Clearing Out Before your Move

March 26, 2016

As a society, we have A LOT of stuff, and most of it isn’t really necessary to daily life. When you’re planning on moving to a new home, purging some of these items beforehand can make the move a lot easier. Plus, it’s nice to make a fresh start in your new home.

There are a few different options when deciding what to do with unwanted items. You could pass them on them to friends or family, donate them to a charity shop, sell them online on a buy and sell site (such as kijiji, craigslist, eBay, etc.), hold a yard sale, or, if the item is no longer of any use, throw it out. Most likely, you will have a mix of items. So grab a few large boxes, and label each with a destination (“garage sale”, “garbage” etc.) On bigger items, such as furniture, use post it notes to label what you are planning on doing with them.

It can be daunting trying to decide what should stay and what should go. The best advice is to start small. Pick a spot in 1 room per day (bookcase in the living room, for example) and tackle that. Once that’s done, the next day you can move on to the next area in the living room you’ve chosen. Once you have completed the entire living room, move on to the next room. Don’t rush the process, or it can get overwhelming. Put the items in your pre-labeled boxes, and when a box is full, pack it up and send it to its destination. Put it right out in your car if it’s for donation, etc. so it’s out of your house and on its way.

All books and magazines don’t need to be saved, despite popular belief. They are very heavy to carry if you’re moving, and take up a lot of space. They also need to be dusted or they end up getting that dusty, musty smell. If you absolutely love a certain book, keep it of course, but get rid of the ones you don’t love or use regularly. You could invest in an e-reader and always have your favourite books at your fingertips wherever you go. Best part? You don’t have to lug a thousand pounds of books with you!

Furniture should have a purpose- and if you find that certain furniture items aren’t serving their purpose, it is time to part with them. For example, if your desk has small drawers and your necessary paperwork ends up spilling out all over the top of the desk, it’s time to find a desk with more storage! Sell or donate these pieces of furniture that are no longer functioning for your lifestyle before you move, then after your move is complete, purchase the items you need to streamline your life. Sometimes items of furniture that were once very useful can be repurposed. Take your baby crib, for example. If you have one of the old style drop rail cribs kicking around that are no longer considered safe and therefore can’t be resold, take a look at websites such as Pinterest for ideas on how you can repurpose it.

Deciding which clothes you no longer need can be difficult. Here is an easy way to figure out which clothing articles you actually use, provided you implement this well in advance of your move. Make sure all your clothes are on hangers in your closet, with the hanger hooks facing all one way. Each time you wear an item, wash it, and then put it back in the closet. This time, though, turn the hanger hook holding this item of clothing BACKWARDS. Do this throughout the year (as you’ll want to incorporate your full summer and winter wardrobes). At the end of the year (or time period of your choosing), the hangers holding clothes that are still facing the original way are the clothes you do not use, and therefore you can now feel more confident donating them to someone who would use them.

You might also try re-purposing clothing you’ve outgrown or fallen out of love with. For example, cable knit sweaters can make really cozy throw pillow covers with a bit of craftiness and a sewing machine. Baby clothing is a tough one, as there is so much sentimentality attached to them. You could make a quilt with some of your favourite baby items, or try framing a special baby outfit (i.e. the outfit your little one arrived home from the hospital in, a christening gown, etc) in one of those display cases that are designed to hold thicker items. With both of these suggestions, you will get to see your special baby clothing all the time, rather than having it shoved in a box in the basement.

Parting with sentimental items is difficult. Perhaps you have an oversized stuffed animal you got as a child, and love the memories attached to it, but resent the fact that it takes up so much space in your home (let alone how much room it will demand in a moving truck come moving day). Take a picture of such items. You will always be able to look at that picture and have the same feelings about the item, without the added bulk.

Remember, start small, and try to keep in mind whether you love the items in question or if they are useful. If the answer is no, it’s time to go! Even purging a little will help make moving day that much easier.

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