Posted in Moving Preparation, Moving Tips&Tricks on August 23, 2021
Kate Holland

A true grunge and rock music fan born in Seattle, Kate has moved across the country and started writing about her experience.

What to Get Rid of When Moving – A Guide to Decluttering

Relocating will take a lot of hard work, but there are ways to minimize the hassle. Knowing what to get rid of when moving will help you stay organized, reduce stress, and tackle your move effortlessly. But the question is – what items are not worth moving?

Most people tend to keep and hoard their possessions, primarily because the average homeownership time has risen to more than 13 years in some parts of the country. There are probably piles of our possessions we think we will use later, but we never get around to remembering it’s left in a corner somewhere in the first place. Many of these should be among the things to get rid of when moving, and that way, you’ll both have less stuff on your relocating to another state checklist, and you’ll lower the costs of relocation.

Why Is It Important to Know What to Get Rid Of When Moving

It’s equally important to know how to get rid of stuff before moving and understand why you should do it. Besides the fact that clutter in our homes may cause us stress, and waste our time, while we get the feeling that our work is a never-ending process, there’s a noticeable impact it can have on relocating. So, what is the first thing to do when moving? If you have decided to move on your own, without the help of a cross-country moving company, you should start eliminating all the excess possessions. One of the best packing tips out there is that you shouldn’t pack anything you don’t want to use or own anymore. On the other hand, if you’ve chosen to invest in long-distance moving services, the fewer objects you have to transport, the more it will help save on costs.

A couple carrying boxes
Even decluttering can be fun, if you have good company

Start Your Decluttering Journey With a to-Do List

Any relocation should start with a to-do list. In all honesty, it begins with different reasons to move, our decision on where we see ourselves in the future, and our determination to pull it through with as little tension as possible. But the moment we decide we’re going to change our place, we should set aside enough time to write all the tasks on a list. By doing this, we will help ourselves focus on the path ahead, be very well organized, and be in control of the process. Since relocations are considered the third most stressful event in life for average Americans, and we tend to move a lot (up to 12 times during our lifetime), any given way that we can make it less trying is more than welcome. High above on the list of our relocation-related work should be decluttering.

A couple writing a checklist and tips
A to-do list will help you tackle everything with less effort

Before You Get Your Old Stuff Out, Get Some Packing Materials

It’s probably needless to say that you can’t plan a move to another city properly without suitable packing materials. Besides getting enough garbage bags to throw away unusable objects, which can also be used to wrap your clothes together with hangers, one of the tips is that you’ll need a fair amount of boxes. Obtaining them will be crucial for sorting out your belongings into several categories, which will make things much more manageable. The final goal is to avoid any relocating mistakes, such as paying for the shipment of objects you would throw away anyway.

Cardboard boxes ready for long-distance moving
Get lots of boxes and don’t forget garbage bags

Let’s Get Our Hands Dirty, and Our House More Spacious, Room by Room

One of the things we forget to do when we move is to start our preparatory work in the less-visited rooms. This means that a wise move would be to enter spaces like the garage and attic because these are places where we put away the excess belongings. Freeing these rooms is also one of the best relocating hacks because once you start the packing process, you’ll be able to place all the boxes right here, so they won’t get in the way.

There Might Be Some Items Movers Won’t Move Among Your Old Things

Most cross-country movers offer a large variety of services. They can pack your possessions, provide you with storage service, and even ship your car with quality auto transport service if you need it. But there’s also some objects and materials that they won’t pack or transport, and here’s a list:

  • All flammable, toxic, and otherwise hazardous materials or objects. These include various materials like paints, paint thinners, gasoline, and everyday household objects like nail polish, nail polish remover, and even deodorants. Any one of these is potentially dangerous to transport, especially in the back of the truck, where it can get scorching.
  • Perishable foods. While food couldn’t pose a threat, such as flammable materials, it gets spoiled and spilled quickly, thus doing damage to your other belongings in transport. Boxed, canned, and dried food, however, can be shipped freely.
  • Pets and plants. A living creature shouldn’t be in the back of a truck while it’s traveling long distances.
  • Valuables and documents. Your long-distance movers might have a policy that allows them to transport your valuable possessions. However, it might be wiser for you to keep it in the essentials bag you’ll carry with you. Be certain you’ve organized important documents at home before the move-out day, carefully pack all valuables such as jewelry and cash, and decide whether you’ll take them with you. If you still choose to ship these things, find out whether the long-distance moving company offers any relocating insurance.

The best thing you can do is contact the movers to get a thorough list of non-.allowables. This will be more than helpful on your decluttering journey because you’ll know precisely what to throw into the trash.

Spray cans on the ground
Paints, thinners, and everything else that is flammable shouldn’t be transported

Purge Your Home to Make Room

The list of non-allowables has helped you answer “What should I throw away before I move?” and now it’s time to continue with the purge. There’s probably plenty of objects you shouldn’t pay packing service for, such as old, damaged, and broken furniture, nonfunctioning appliances, and all the other objects you never got around to fixing nor throwing away. All of these shouldn’t make it to your new home because they will only continue to clutter the space. So, off with it to the garbage can, because it will help you move efficiently. Also, don’t forget to check if you have any expired meds and dispose of them on time.

Create a Pile of Your Belongings That You Can Donate

Once you get the trash out of the way, you can begin with round two of purging. This time, you should set aside all your belongings that are still in good condition and usable, but you don’t want to keep them anymore. Most of these could be perfect for donating to charities such as  Goodwill or The Salvation Army. They accept a range of your objects, from canned food and medications to furniture and well-kept and packed shoes, as well as bathroom items such as towels. Give them a call and find out if you can agree on donation and pickup dates.

Comb Your House for Anything You Can Sell

If you decide to throw a garage sale before you move out, it can be beneficial in many ways. You can prepare anything you don’t want to keep but couldn’t donate. A good sales advice is to group things by categories. That means you can pack any fragile items and also mismatched glasses you might have, label them, and set a price. Advertise your sale in the neighborhood, and you can even create an event on social media to get as many people as possible. The sale will not only help you declutter, but you can also earn some money and add it all to the relocation budget.

Women placing clothes in bags
If you advertise your sale well, you can earn money to add to your budget

Unused Food Is a Perfect Opportunity to Throw a Party

After you’ve checked your kitchen at least twice to throw away expired stuff and to decide what you could donate, there’s probably plenty of it left in the refrigerator and freezer. Since none of it can go on the list of what to keep when relocating, you should make it a goal to use it all up before heading out to your new address. Throwing a BBQ party is more than a perfect opportunity to say goodbye to your friends and family while emptying your kitchen.

A man preparing food
BBQ party is a great way to say goodbye

Invest in Self-Storage Units

If you’re leaving a larger abode, keep in mind that you should look for small apartment ideas and perhaps downsize a bit more. If you’re unsure what to do with some pieces of furniture you didn’t want to part with, but it won’t fit into a smaller space, there’s a solution. Self-storage units are an additional answer to how to get rid of furniture when moving. You may even store seasonal clothes and shoes, as well as stuff like Christmas ornaments. Your new place may need some creative storage ideas rather than bulky furniture, so contact your movers and ask for long-term storage.

A dining table
A large table may not fit into new space

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up” Can Become Your Philosophy, Too

In the end, how do you minimize when moving? No matter if you are positive that you’ve gone through all your belongings, check out once more to be sure what goes on your new apartment checklist. Decluttering is especially important if you’re preparing your home for sale because ridding yourself of clutter will make your residence look more bright and spacious. If you realize that this whole process has made you feel good about yourself, perhaps you can adopt Marie Kondo’s philosophy of regular decluttering and tidying up – discard the items that no longer have a purpose, and keep only those that spark joy. That quote is excellent when you wonder how to decide what to get rid of when moving. You can watch her course on the magic of tidying up in the video below.

Create a Checklist of Items You’ll Take With You

Your decluttering work has come to an end, and it will soon be time to pack up and leave. Belongings that are left should be listed on a household inventory checklist, so when you search for “long-distance movers near me,” they can give you an estimate on how much your move will cost. The price will probably be much lower than what you initially believed, all thanks to the hard work you’ve put into decluttering.

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