Guest Author: Steven Reed
Now that you’ve found your next home, it’s time to pack and prepare to move — but first, declutter everything you own and donate the items you no longer want, need or use. These actions reduce stress, moving costs and clutter in your new home, all while supporting charitable community causes. Though decluttering and donating can feel overwhelming, several tips simplify the process.
Decide to keep or donate every item you own. This way, you only pack essential belongings and don’t carry unwanted stuff to your new house.
Ideally, begin downsizing as soon as possible. Give yourself time to look through all your belongings.
Set aside dedicated time each day to sort items. If possible, turn off your phone and tune out distractions so you can stay focused. Scheduling allows you to see progress, which can keep you motivated and allows you to finish the job before your complete moving company shows up on moving day.
Pack While Decluttering
Place every item you touch in a moving or donation box. This tip reduces your packing time, shows you exactly how much stuff you own and motivates you to keep decluttering.
Decide What to Donate
As you look through your possessions, decide what to keep and give away. You could try one of these five strategies as you evaluate each item:
1. Think about when you last used, wore or looked at the item. Let it go if you haven’t interacted with it in the past six to 12 months.
2. Commit to a set number of boxes per room. For example, you might fill only four boxes of kids' toys and donate everything else.
3. Label the boxes with specific categories, such as “insulated cups” instead of “dishes.” Then, you can see exactly how much you own and further declutter.
4. Follow a 20/20 rule. Donate anything you want to keep “just in case” but can replace for under $20 in 20 minutes.
5. Ask yourself several questions:
• Do I want this item?
• What is the specific purpose of this item?
• Will I use this item in my new house?
• Do I have duplicates?
• Is this item still in style?
• Can someone else use this item?
Tackle Unused Areas First
Rather than starting in high-traffic rooms such as the bedroom or kitchen, tackle the attic or basement first. These areas probably hold less sentimental items, and you can store packed boxes there as you declutter the rest of your home.
Consume the toiletries, food and other inventory you already own. Then, restock these items after your move.
Go Through Memorabilia Last
You might spend hours sifting through emotions and memories as you sort sentimental items like collectibles, heirlooms and photos. For this reason, save this category for last. Then, try not to linger too long over each item and only keep the items that bring you joy.
Ask for Help
If you find yourself overwhelmed or stuck during the decluttering process, call on a family member, friend or professional organizer. With assistance, you can address any roadblocks such as emotional attachments to items and maintain momentum.
Donate Items Immediately
After you clean items and make sure they work properly, carry your donation bags directly to the car. If possible, drive to the donation center right away. Immediate action reduces your chances of unpacking donation bags or accidentally placing them in the moving truck.
Although moving is a big job, you can use decluttering and donating to simplify the process. Try these tips to stay on track as you prepare to fill your new home with items you want, need and use.
Author Bio: Steven Reed is the founder and President of Big League Movers, a moving firm established in 2008. With over 10 years of experience, Reed helps lead a dynamic growing company based on morals and integrity for the optimal customer experience.