Decluttering Home Before Moving

Fresh Start: Why and How to Declutter Before You Move

October 3, 2023

Written by Leslie Raycraft

Moving to a new home is a big project, one that involves packing up every room in your home carefully into organized boxes. Of course, most of us don’t realize the amount of stuff we have accumulated until it’s time to move. Things accumulate in areas that we don’t use often; attics, basements, and that closet underneath the basement stairs! We stick items there when we don’t know where else to store them. You probably don’t need everything that has accumulated in the junk drawer. Did you mean to collect two dozen empty jars or have a cabinet full of unmatched Tupperware? Well, this is where decluttering comes in.

There are so many things that we acquire without realizing, or collect for “just in case” moments that never come. Moving is the perfect time to revisit your personal items and let go of all those little things you don’t need.

This article can offer you a few helpful tips on how to effectively start decluttering before your move and pack in a way that makes unpacking a breeze when you reach your new house.    


-Fresh boxes ready to pack

-Colored markers and tape for labeling

-Lots of packing paper and bubble wrap

-Packing tape for sealing

-Baskets and bins for sorting

-Trash and recycle cans

1) Empty One Cabinet and Closet at a Time

The first step in decluttering is a methodical approach. While packing, it helps to pack up one room at a time, carefully sorting and labeling each box so that it’s easy to unpack when you move.

Be sure to set aside the essential things you need daily so they don’t accidentally get packed. These are items you will pack last in a suitcase or go-bag that travels with you, ensuring that you don’t need to worry if the truck is delayed. Essentials include your core wardrobe, toiletries, medications, and important valuables.

2) Categorize: Pack, Donate and Toss

Go through your items with these categories in mind.

-Pack everything that is useful and valuable.

-Donate everything that you don’t use, but is still in good quality.

-Recycle or toss everything that is damaged or dirty.

Have 3 bags ready for donations, recycling, and trash, as well as a fresh box to pack into. Some people also like to have a “Sell on eBay” pile for items they no longer use but may earn them some money. This can take up a lot of your time and energy trying to sell items, so be thoughtful about what you choose to sell. Is it worth $5 or $50? What is your time worth?

3) Ask Yourself “The Questions”

Deciding whether something can be let go of when decluttering can be a tough decision. In your new home, will the item be used, have a designated spot, or does it hold sentimental value? Asking yourself a few key questions can help to clarify the matter.

-Have I used/worn this in the last year? Will I use/wear it in the next two months?

-Do I love this enough to pay to move it?

-Will this have “a home” in my new place?

-Do I need this?

-Is this precious to anyone else in the house?

If the answer is “No” on all counts, then place the item in the “donate” or “toss”  If the answer is “Yes” to any, decide how to categorize and pack each item you choose to keep. Don’t forget to run items past other household members. You never know if an old t-shirt in the bottom drawer holds memories.

4) Get Excited About Donation and Recycling

Sometimes we have a hard time letting go of items that are potentially useful, even if we don’t use them. From outgrown clothes and toys to handy old containers, the best way to help yourself declutter is to get excited about repurposing.

Items that are still of good quality and valuable can be donated. Each time you put an item into the donation basket, remind yourself that someone else will need and appreciate it more than you have. Each time a container goes in the recycling bin, imagine all the interesting things it might become when recycled and turned into something new.

5) Admire Your Well-Packed and Labeled Boxes

The final reward of successful decluttering before a move is how neat and well-organized your packed boxes will be. Only pack items that will be useful to you at the other end of your move, and neatly label each one so you know exactly what is inside. Use color-coded markers and masking tape to easily identify each box by room, category, and contents. Then stack them neatly and appreciate how much less you will have to carry and how much fun it will be to unpack only your favorite and most useful possessions in the new house.

Enjoy a Fresh Start When You Move

Moving can be a grand adventure if you let it. By decluttering before your move, you ensure that your truck will be lighter, that packing and unpacking will be easier, and that setting up your new home will only have the things you truly need, want, and love organized into a permanent useful place. Say goodbye to your cluttered junk drawer and mystery collections. Your organized packing will make it easy to start fresh in a beautifully organized new home.

For more insights or assistance in a successfully organized move, contact me today.

Leslie Raycraft