How to Declutter Your Home Before Moving

How to Declutter Your Home Before Moving

January 5, 2018

Moving out can be a stressful experience, so for this reason, it is vitally important you declutter your home before moving. The most important tool you can access to help get you through the move unscathed is time, so allow plenty of time to declutter your home and get yourself organised.

Even if you plan on paying a moving team to help you with the heavy lifting, it’s still going to save stress and money to get started on your move as soon as you know it’s happening.
Remember, decluttering your old home will not just help you move out, it will also help you move into your new home, faster and easier.

Putting off your packing up until the last moment is what makes the moving experience so stressful. If you give yourself as much time as possible (let’s say four to six months) you can actually have a lot of fun and feel really great about decluttering your home and life.

Starting your declutter and packing plans early will save money too, as you will be less likely to buy new household items, especially ones you don’t need.


It’s really important that you have a room-by-room cleaning plan. If you attempt to clean the whole house at once, you will be distracted, disoriented, and won’t see much difference. Cleaning little bits here and there all over the house will probably leave you feeling like you are more disorganised than when you started.

Mentally it’s a let down because you feel like you have been working hard and been busy, but nothing looks any different. In terms of the clean up, you might have undone some good work by creating confusing piles of what has to go, what is staying and what hasn’t been looked over yet.

Choose a room, allocate an amount of time and start and finish date and keep going until every part of that room is done.

This way you know for sure what has been looked over and you won’t be double handling.
Use some empty moving boxes to help you sort your piles. A tried and true method is:

• Keep
• Donate
• Sell
• Throw Out

If you put your rubbish into bags you can just throw them out as you go.

Every time you complete a room you will have a genuine feeling of accomplishment and be a solid step further towards your move.

All hands on deck
If you live alone it’s all on you, however, that’s not the case for a family situation. Everyone needs to get cracking as soon as possible. Schedule a time period and let everyone know that this is clean up time. Put on some music (it helps drown out distracting thoughts) and have everyone get to work. If you have kids, get them to put aside their favourite 20 toys. The rest can be boxed (or even donated).

Remove mindfully
If you are looking to sell some items start moving on them as soon as possible, it’s hard to monitor sale items at the last minute. Get them online as early as possible so you don’t have to worry about running online auctions, meeting people to pick up goods and going to the post office in the last weeks or days of your move!

If you are donating clothes and furniture make sure it is in suitable condition. Check with your favourite charity to see what their requirements are (they may even pick it up for you). Charities get loaded up with garbage and unsellable materials resulting in thousands of dollars wasted on rubbish removal fees. Make sure your donations will be helping, not hindering a cause.

Ask your council about hard rubbish removal policies. Council will usually remove a limited amount of hard waste if you give them adequate notice (again, inform them as soon as you can and arrange for pick up, you don’t want to be slapped with a council littering fine for leaving it on the curb.) That said, if your goods are in fair condition and you leave them on the curb for council expect many of the items to be picked up by curious neighbours and passers-by.

Council will also recycle and redistribute good quality items. You can help by attaching remotes to devices and signs that let people know they are in good working order.

While you might immediately think of big donation points, run by well-known organisations, it’s worth doing some research to see what else is available in your community. An online search or chats with work colleagues and friends can reveal some amazing organisations that can often go unnoticed. Consider women’s refuge centres, international refugee communities and halfway houses.

Plan your new home
Map out or make a list of the rooms in your new home.
How do you picture each room, where will your items belong?
Write out a detailed plan.

This is a great motivational activity because it gets you geared up and focused on how your new life will look, rather than the sometimes overwhelming mess in front of you. Having something positive to think about as you work will really help keep your spirits up and your cupboards emptying.

Thinking about the practical use for each item also helps you decide which items are ready to be donated to a new home.

Knowing what room you want each item to go into is also a great way to save time and efficiently pack (and unpack) your moving boxes.

Box your ‘Keep’ items according to which room they will be going to. That way, each box can be delivered to the right room when you arrive, and you can unpack rooms according to priority.

Trim your wardrobe
It might be tempting to take all your clothes with you, but be honest, how much of it do you actually wear? Now is the perfect time to decide what clothes you love, and which ones get in the way. If you don’t wear it, there is no need to keep it, chances are you are not going to wear it in the near future if you haven’t worn it in the past year.

Having a slim wardrobe does wonders for de-stressing your mind, you will be able to see and use the clothes you like more easily, know without doubt that everything in that wardrobe fits you and looks good on and it gives you less choice in the morning getting ready, which means less stress, more efficiency and more energy to spend on the things that count.

Who says moving has to be a nightmare? When you declutter your home it is a rewarding and refreshing experience. Get started early and have fun. Track your progress on a wall calendar or stick a plan on the wall and get moving!

Peta Stewart – Certified Practicing Conveyancer


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