Moving isn’t fun
Sure, buying a house is fun! And living in the new house is GREAT! But moving… none of us like moving. We love the results, right? But the move itself is laborious. You never realize how much junk you’ve accumulated until you start trying to fit it all into boxes and into a moving truck. Here are a few top places to PURGE before you move to help minimize the clutter.
1. Medicine Cabinet
You won’t believe how much stuff you have in this space that you never use. First, remove every pill box and bottle. Lay them out on your counter and dispose of expired meds. Check them all! You’ll be surprised how old that cough syrup actually is. Once you have cleared out your unwanted meds, place the items you wish to keep in a clearly labeled moving box.
Pro Tip: For really important medications, like life-saving epi-pens, inhalers or daily meds, I recommend a small plastic tote (about the size of a lunch box) to make sure you can find the stuff you will need first, or the things you need in the event of an emergency! When my husband and I moved, my birth control went missing for a week!! Eeek!!
Like the medicine cabinet, the pantry is a place of no return! Declutter your pantry by emptying it shelf by shelf. Check expiration dates and staleness. If you are sure you won’t use something and it is still fresh, donate it to your local food pantry. Plenty of people can benefit from the things you no longer want or need.
Stop buying groceries about a week before you move (if you can!) and eat the canned foods and old frozen foods that have fallen to the back or the bottom of your fridge or pantry. It will save you money and it will also minimize how much you need to move from one fridge to the next on an already stressful moving day!
Pro Tip: If you’ve gotten to the bottom of your fridge and you don’t really want to eat the thing that’s left in the back of the freezer, toss it. If you don’t want it now, you won’t want it in the new house either!
Basements tend to be universal dumping grounds. If you have been living in your home for a long time, it may be necessary to go as far as getting a dumpster to unload no longer used items.
Be as honest with yourself as you can about what is essential to take with you. I can’t tell you the number of people who have stored every last Lego and art project from their now-grown children. Remember that saving your most special items is not the same as saving everything.
Pro Tip: My mom decluttered by giving the 4 of us (now grown) children boxes of things she felt would be significant to us – school papers, old project, etc. This was great because we were able to pick out things that did matter and toss the rest without a sense of guilt.
Like the basement, the garage typically holds tools and household items that are rarely, if ever, used. Moving is the time to ask yourself what value these items hold.
When decluttering the garage, use three large cardboard boxes: Label one “trash,” one “donate” and one “keep.” Use these boxes to help sort what is coming with you from what is garbage and being given away. Using a system to declutter will help you visualize how much you have, and it often helps people feel better about throwing things out and giving items away.
Pro Tip: I’m a big fan of the donate box because I often don’t want to throw something out because I recall the monetary value it had at one time. And, many donation locations like the Salvation Army will write you a receipt for your donation and you can write it off at tax time! You’ll be astonished how much you donate!
If you aren’t someone who declutters on an annual basis, this area of the home may seem daunting, but in truth it’s the easiest. You know what you wear and what you love.
I find also that decluttering both before and after a move is really important. I’m horrible about keeping up with my laundry so as the clean clothes diminish, I see more and more of the clothes I keep picking around. That skirt is so pretty but I never – ever – wear it. Its time for it to go. After the move, unpack a bit at a time. If you find a box of clothes you didn’t notice were gone, its time to seriously consider donating the whole box.
Pro Tip: Look on social media for a clothing swap near you! What a great way to ensure that your clothes are going to be loved by someone else and also liven up your wardrobe with a splash of something new and different that you’ll be in love with!