girl is decluttering a home

What to Get Rid of When Moving – A Guide to Decluttering

We live in a society that loves their stuff, and boy, do we own a lot of things. Because household goods cover 73% of every move, figuring out what to get rid of when moving will be an excellent way to cut some losses. But saving money shouldn’t be the only reason for home decluttering. It is good to get rid of some stuff once in a while. And what is a better time to do so than when cross country moving?

One of the best long-distance moving tips is to downsize your home before relocating. Not only that your packing will be much easier but unpacking and settling in your new home as well. Move-out cleaning and decluttering are necessary steps for an efficient move, and best of all – you will be able to buy some new and modern things for your new house and remake it the way you always dreamed of. Here we will try to answer the question of “how to get rid of stuff before moving.” Or, to be more precise, what items are not worth moving. Follow this guide, and your downsizing and relocation will be smooth and stress-free.

What Is the First Thing to Do When Moving?

Even before you call your long-distance movers, you will need to make a household inventory list of things you are bringing with you. Most trustworthy long-distance moving companies will base the price of their cross-country moving services on that list. Therefore, one of the first things you have to do when moving across the country is decluttering. After you are done with this, you can make your moving budget and contact movers for a quote. Who knows, maybe if you downsize enough, you will be able to hire movers for packing service too.

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Why Is It Important to Downsize Your Home Before Moving

Aside from the fact that you will reduce your moving costs, you will also have fewer things to clean, pack, and unpack later on. There are tons of stuff in our homes we never or barely use, waiting for the opportunity to be cleaned or tossed away. Well, now is the time to do so. Also, you don’t want to smother your new home with a bunch of junk you don’t need or don’t want anymore.

Girl packing a box for moving across country
Packing will be much easier if you downsize a bit

Checklist of Rules You Need to Follow When Deciding What to Get Rid Of When Moving

Just because something was in your possession for a long time doesn’t mean it has true value. And even if it is valuable, you shouldn’t be attached to it if you don’t use that item. You can follow some rules when decluttering, and if you stick to them, you will see how many items you don’t actually need. And if you get rid of all the junk, moving to a new home will be a breeze. Here are some golden rules to follow:

  • Get rid of things you don’t use – If some item is sitting in your closet or garage for more than two years without being used once, it must go away.
  • Figure out what are memories and what aren’t – We all collect a lot of memorabilia, souvenirs from our travels or some other events. But not all those things are worth keeping. If you have a lot of stuff from one vacation, keep only those you find dear and throw away the rest.
  • Throw away things which you will never buy again – Sometimes, we buy something only to realize that we don’t actually like it. Still, we feel sorry to throw it away, so it ends up stored in our house. If some of those items pop out now, it’s time to get rid of the guilt and throw it away.
picture of checklist
With three golden rules, your decluttering will be a breeze

Go Room by Room and Decide Which Items Are Not Worth Moving

Every professional mover will tell you that the best packing tip is to start early and be systematic. The same goes for decluttering. Go room by room and start sorting things. Take some labels or stickers and place them first on the furniture you plan to keep. Then go through each closet and cabinet and sort your items. Make piles in each room – “get rid of” and “keep” or, in this case, “to-pack” piles. If you organize a move this way, you will be packed in no time, and you will declutter in a couple of days. Do not throw anything away at this point. Put all the things you plan to throw away in one room, like a garage or basement. Here you will continue your sorting to see what will go for sale, donation, or trash.

Purge Food Cabinets on Time

A typical moving mistake people make is not thinking about the bunch of food they have in their cabinets and freezers. Food is among the things movers won’t move, so go through your storage spaces and start emptying the stock before the moving day arrives. Of course, you can donate canned food if it’s not expired.

Make a Plan for Your Toiletries

When packing bathroom items, you also need to plan what you will keep, throw away, and what will go into the moving essentials box. All half-open bottles should be on your throw-away list, but use them until your moving day arrives. The same is with things you bought but haven’t ever used. Now you can open those products and spend them. Get rid of all things you know you will not use in your new home. So, go through old perfumes, colognes, and makeup and throw away everything.

Go Through Your Documents

One of the things you have to do before relocation day is to organize important documents. We all have many papers we keep because we don’t have time to go through them and see which one is important to keep. With relocation coming up, find some time to make a couple of categories here, too.

Make “important documents,” “current bills,” and “shred” piles. When we talk about important documents, there should be all papers that are difficult (or impossible) to acquire again – birth certificates, passports, mortgage and house papers, trust funds, testaments, paid credit certificates, diplomas, ID cards, social security cards, and others.

On the other hand, here are some things to get rid of when moving among your documents:

  • Old school artworks and projects,
  • Instruction manuals,
  • Old receipts,
  • Long expired contracts,
  • Coupons.

Toss Away Expired Medicine

Go through the medicine cabinet and see which medications and vitamins are expired, and toss them. Also, medicine you don’t need anymore should follow suit.

Put important medicine in an essential bag and bring them with you. Purge vitamins and supplements and keep only the ones you truly need. If you have two open bottles of the same vitamins, put them all in one bottle.

Picture of pills
Expired medicine should be tossed away

Go Through All Piles Once Again

Now that you have sorted items from all rooms, it is time to go through your newly separated piles once more. If you don’t know how to decide what to get rid of when moving, going through these piles once more will make you even more confident. Once you double-check everything, you are good to go. You will be much less attached to these items going through them a second time. Usually, people throw away much more stuff in the second round because they realize there’s a reason why it’s on the discard pile.

Put All Stuff You Plan to Throw Away in One Room

Once you are done with the second round, it is time to put all those things in one room (garage or basement would be the best) and see what can be sold or donated and what will go to the trash bin. Evaluate your belongings and see what you will put for sale. For instance, old magazines and newspapers should be thrown away, but check online if some collectors are interested in those issues. Here are the things you should donate or throw away:

  • Plastic kitchen containers,
  • Pots and pans that are not in good condition,
  • Old kids toys,
  • Pet toys and bedding,
  • Towels and sheets,
  • Magazines,
  • Beauty tools and hygiene products,
  • Old clothes.

Sell Old Things From Your House

Of course, you can try and sell old clothes and all items listed above, but they will probably never leave your house that way, so the better solution is to donate them if possible. On the other hand, things of higher value you can try and sell. Here are some of the things you can offer in a garage sale:

  • Tools you don’t need anymore,
  • Home appliances,
  • Hair appliances,
  • Comic books,
  • Books,
  • Antique items and furniture,
  • Paintings,
  • Plants,
  • Clothing that is in good condition,
  • DVDs, VHS, and records,
  • Furniture,
  • Electric devices,
  • Glassware you don’t want anymore,
  • Crystal.

Basically, you should put for sale all the things you would buy. So make sure you evaluate your items correctly, but be ready to make a deal with your potential buyers as well.

Old records in a box
Do a good evaluation of your things - someone's trash can be someone else's gold

What to Do With Old Stuff

If you don’t know how to get rid of furniture when moving and you weren’t able to sell it through a garage sale, put it on eBay and try your luck there. Especially if you own old-fashioned wooden furniture since these pieces are really valuable to those who know how to exploit them. For example, there are a lot of craftsmen who are good with wood and furniture restoration.

On the other hand, if you have time, refurbish your old sofa yourself and have a new unique sofa in your new home. Check out this video for more tips on DIY furniture restoration.

Consider Using Storage

If you still don’t know the answer to “what should I throw away before I move” or “how do you minimize when moving,” or you are still attached to your stuff, consider using self-storage units. But when moving cross country, renting a self-storage unit can be tricky. You can ask your cross-country movers to store your stuff in their storage facilities for one month until you are all settled in. Then they will ship your belongings to your new home, and you will have time to rent a self-storage unit if needed.

Professional putting belongings in storage facilities for cross-country moving
Ask your long-distance movers to store some stuff in their storage units

Get Your Bag of Essentials, and You Are Good to Go

It doesn’t matter what your reasons to move are, or if you are moving to another state alone, you will need to pack your bag of essentials. There you should pack all the things you will need for a few days, like you are going on a short vacation.

Think about the means of getting to your new destination, too. If you plan to use a professional car shipping service and fly to your new state, you will have to pack smart and efficiently. Also, one of the moving hacks for long-distance moves is to pack another box of essentials that movers will pack on a truck. Just label this box and load it last, so the first thing you will do after moving is to unpack this box. Put some cleaning supplies, tools, and sponges in it, and pack some dishes and mugs. If you’re relocating with pets, pack food, toys, and bedding for them. That will ensure you relaxed trip and moving-in period.

Daisy Wilson