason to be moving a magazine from one home to another, especially since you'll be able to find any memorable article online if you need it in the future. Papers are a little harder. If they're worthy of a place in your filing cabinet (e.g., letters, bills, legal documents, photos), file them away and keep them there for the move. If a paper is not file-cabinet worthy, like a drawing from your niece or an expired coupon you intended to use, it's probably best to to say goodbye. 

Pantry Items

Fifth up is your pantry. You know there's expired food in there, but you've never got around to cleaning it out. Well now is your chance. It may be tedious, but the last thing you want to do is pay to move expired food to a new home and repack it into a new pantry. Absolutely not. Clean it out. And while you're at it, get rid of the nonexpired stuff that you bought thinking you might use but just haven't. If you don't use it in your routine cooking, give it to a neighbor who does. 

Unfinished Projects

Last, but certainly not least, is getting rid of unfinished projects: the skirt you were going to make out of an old dress, the table you were going to refinish, the antique frames you were going to build. Pinterest tricks the best of us into thinking we're capable of more DIY projects than we are, but don't let it trick you into thinking that if you didn't find time to finish it in this home, you'll somehow find time to do it in your next. Load them into your donation box.  

Moving brings a lot of positive opportunities, and one of those is to declutter your items and, by extension, your life.  Start with these six easy areas, and you'll be surprised how it helps you declutter the rest. When you know how much you'll need to move, contact a local moving service like Walsh Moving & Storage to get help with the loading.