How to Declutter Before a Move

Moving house is one of the most exciting and also stressful experiences you can go through. No one wants to deal with the endless paperwork and packing, but moving is a part of life! In this post, I hope to make life just a little easier for you and give you some tips on how to declutter before a move.

With the moving day fast approaching, it’s natural to look around your home and wonder how you’re going to move everything! How long it’s going to take to pack, move and then unpack absolutely everything in your home!

Why You Need to Declutter Before a Move

You might be wondering why you need to declutter before you move house. Especially if you home is already pretty neat and organized. Well, even the neatest home still has some clutter hot spots, just might be better hidden!

I worked for many years as a Professional Organizer and I’d like to think that my home is tidy and well organized. Four years ago we moved house and I didn’t bother decluttering before the move. We were moving from a relatively small home into a much bigger one. I just didn’t see the point!

I actually had to work on our moving day, so my hubby and some friends did all the loading and unloading without me (I’m a genius, I know!). We were just moving across town, so we rented a large U-Haul truck and thought it would just take one trip. It took three trips…!

Declutter before a move - packing boxes to get ready to move house.

Once I started unpacking things, I realized that I didn’t need a lot of the stuff that I had so carefully packed and moved! Did I really need a set of birthday plates, napkins etc. that said ‘Happy 4th Birthday’, when all my kids were over 5 years old? Nope!

Three carloads of stuff for donation and many, many, many trash bags later, I realized that we had totally wasted time and energy by moving so much junk we didn’t need anymore!

Calculate the Cost

Now, we only wasted time and energy, but imagine if you are paying for movers? Or paying to store your stuff until your new home is ready? There is an actual financial COST associated with your junk!

Even if you are moving yourself (like we did), maybe you will have to pay for a larger rental truck? Or buy more boxes (those suckers get expensive!)? Or owe your friends more beer into return for their help?

Yep, it doesn’t matter how you are moving or how far, there is a cost associated with moving. So don’t move your junk!

Where to Start With Decluttering Before a Move

So now you know WHY you need to declutter before moving house, but HOW do you do it? You have so much else going on, you really don’t have the time, energy, or brain space and deal with anything else.

These steps below will make it simple to know where to get started with decluttering and getting ready for your new home.

Start Early

Declutter when moving house - tidy kitchen and living room.

My first piece of advice is to start early! Give yourself as much time as humanly possible to go through everything.

You might not have much notice. Maybe you just have a month? Or even a few weeks until your move? If that is the case, then start now! (Well, not right now, you can finished reading this post first!)

The earlier you start, the easier it will be. If you wait until a week before your move to start decluttering, then you are going to be extremely stressed. And a stressed mind can’t make the right decisions, so you’ll either keep more than you should, or trash more than you should.

Give Yourself a Deadline

Before you start planning how you are going to decluttering your home before your move, you need to set yourself some deadlines.

It kind of goes along, with ‘starting early’, so you don’t end up having to do all your decluttering in the last few days before your move. No-one needs that kind of stress in their life!

You want to set yourself a deadline to have all your sorting done. I recommend that it’s at least one week before your moving day, so you’re not trying to juggle too much at once.

Be realistic and give yourself as much time as possible to declutter, but also don’t cut it too close to the wire.

Make a Plan

I love making plans. They help you feel more in control and keep you on track to meeting your goals. Your goal, in this case, is to declutter every room in your home before moving day!

Now that you’ve set your deadline for when you want to be finished with decluttering, you can start making a plan. You want to break down the time between now and figure out how much you need to get done every week/day.

For example, if you know you’re moving in five weeks’ time, then you know you need to declutter your home in four weeks. Maybe that means you need to declutter two rooms a week.

That might sound like a lot to get done, but if you stay focus and use your time wisely, then it’s totally doable. That’s why having a plan is so important!

Know Your Options

Donation box for moving house

This might sounds silly, but you need to know your options when it comes to getting rid of things.

Of course, the most obvious are the tried and tested method of keep-toss-donate. Where you sort things into piles that you want to keep, things to throw out (or recycle) and items for donation.

But there are a few other options too depending on how much time you have an how much you need to get rid of.

  • Sell the items online – use a website like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. There are also dozens of other sites and apps you can use to sell your stuff, like eBay, PoshMark (for clothes), OfferUp, or Letgo. Depending on where you live, some of these sites might be more active than others.
  • Have a garage sale – This is a great option if you have a lot of things you want to get rid of. All you need is a free weekend and the patience to sit around for people to stop by! Be sure to list your garage sale on local social media and put up a few signs around your neighborhood.
  • Hire an Estate Sale company – Estate sales aren’t just for when someone passes away, they are also a great way to sell a lot of stuff in a short space of time. You will want to search on Google to find an estate sale company in your area and then talk to them about what they offer. Typically they will take 30-40% of the money from the sale, but they also do all the work for you!

Start Small

It can be overwhelming when you realize you need to declutter your entire home! That’s a lot of stuff to go through!

My advice (with any decluttering) is to start small. You can check out some of my decluttering tips for when you are feeling completely overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

If tackling an entire room is too much to start with, then just pick one area to get yourself started. Once you get into a groove, it will be much easier to keep going!

Plan Your New Space

Having to deal decluttering before a move on top of all the other moving stress, can make it a less-than-enjoyable task. If you are finding yourself getting unmotivated, then start planning your new space!

Think about the rooms, their sizes, and where you will put everything. Close your eyes and imagine walking through your new home. Picture where you will put your furniture, your pictures, the color you will paint the walls…!

Sending some time planning your new home will help you get more excited about the move and therefore more excited about decluttering!

Ask For Help (from friends)

If you are seriously running out of time, or just feel too overwhelmed to tackle it on your own, then why not ask for a little help from your friends?

Having someone to help you sort through things, make decisions and haul trash outside, will make the task much easier and quicker!

If they are the same friends that will be helping you on moving day, then you can explain that it’s in their best interest to help you declutter, as that will mean less junk to move!

What Are Your Waiting For?

I hope these tips for decluttering before your move will help you get a bit more organized and avoid a little bit of stress!

So what are you waiting for? Go set yourself a deadline, make a plan and start sorting!