Decluttering and Moving

A reader writes, “I am moving and I need advice on how to purge and move only what we need. We have lived in our house for over 20 years.”

Many people in my classes have been saying this too. They will be retiring shortly and want to be more mobile and/or closer to the kids.

But, the whole process can seem overwhelming. 20 years is a long time to accumulate stuff if you haven’t been regularly decluttering.

I would begin the process by picture the next part of life. What do you want from it? What kinds of things do you want to do? What is important to you? Do you want to pick up at a moment’s notice or entertain a lot or spend long parts of the day gardening? Will you be babysitting, having sleepovers with the grandkids, working from home?

Once you are more clear on the next stage, you can see if your possessions will help or hinder your vision.

Keep boxes or bags available for things going to charity. Many charities will come pick your items up.

Most electronics and cell phones can be sold online to be refurbished. Amazon, Nextworth, Best Buy, Gazelle.

If you feel guilt over wanting to get rid of something, but don’t think you should – it’s a pretty good guess that it can go. This is not the time to hold onto things from guilt.

You can get rid of some guilt quickly, by returning stuff you have borrowed from people.

Items “just in case” like extras and items you haven’t used but might one day, are good items to give away so you have more room.

This is a great time to let go of projects never completed because you lost interest. It’s a brand new start.

Release those hobbies you used to do, but don’t anymore. Only take with you, the hobbies you love.

If you start with your storage area, you can pack as you declutter. Put like items together, declutter what you don’t need or want and then label the box with the contents and room they will go in.

Next will be out of season clothes, gear, decorations, hobbies.

Piles of paper are great to go through towards the beginning. Most of us have paper we will never look at again. Go through 5 files or 1 pile a day during TV watching or waiting time. Then move onto magazines. You have permission to not even look at them before you recycle. If you really need the information, you will probably look online before going through the magazines.

Photos can be boxed up and stored out of the heat. Duplicates can be sent to other people. Bad pictures can be tossed.

Now you start in specific rooms, beginning at the porch or entryway. Declutter/pack/label, declutter/pack/label. Go through each cupboard, drawer, closet in the room. But, don’t hop all over the place or you won’t remember what you’ve already gone through. Plus, you won’t notice your progress.

If you find broken items, set a fix-it day to take care of them. Don’t move them when they are broken.

What are your best decluttering and moving tips?