How to Declutter: A Minimalist’s Guide to Moving Home
As someone who has personally moved numerous times in my life, I like to think that I have become somewhat of a moving expert. When it comes to moving home, I have tried and tested all methods. I’ve hired packers and movers, signed up friends and family to help, done the job myself, rented a truck, drip-fed items into my new property over a few weeks, and so much more…whatever moving option there is, I’m pretty sure I’ve tried it!
However, if there is one thing I’ve learnt in all my years of regular moving, it’s that we all own so. Much. Stuff.
Even though there are certain things we can’t live without, there are some things that we simply don’t need. And paired with moving, these items can make packing significantly more time-consuming, stressful, and unnecessary.
So, if you don’t want to be completely frazzled the next time you move home, here’s how to declutter effectively.
Declutter as You Pack
Packing is a great time to work through your items and decide what you’re going to keep and what you’re not so fussed about leaving behind. Many people find it a helpful time to declutter. So, if you need the motivation of actually moving, why not declutter as you pack?
As you pack every item to take with you, ask yourself the following questions:
- When was the last time you used it? (if longer than one year, get rid!)
- Do you really need it?
- Does it still work?
- Could someone else make better use of it?
- Is it sentimental?
Work Through One Room at a Time
The best way to declutter your home effectively is to tackle everything one room at a time. Otherwise it is easy to become overwhelmed with the amount that needs doing and you might avoid carrying out the task at hand altogether.
Create a First Day Box
The first day in your new home is exciting but can also be stressful as you try to find everything you need to have a good first day.
To make this process easier, think about packing a first day box. This box contains everything you need for your first day/night in your new place. It has all the essentials in it:
- Water bottles
Having a box like this that is clearly labelled can make that first day significantly easier. It also helps cut down on the clutter of unpacking because you don’t need to rifle through box after box in search of your toothbrush.
Plan Ahead for Large Items of Furniture
We all have furniture and most of us would say that it is one of life’s necessities. However, furniture can take up a lot of space and it can take time to get rid of unwanted items before moving day.
So, plan ahead.
If you no longer want specific items of furniture, be sure you have a strategy in place. One of the best ways to get rid of unwanted furniture is to offer it to friends and family or sell it at work. Craigslist or Freecycle are always options, but if you want to make a little bit of money, they should probably be your last resort.
Sort Out the Paperwork
Now I know, this isn’t exactly the advice you had hoped for – after all, there is nothing more time-consuming that sorting out the filing system. However, it’s an unavoidable fact that we tend to accumulate paper in our homes. From user manuals and bank statements, to housing contracts and gas bills, once you sort through your papers and create a system, you will feel a lot better.
It may take a while, so set aside a day to properly sort out your paperwork. File everything into clearly labelled folders and thoroughly shred any paper, credit cards, or documents you no longer need. There is no better excuse to sort through your paperwork than when you’re moving. You will definitely feel better for it and your files will be significantly more manageable, too!
Clear Out the Junk Drawer
Another task we’ve all been avoiding for weeks, months, or possibly years…clearing out the junk drawer is a task none of us enjoy. But now that you’re moving home, you need to clear out the junk drawer so that it doesn’t follow you to every home you live in.
Junk drawers are often full of old batteries, papers, rubber bands, and various other miscellaneous items. Rather than emptying this drawer into a packing box, why not riffle through the items and clear out what you don’t need?
When it comes to moving and decluttering your house at the same time, the best thing you can do is start early. Whether you’re moving in 6 months or one year’s time, the earlier you start decluttering your home, the less stressful your move will be. Make a start by lining up four boxes by the front door and labelling each of them ‘keep’, ‘give away’, ‘rubbish’ and ‘sell’. As you work through your home, one room at a time, add items to the bins. This is a simple but effective way to manage the clutter in your home and encourage others in your house to clear out their spaces too.
What are Some of Your Decluttering Tips?
And there you have it, all my decluttering tips to help make moving less stressful. If you simply plan ahead, your move will be significantly easier. It’s helpful to see your new home as a completely fresh start so that you dispose of excess items and unnecessary clutter accordingly. And by decluttering, you will be able to enjoy more space in your new home knowing you’ve not got to store a lifetime of items you never really use.