How to Decisively Declutter Before a Move

couple organizing before a move

Just the idea of moving can be stressful by itself. Additionally, the prospect of having to organize and pack your belongings in a hurry can send that anxiety through the roof. After all, even if some folks “work better under pressure,” no one likes to feel rushed.

To sidestep that stress, the best thing to do is declutter well in advance of your move. Decluttering helps you keep track of your belongings as well as eliminate things that should not be moving with you. The process is a lot easier than you might think. Use the tips below to tackle the task with confidence!


1. Give yourself a moment before you begin.

Sip some coffee, have a cup of tea, meditate, take a short walk… Do whatever you need to help clear your mind so that you can feel refreshed and energized before you jump into decluttering.

2. Get in the mindset.

Decluttering can be therapeutic. Now is the time to get rid of items you simply do not use or that do not conjure positive associations. Without an excess of belongings, it will be easier to see and appreciate the things you do have, and it will also be easier to clean and navigate your home.

3. Create piles for categorizing items.

For this part, you might want to lay down old blankets or sheets for each pile to stay organized. Make a pile for each of the following categories:

  • Trash. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Keep garbage bags by this pile so that it’s easy to take these items out to your trash or recycling bins. Broken electronics should also go in this pile--just make sure to dispose of them responsibly.

  • Donate. Make note of every item you put here for tax deduction purposes.

  • Sell. Take a photo of each item you put here right away if you plan to sell it online.

  • Display. These are for items you want to keep but that you won’t be packing until right before your move. These items will be useful when staging your home for buyers.

  • Pack. You should feel confident about packing these items right away. Just make sure you don’t pack all of your clothes or daily necessities!

4. Sort items by category, rather than by room.

This will help you declutter more quickly and effectively. Keep in mind that some item categories will take longer than others. For instance, sorting all of the papers, books, and magazines in your home may be a project that takes all day.

Here are some common categories found in homes:

  • Food storage containers

  • Linens

  • Food and spices in the pantry

  • Old electronics

  • Mugs, cups, and dishware

  • Sports and fitness equipment

  • Shoes

  • Toiletries

5. Keep a practical frame of mind.

If you’re having trouble deciding whether to keep or give up an item, think of it this way:

  • Is it worth the time and cost to pack it?

  • Is it worth the cost to move it?

  • Is it worth the time to unpack it?

  • Is this an item that I want to place in my new, “blank slate” home, or will this just be more “stuff” that I’ll have to sort through again at some point?

If you find that you tend to overthink questions like these, enlist the help of a friend or family member! They can help you get out of the weeds and back on track to decluttering for your move.

For assistance with your move, you can count on True Friends Moving Company: (615) 240-2811.