Declutter Before You Move

Whether moving out of a rental or putting your house on the market, decluttering is the key to a stress-free move.

Declutter Before You Move

Moving from one place to another is an exciting and busy time, but all too often, the excitement can be overshadowed by anxiety. Limit your stress by following our tips on decluttering your home. Once you have reviewed this entire list, you can sleep more soundly, knowing that you will have an easier time when moving day arrives.

Start early.

Do you think you might list your home in the upcoming months? Are you searching for a new place to buy? If so, it’s time to start now. Do not wait to begin the decluttering process. The more time you have, the more enjoyable it will be. (Yes, we did say enjoyable.)

Make a plan. Figure out what rooms need decluttering—it’s usually all of them—and list them from least time-consuming to most time-consuming. This is generally less daunting overall because you will have several rooms finished before you need to tackle the more time-intensive locations.

Block out time on your calendar to do the work. Spread out your decluttering, so you don’t get overwhelmed by cramming it all in at once. Ideally, you will want to start this process at least 4 weeks before you plan to move or list your home if you’re selling it. However, the more time you have, the better!

Use the three-box system.

Cleaning and organizing professionals all over the country use the three-box system. When you go through each room, you will have three different boxes for items you will keep, donate and discard.

Keep. These are all the items going with you when you move. If it’s going with you, and you can live without it for the next 1-3 months, put it in a box. Make sure to label that box with what’s inside, so it’s easier to find when you move and unpack.

Donate. These are things that you no longer need or want, but can donate for someone else to use. You may be wondering, how do I decide if I should donate it? We recommend donating if:

  • You forgot you had it, and it provides no sentimental value.
  • It is in good condition, but you don’t want it.
  • You have not used or worn it for several years.

Discard. These are items that you do not want to keep but are not in good enough condition to donate. We always tell people to have two discard boxes—one for recycling and one for trash.

Declutter like a pro.

Once you have your system ready, it’s time to get started! Go through every room as scheduled and look at every single object in the house. From post-it notes to furniture, assign it to one of your three boxes. Immediately box up the items you will keep that you don’t need for a while and move them into closets or storage areas. The more free your home is from your stuff, the easier it will be to move. Plus, if you are listing it, the more a potential buyer can envision themselves living there.

Benefits of decluttering:

  • It makes moving easier because a lot of your stuff is already sorted and packed.
  • It brings peace of mind. Studies show that having fewer items around is better for your mental health, improves your sleep and boosts productivity.
  • It gives you more space in your new home.
  • You will discover lost treasures and can reminisce about life moments.
  • If you are selling your home, it’s easier to keep it clean for showings, and you usually get better offers overall.

This blog post is part of our Members on the Move series. Watch for more blog posts in this series to help you with your moving process. 

Download our list of decluttering tips to help guide you as you declutter your home. 

If you are looking to move, you are most likely looking to buy. Before you go house hunting, make sure you’re pre-approved for a mortgage. Our Members 1st Mortgage team is here to walk you through every step of your home buying process. Whether you schedule an in-person appointment or want to get started with an online application, we are more than happy to help!

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