Monday, July 13, 2015

Moving Tips: How to Declutter Before a Move

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Between the two of us, Kenny and I have moved more than 15 times in the past 6 years. As a result, we've developed some decent de-cluttering skills.

When I first drafted this post, I was determined to share some no-nonsense steps to getting rid of unused junk. I created a flowchart, and I made a list of more than 50 questions to guide the process. But after de-cluttering my own home for our recent move, I was reminded that de-cluttering is all about judgment calls. Just because I haven't used my electric hand mixer in the past six months doesn't mean I want to get rid of it. And just because I wore that shirt last week doesn't mean I want to keep it. Only you know best.

Instead, I've drafted a list of four guiding questions that we used to make the tough decisions about what to keep, what to donate, and what to toss away. Happy de-cluttering!

4 Simple Questions to Help You De-clutter Your Home

1. Is it expired or broken?  If yes, throw away. If the item is broken, give yourself a week to fix it. If you haven't fixed it by then, throw it away or donate it to someone who will  fix it.

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2. Have you used this in the past year? If not, donate or sell. If you choose to sell, give yourself two weeks. If you haven't listed or sold the item in two weeks, donate it instead.

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3. Do you have more than one? Do you need more than one? When Kenny and I moved a few weeks ago, this was a question we had to ask ourselves a lot. We were blessed to receive many wedding gifts last fall, but we also received a few duplicates. For example, we currently own five slotted spoons. Had we used all of these in the past 7 months? Yes. Could we easily live with just one slotted spoon for the next two years? Also yes. Instead of moving all five with us to the new place, we stored all but one of the spoons, though we could have easily donated them too.

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4. Does owning this make you happy? When it really comes down to it, this is the question that matters the most. I have a huge box of keepsakes that used to live in the back of our den. It's filled with things that I haven't used in years and will probably never use again, but that doesn't mean I want to throw them away. That movie ticket from the first show Kenny and I saw together? I want that! Instead of questioning the usefulness of all of these items, I instead considered the joy they bring me. The syllabus from my college Calculus class does not make me happy, but notes from my former Res Life staff definitely do.

This gourd makes me very happy. 

What questions, tips, or tricks have you used in your own moves over the years?


  1. I'm going to be moving to a new apartment in late August and so this was really helpful. I liked what you said about asking yourself when you last used the item and how it's ultimately a judgement call.

    1. I'm so glad! I'm hoping to pull together the things I've learned into a series of moving posts over the next few weeks - if only for my own reference! I'd love to hear how your own move goes (and see pics of your new apartment!).

  2. Great post! These are the right questions for me to start decluttering. I'm moving in January and getting rid of most of my stuff is essential, because I'll be living in a very small apartment and I really don't need all that stuff. Thank you for the nice tips. Greets!

  3. The questions I usually ask myself:
    - Do I really need this? like.. seriously.
    - Does it bring me joy?
    That's pretty much it. Never bring junk to a new place.
    Some other tips I found in this post.


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