You finally found your new home (yay!) and you’re ready to start prepping for the big move. One of the best things you can do to make the whole process of putting everything you own into boxes feel significantly less onerous is simple (and free): Ruthlessly declutter before you start packing your things.
Not sure where to start? We checked in with Shira Gill, home organizing expert and author of Minimalista, and Ioana Galdau, professional organizer and founder of Sleek Living NY, for their best advice. (Warning: some of their suggestions may make you feel as if they’re spying on you.)
Below, the key clutter creators you should attack before moving day:
Things you haven’t used in a year
“If you haven’t used it in the past year, don’t bring that to the new house,” says Galdau. “It’s bad energy and a loss of time.” Gill agrees: “If it’s coated in dust, that’s a good indication you don’t use it very often.”
Things that are broken or incomplete
Pretty obvious, but: Don’t move the broken thing just to store it in your new home and not fix it again. Also, sister to broken things: items with missing parts, incomplete puzzles and games—anything rendered useless because it’s not all there.
Another category of stuff ripe for tossing, according to Gill: “the ‘what if?’ things. Random keys, cords, remotes.” (Either Gill has been to my house or these are common things to cling to.)
Anything you’d need to put in storage
Galdau is adamant: Do not waste your money or time on storage space. “You end up never going back for it,” she says. “Just sell it. Give it to somebody.”
The macrame, the DIY lava lamp, the opened seed-starting kit. Let them go, says Gill.
Things you got for free
Those hotel toiletries, corporate swag bags, and other freebies? You won’t miss them.
Both organizers say people often have more than enough of everything from tea and reusable bags to holiday decorations and office supplies. The same goes for wrapping paper, vases, dishware, and glassware. “One of the big categories I see is an insane number of bowls and platters for people who seldom entertain,” says Gill.
These are some of the hardest things to part with. Galdau suggests that each member of the household should have one manageable-sized box for their most cherished memorabilia. Got kids? Galdau recommends one box for each child’s baby clothes, art projects, birthday cards, etc. (Good luck.)
What to do with all that junk
They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure–but it’s also true that sometimes junk is just junk. Below, a few resources for re-homing, reselling, or just getting rid of the stuff you don’t want anymore.
- Charities like Goodwill and The Salvation Army are a great starting point.
- Your local Buy Nothing Group is another great resource, especially for anything Goodwill won’t take.
- For clothing, try Thredup or For Day’s Take Back Bag and earn credit toward someone else’s thrifted items.
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