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How to declutter when moving: Your step-by-step guide

Moving Tips  |  Guides

You're standing in your hallway, surrounded by towers of boxes and bins filled with what seems like a lifetime of belongings. Your move is just weeks away, and the enormity of the task is starting to sink in. How did you accumulate so much? And how on earth will you manage to pack and unpack it all? The answer: decluttering.

The act of decluttering is not just about getting rid of things; it's a process of uncovering what truly matters to you and what you can or can’t live without.

As you prepare to move, the importance of this process cannot be overstated. From making the logistical nightmare of packing and unpacking more manageable to saving costs and reducing stress, decluttering is your ticket to a simpler, more efficient and more fulfilling moving experience with your quality interstate removalists.

Why decluttering is of a huge strategic advantage 

Decluttering is the unsung hero of moving. It’s the secret tool that ensures your transition to a new home is as stress-free as possible. A good start to achieve this is by using a moving house checklist to keep you on track. Here are the reasons why you need to make it part of your moving strategy.

Streamline your packing and unpacking

Plunging into a move with all your possessions in tow can quickly turn into a logistical nightmare. The more you declutter, the less you have to pack – and ultimately, unpack in your new home. Getting rid of the excess saves time and streamlines the process.

Cut down on stress and cost

Moving is listed among life's most stressful events. Adding unnecessary items to the mix only exacerbates the ordeal. 

Decluttering also saves on the cost of moving. With moving companies often charging by volume, reducing what you need to transport can result in significant monetary savings. This of course helps you in paying for your move.

A fresh start

A change of scenery should come with a sense of liberation, not a litany of items you feel obligated to keep. 

By decluttering, you'll start the next chapter of your life in a new space with just the things you love and need. It’s a cleansing process that can be exceptionally therapeutic. 

Create a realistic decluttering timeline

Don’t overdo it. You’ll need your strength in the days to come so don’t try and get it all done in a couple of days. Leave yourself enough time to comfortably achieve your decluttering goal. Starting well in advance and creating a room decluttering plan can help.

Decluttering tips to move by

Woman sorting her things before moving

Now that you're convinced of the power of the pre-move purge, here's a step-by-step guide to help you declutter effectively.

Begin early and start small

Make sure you start as early as possible. This makes the whole exercise less stressful for you. Tackling all your possessions at once is overwhelming. 

Start with a manageable area, like a single drawer or closet. Devote time each day to declutter and continue room by room until the big day arrives. 

There is a tremendous sense of satisfaction as you overcome the tide of unwanted items and rejoice in the reduction of possessions you choose to take with you.

Sort methodically

As you go through your items, create four piles – keep, donate, sell, and discard. Be decisive and ruthless. If something doesn’t bring you joy or serve a purpose, it’s time to part ways. 

One way to do this is to evaluate your possessions and if you haven’t used it in the last 12 months then you are unlikely to need it in the future. Dispose! 

Find the approach that resonates with you, whether it’s by category, emotional attachment, or practicality. The key is consistency and conviction in your choices.

Your new residence

Your storage capacity at your new residence might be significantly different to your present home so keep that in mind. This might be the best reason you have to reduce the size of your move in addition to saving yourself a lot of frustration and cost. 

Sustainable disposal

Simply throwing away everything isn’t good for your soul or the planet. Explore disposal methods that align with your values and contribute positively to the community or environment.

Recycling and repurposing

Do your best to recycle or repurpose what you can. Old electronics, for instance, can often be recycled, while your local school might appreciate that box of art supplies you don’t use anymore. 

Keep your family in mind when repurposing. They might be in need of some of those items that you might be about to dispose of.

Charitable donations

Many charities will gladly accept your gently used items. Not only does this provide goods to those organisations who are themselves helping others, but it can also potentially offer you an opportunity to help someone not as fortunate as yourselves. Organisations like Lifeline use the money earned from their shops to fund mental health services. Well done you! 

Garage sales or online sales markets

Holding a garage sale is one of the most satisfying methods of decluttering. Watching your possessions go to new homes in your own community has a way of making you feel really good about the process you've undertaken. 

Another excellent method of disposing of your items is through online sites like Facebook, Marketplace or Gumtree.

Packing like a minimalist

After decluttering, you'll need to pack your remaining belongings for the move. Aim to keep your packing efficient and your load light.

Essentials box

Pack a suitcase as if you’re going on a short trip. Include your daily essentials and a set of clothes, along with toiletries, to ensure your first night in your new home isn’t spent rummaging through boxes for a change of clothes or your toothbrush.

Strategic labelling

Label your boxes clearly and consistently so you can easily identify what’s inside. Use a colour-coding system or simple written labels. This will make unpacking a much less daunting task in addition to helping your interstate removalists to locate the correct rooms for your items. This increases the efficiency of the move manyfold.

Success and sanity on moving day

You’ve decluttered, you’ve packed, you’ve labelled – now for the final, and arguably the most important, step in this process: execution on moving day.

Final once-over

Before the movers arrive or you hit the road, do a final sweep. Make sure nothing that was meant for the trash or donation accidentally got packed. Have a skip handy if you have large items that are headed to the tip.

First in, last out

Be strategic about what gets loaded first. The last thing you want is to have to unpack heavy, seldom-used items just to get to your living room furniture. Ensure your essentials box and most-used items are packed for easy access usually at the back of the truck.

Plan your unpacking

The way you pack can have a direct impact on the unpacking. Be mindful of the order in which you pack, loading items from the same room or that you use together. Don’t be stingy with the labelling but have clear concise labels so that both you and the movers know where things need to go.

Recap of benefits

In conclusion, decluttering is the moving magic that keeps the process as smooth as silk. From the reduction of physical items to the liberation that comes with a fresh, pared-down living space, the benefits of decluttering when moving are vast and valuable.

By recognising that the process of decluttering can be as rewarding as the move itself, you’re setting yourself up for success. Part of that success involves engaging with interstate removalists who are industry leaders and provide the best of services to you, their valued customers. 

You'll be not just moving from one place to another, but transitioning into a new chapter of your life with a clarity and focus that comes from being unburdened by unnecessary possessions.

Make the conscious decision to start decluttering today, and watch how this act of purging can pave the way for a more mindful and intentional way of living in your new home. Your future self will thank you for it. 

Happy Moving!

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