Moving to a new house is the ideal time to declutter: there’s no better time than packing up your home and its possessions to decide what you should keep, what you should donate and what you should dump.
Of course, we know that this is often easier said than done. That’s why we’ve put together a few easy ways to help you declutter and decide what’s worth taking and what’s worth letting go. Plus, moving is a lot easier (and can be cheaper) if you have less to load into your moving truck.
START PACKING EARLY
We can probably all agree that the hardest part of moving is often just getting started… Yet, procrastinating and leaving it to the last minute only makes moving even more stressful, chaotic and usually results in packing items that really shouldn’t go with to your new home.
Instead of leaving packing for the day before your move, start three to four weeks prior and break the packing down to 20 minutes a night: start in one room or section that holds items that are not in use every day, and slowly work your way through your home to the more day-to-day items.
While packing up, create a few of boxes label ‘Donate or Dump’ and, then, ask yourself the following questions as you sort through your items:
- WHERE WILL THIS GO IN MY NEW HOME?
When packing up your items, think about your new home and where the items will go: how will they fit in and what purpose will they serve? If you’re struggling for an answer to these questions, then you most likely need to consider placing them in the ‘Donate or Dump’ box for later sorting (see further below)
Items that you can very clearly see a place and purpose for in your new home can be packed neatly in labelled boxes. Remember: clearly marking boxes with the items inside will make unpacking so much easier, faster and more organised.
- DO I USE IT?
So, you have a few items that will fit into your new home but ask yourself, if you’ll really use it? If you’re even a little hesitant in answering the question, it probably needs to go in the ‘’Donate or Dump’ box for later sorting.
Consider the items in the following way:
Daily use: items such as coffee pots, dishes and clothing – if they haven’t been used over the past six months, it’s time to get rid of them.
Weekly/Monthly use: items such the pressure cooker or that ‘old school’ blender – if you haven’t used it in six months to a year, it’s time to part ways with it.
Annual use: these include holiday décor, picnic items, heaters, fans and so on – if you’ve not used it in the last year or two, put it in the ‘Donate or Dump’ box.
- DOES IT HOLD A SPECIAL MEANING?
Before you toss out anything that you’ve not recently used, ask yourself how special the item is: Was it from a loved one? Does it conjure up warm memories? Is it worth a significant value? If you answer yes to any of these – even if you’ve not used it for years and might not soon either – consider keeping it or storing it away in a safe place.
Items with no significant meaning or value can go into the ‘Donate or Dump’ box.
- WILL I MISS IT?
It’s only natural to be left with a few items that you’re still in two minds about… For those, simply ask yourself: if I didn’t bring things into my new home, would I miss it? If you can honestly answer no about this item, then consider putting it the ‘Donate or Dump’ box – someone else might be able to make more use of it than you.
So often we deem items significant or that hold an emotional attachment to us, until we actually ask ourselves if it truly holds no significance to you. We can almost guarantee that you’ll feel lighter and brighter by not bringing unnecessary items into your new home.
SORT OUT THE ‘DONATE OR DUMP’ PILE
Now that you have the items that you’re definitely taking sorted, it’s time to work through the ‘Donate or Dump’ pile.
Start by creating two piles: one to donate and one to dump. Items that are still in good working condition, should go into the donate pile. Items that are old, expired, broken, tattered or dirty should go into the dump pile to be thrown away. If you’re unsure of where an item should go, ask yourself: ‘Would I be proud to use this?’ If not, then it needs to be dumped.
From here, search for a few charities in your area that could make use of the donation – you’ll be surprised at how many of organisations would be able to put your old items to good use.
Any broken, out-dated, damaged items, should go into the dump pile to either go to the bin or to be taken to an authorised dumping site.
FOLLOW THE ONE-YEAR RULE
Once you’re in your new and fully decluttered home, keep the one-year-rule alive: anything that you’ve not used or worn in the last year, should either be dumped or donated as above.
You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to pack the next time you move, if you regularly do your sorting.