Anyone who has ever packed up and moved before knows the phenomenon of too much stuff. You pack and you pack, but belongings seem to multiply like bunnies in springtime. You probably don’t need everything that you’ve got, and downsizing can save a lot of money of moving expenses. But how do you know what to cull and what to keep? And how should you dispose of all the excess?
There’s a smart, helpful book that’s making its rounds right now through designers, homeowners and organization nerds. It’s called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” and it’s written by Marie Kondo. If you have the time and inclination, it’s a great place to start with clearing out all of the clutter. But if you don’t have time to think about a new organizational philosophy right before a big move, here are a few ways to clean out, downsize and make this move an effective and low-stress one.
Making a Clean Break
Whether or not you use any of the items that you don’t really need, it can be difficult to make that cut. Real Simple magazine explains that there are lots of ways to accomplish the goal, but the fundamentals of the mindset are basically the same. Determine what has honest and real value to you, choose from that what you really need, and then enjoy the peace of letting the rest of it go.
It doesn’t seem like it would be such an experiment in clutter psychology, but it can be. Will you honestly repair something that’s broken? If you’ve had it for more than a year, you probably won’t. Will you read those books? Can those electronics ever be used again? Do you really want to lose 10 pounds just to wear a certain pair of jeans that’ll be out of style in a year or two? Be brutally honest, and you’ll find your way through your belongings.
Which Items to Cull from Your Home
Try not to take on your whole house or apartment all at once. You’ll be less efficient, and things can get lost (or worse – packed!) in the commotion. Start with one closet or set of cupboards and work out from there.
Things to definitely get rid of, regardless of where you’ll send them:
- Anything that’s broken
- Stained / damaged clothing
- Clothing that’s far too small or too large
- That 1980s throwback outfit that you’ll never wear
- Duplicate items
- Old papers and mail
- Unimportant collectibles
- Tools that don’t work
- Old decor items
- Worn out bed pillows, linens and bath towels
- Outdated electronics, cables and manuals
- Unread, unloved books
- Old toys (make sure they’re not sentimental!)
MSN adds more to the “toss it” list:
- Old makeup and toiletries
- Old shoes
- Magazines and newspapers
- Older vitamins and medication
- Unfinished projects
- Weird kitchen gadgets that you never use
What to Do with All That Stuff
While you’re culling your stash, make piles or fill boxes according to what you’ll do with it all. some sentimental items might have a better fit with a family member. Some things can be donated to charitable organizations. Some can be recycled or set out with the trash. Or you might want to have a garage sale.
Thrift stores, hope chests and other charities prefer discarded items that are still usable. If you’ve got a T-shirt with stains or shoes with a broken heel, save those for the trash. The same goes for garage sales. You probably won’t sell an old hoodie with spaghetti sauce stains down the front. But you might unload all of your old electronics and make a few dollars.
Downsizing helps you with a move in more ways than one. Nobody wants to re-store unused stuff in a new home. Start fresh with the most important things, and you’ll have plenty of room for everything once you get there.
But before that, culling your belongings gets you a much better quote from movers. Imagine paying to move something that you haven’t used lately and will never use again. Now imagine the satisfaction of only moving what you really want to keep.
Moving households is stressful on many levels. But you can eliminate one of those by clearing out the things that should never be packed. When you’re ready to find the best rates for your very best belongings, let Mover Junction help you find a moving company to do the job right.