How And What To Declutter Before Moving To A New Place

How And What To Declutter Before Moving To A New Place
Decluttering is the first step in every moving checklist! When you declutter before moving, you'll have less stuff to pack up, transport, unload and put away. Here is a guide to know different things you can declutter while packing for your next move and how to save time and money.

One of the best ways to make sure your move is stress-free and less-expensive is to declutter your household. Decluttering is also an effective way to honor the memories you made in your current home before moving out to start a new chapter. Even if you think you don’t have much clutter in your home, you probably have a few things lying around that you could let go of. No wonder, decluttering is always part of most practical moving checklist.

Taking a closer look at your home will reveal more to you. There is no shame in finding out that you have unnecessary clutter in your home featuring broken, excess, and expired items.

It is until your moving time that you will realize how much belongings you have. Suddenly, you have excess items that you didn’t know you had or have accessed before. It is as if your household goods multiplied when you weren’t paying attention.

If you are not certain of what to let go of, consider our room-by-room checklist here. We will also provide you a few tips for starting with decluttering right after the checklists.

Why Should You Declutter?

Fortunately, if you are getting ready for a move, the best time to declutter is now. Even though it can seem difficult to decide on what to move to your new home and what to declutter, you will be happy you did when you are set to unpack moving boxes.

In general, there are several advantages to owning fewer belongings; you just have to get it right during decluttering.

Here is just a little thing you can expect immediately you’ve decluttered and started the moving process:

  • Save money: Your size of move will possibly be reduced after you declutter, which cuts your moving cost through the needed supplies, equipment, as well as time on the clock. It is possible that you even make money as you sell those stuff.
  • Clean less: You will also want to enjoy your new home as soon as it can be. Moving lesser dusty knickknacks and household belongings means that you can spend more time going around your new area and home and spend less time cleaning those items that consume much space.
  • Feel organized: When you begin to declutter, you may come across things you couldn’t find for a long time. Knowing exactly where your belongings are located as you get ready to move your belongings into your new home will help settle in faster and easier.
  • Gain freedom: Whether you are relocating across town or to a new state, clutter can delay you, emotionally and physically. Also with reducing the logistics of your relocation, you will possibly discover that releasing items you thought you couldn’t let go of is so much liberating.
  • Start new: Unpacking lesser stuff makes it so much easy to decorate. You can begin to visualize a lot of functional furniture positioning and imagine each room via a fresh lens.

How Do I Declutter Before Moving?

To get decluttering your home before moving right, there are some essential steps to follow to get a good result. Make use of these tips to declutter your home:

1. Plan At Least 2 Weeks In Advance

Do not wait until the day of your move before you choose what items to pack and the ones you are keeping. Create enough time. Else, you may be forced to make un-thoughtful decisions: dispose of too much because you don’t want to face packing or pack everything in boxes because you don’t have enough time to think it through.

Create a few hours every day and set great goals on the amount of decluttering you want to handle every day. Also, it is always nice to measure your new place so you can figure what and where your existing furniture will perfectly fit.

2. Create Four Piles: Keep, Sell, Donate, And Dispose of

Ensure that you have enough trash bags, boxes, or bins on hand before you begin to look into your clutter and making piles. You also will want to label each pile clearly or separated. Make sure you remove the trash quickly after the decluttering phase. How do you use the 4 piles?

  • Keep: For this section, begin with an item you may plan to fix or modify in some way, and ask yourself some questions: ‘when last did I used this item?’ and do I want to pack it up, relocate it and unpack in my new household? How much will I pay for it in time and money to repair the item? How frequently will I use it if I repair it?

Usually, we tend to overestimate the practical value of an item, when in an actual sense, a broken light fixture or wall clock is out of date and would not be worth the cost and stress to repair it.

  • Sell: If you lack the time or resources to handle the advertising and selling process of your belongings, get rid of this pile also. Hosting a yard or garage sale, selling stuff online, and/or moving them to resale shops can take a lot of time, and can distract you in the middle of a move. However, if you plan to sell some of your goods via an online marketplace, ensure you have your camera with you to take clear pictures of each item.

If you are moving your stuff to a resale or consignment, ensure you know the stores you will haul them to in advance. For example, there are resale shops that only accept clothes against consignment stores that take different furniture and household items. Remember too, some shops like these ask for appointments or restrict how much you can move there per day.

Together with local resale and consignment stores below is a list that might be helpful when it comes to selling your belongings:

  • Clothing resale websites
  • Classified ads websites
  • Social media websites
  • Your local online marketplaces
  • Ecommerce websites
  • Donate: This is the best pile. If you think there is someone who could derive enjoyment from an item, and you won’t miss the item, you can now let it go. Just ensure it is still in good shape. Broken belongings or stained clothing should not be included.

Below are some great items that are worthy of donating:

  • decor,
  • furniture,
  • books,
  • toys and games,
  • kitchenware/appliances,
  • linens,
  • sporting goods, and
  • books
  • Trash: Items in this section represent the leftovers from the above. Items that are damaged beyond repair or things that cannot be reused should be forwarded to the trash.

3. Approach Room By Room

Select rooms that you feel has the least clutter in your home and approach it one after the other without forgetting your piles. Also, ensure your hand is in anything you plan to use to separate each stack and a proper labeling system implemented.

Start with the heaviest stuff in each room: dressers, sofas, tables, beds, entertainment, systems, and so on. If you are unable to move your furniture by yourself to your donate, sell, or trash pile, a sticky note can help identify where it will go at a future date. As you make decision, you should leave each furniture item, remembering the layout of your new home. Then, divide the room into categories: cabinets, surface areas, closets, drawers, floor areas, and so. 

Now, how do you declutter room-by-room? 

Living Room & Family Room

Living rooms and family rooms are shared locations that gather items from every member of your household. Usually, these rooms are one and similar, so, we are addressing them together in this checklist. Check these spaces and inspect every outdated, broken, or items that you just don’t want anymore.

Decluttering your living room and family room in advance of a move will not just simplify your move; it will also improve the sense of control in these active spaces in the weeks leading to your moving day.

Some of the items to look into in your living room are:

  • Books
  • DVDs, VHS tapes, CDs, and cassettes (old media)
  • DVD and VHS players
  • Game consoles, gear, and additional controllers
  • Kids’ toys
  • Magazines
  • Pet toys and bedding
  • Old or torn couches & upholstered furniture
  • Wobbly or damaged chairs
  • Outdated artwork
  • Broken or chipped picture frames
  • Duplicate, broken, and/or outgrown toys
  • Occasionally used pianos and other musical instruments
  • Old, stained, or dated area rugs
  • Knick-knacks   


You will want to dispose of any broken, excess, mismatched, or unused items. These include:

  • Water bottles and coffee tumblers
  • Expired food
  • Kitchen tools & utensils
  • Sauce packets
  • Cookware
  • Plastic containers and lids
  • Small appliances
  • Old cookbooks


This is the best time and place to sort your wardrobe bit by bit and ask yourself. ‘Have I used this in the past six months, or am I waiting to use it someday?’ If your answer is to use it in the future, you need to release the item today. Keep only the stuff you love to use.  


  • Old clothing, accessories, and shoes
  • Clothing, accessories, and shoes you have never-worn
  • Additional winter coats and off-season gear
  • Broken and/or out of style jewelry
  • Outgrown children’s clothing
  • Books and magazines
  • Mismatched, outdated, or old linens


Even though this may be one of the smaller rooms in your home, it will surprise you how much you will declutter from this room. Begin with the medicine cabinet.

  • Expired vitamins, supplements, medicines, and homeopathic remedies
  • Old lotions, perfumes, soaps, colognes, bath products, and anti-aging/beauty products
  • Travel-size bath products (ones you’ve been gathering but will likely not use).
  • Unused or old makeup
  • Frayed or ripped towels, washcloths, and bathmats.


These rooms are where you dive deeply into decluttering properly. If you are finding it challenging to let go of sentimental items, ask yourself: ‘do I actually love this item, or am I only attached to a memory linked with it? If it is a kind of nostalgic link to someone, place, or experience that the object brings, try this: you will forever get around with that memory; the memory is different from the object.

Also, try taking a picture of the object so you have digital preservation of it. It can be tough to allow sentimental items to go, but if you consider the emotional barrier, you may pack it up and move with you to your new home. 

Some of these items include:

  • Souvenirs/trophies/mementoes
  • Paint containers
  • Leftover construction material
  • Holiday decorations
  • Antiquated electronics
  • Pet cages
  • Tools and lawn equipment
  • Fitness, exercise, and sports equipment

Linen Closets

There is nothing as comforting as having a neat and tidy clothing closet. Decluttering your closets before relocating is a perfect way to improve the serenity of your daily living. Linens that you don’t plan to dispose of can be used to pack delicate stuff for better efficient packing.

  • Linens (sheets, towels, blankets, quilts, and comforters)
  • Craft and sewing supplies


So, that settles it – your complete guide to decluttering for a move. If you are stressed by all this packing and moving discussion, let us take care of it for you. Pricing Van Lines offers quality full-service relocation packages that will simplify your move a bit more. Obtain a quote today!