How To Declutter Before Moving Long Distance

Most people agree that moving is among the top three most stressful life events they’ve ever gone through. It’s why the process requires careful thought and a lot of planning.

One of the first things you need to do before the move is to declutter. Don’t know where to begin? Discount Moving, Montreal’s top-rated movers, has created this guide on how to declutter before moving to make the process easier for you.

Why Declutter Before Your Long-Distance Move?

The benefits of decluttering are common knowledge. As humans, we have the natural tendency to accumulate belongings quickly. Many people do not appreciate how much stuff they own until it’s time for a move.

Beyond items you use daily, you have many sentimental items such as décor, heirlooms, and other bits and bobs gradually filling up space around your home. When you declutter before moving, you can ensure you’re moving with only items you truly want to fit in your new home.

Decluttering also reduces your moving expenses. The less stuff you have, the fewer boxes you need to pack and the smaller the size of the vehicle you’ll need for the move.

How To Declutter Before Moving: Top Tips To Keep in Mind

Here are some top tips to help make your home clutter-free and ready for the move.

Start Early

If you want to declutter properly, you need to start six to eight weeks before your move. If you wait until the last minute, you will make mistakes while decluttering and packing for your move.  

When you give yourself ample time, you can work at your desired pace to pack all the items you no longer need.

Specify a Deadline

If you don’t want the decluttering process to interfere with your move planning, you need to specify a deadline. Starting early doesn’t mean you should spend weeks on the process.

At the very least, you need to complete decluttering before you call in the moving company for a pre-move survey. Otherwise, you will receive a quote that covers items you don’t need.

Make Declutter Days Fun

Decluttering your home can be overwhelming. You can make it more bearable by making the process as fun as possible. Enlist the help of family members. Have someone work the grill or order some comfort food and drinks; the day will pass fairly quickly.

Work With a Sorting System

A good way to hasten the decluttering process is to work with the widely popular five-box sorting system. It involves labeling five boxes as Keep, Donate, Recycle, Storage, and Trash. Ideally, you should have a separate group of five boxes for every room in your home. Here’s what each box should contain:

  • Keep: These should only contain items you really need. If you haven’t used the item in the last six months, you probably won’t use it more than once in the next six (if at all). Be strict and disciplined about what you decide to keep.
  • Donate: These are items in good condition (no damage) that you no longer need. Other people will appreciate having them.
  • Recycle: Items in these boxes should be recyclable items you no longer need but can’t donate.
  • Storage: This box should have items that are too big to dispose of immediately or those you will use much later. You will use storage services to store them until you need them.
  • Trash: This box should contain everything you intend to throw away.

Keep Family Members in the Loop

If you’re moving with family, you need to ensure everyone is on board with decisions on items to keep, donate, etc. It’s a good idea to allow people to sort through their belongings on their own.

For younger family members who may need guidance, guide them toward the best decision for each item. They may feel reluctant about letting go of items they haven’t seen in a while. Gently remind them how those items can improve the lives of other children.

Go Room by Room

Do you want to know how to declutter before moving without losing interest along the way? Do you want to avoid ending up with junk in your new place? The secret is to go room by room.

It can be tempting to tackle the whole house at once when decluttering, picking stuff as you move through each room. However, the lack of organization will slow down the process. It’s best to work from room to room. It will give you a clearer picture of your progress as you move. You can look at one room and be sure that you’ve decluttered properly before moving to the next one.

Here’s what you should do in each one.

The Kitchen

Your kitchen is one of the most used spaces in a home. Decluttering this space can significantly reduce your workload when it’s time to pack. It will also ensure your new kitchen is clutter-free. Go through your drawers, cabinets, and the pantry to pick items to donate or trash first.

Expired foods belong in the recycle boxes or trash bins. However, you’ll need to slowly sort through:

  • Broken containers
  • Mismatched cookware
  • Utensils you haven’t used in ages or even taken out of their boxes
  • Cookbooks and recipe notes
  • Takeout plasticware
  • Water bottles
  • Coffee mugs

You’ll be surprised how much of these items you’ve accumulated through the years.

Your Bedrooms and Closets

Your bedrooms and closets hold many clothes, shoes, bags, and more that either no longer fit or have just fallen completely out of rotation. Dig out everything and remove those you no longer need. If you haven’t worn the accessory in the last year or two, you almost certainly won’t wear it again.

Don’t forget to go through your jewelry as well.

Your Living Rooms

These spaces are the focal point of any home, which makes them a prime hub for clutter. Look around the space and make a note of items you no longer need. Some of them won’t fit in a box, so you may need to organize them on paper in a list.

Furniture, speakers, and other electronics occupy the most space here. Do you still need all of them?

Next, go through smaller items such as books, old magazines, remotes, cords, physical media storage devices (like vinyl, CDs, and VHS tapes), books, and more.

Your Bathrooms

Your bathroom tends to accumulate disposable items such as half-used toiletries, medications past their expiration date, beauty equipment, expired medication, and more. Open up your bathroom cabinets, shelves, and drawers, and remove expired and near-empty items.

Consider donating some of the unopened toiletries you no longer need to nonprofits and shelters.

Stay Detached 

It’s natural to get emotional about your belongings. These items once meant a lot to you at some point. Some of them actually cost significant sums, so getting rid of them might feel like you’re not being prudent with your resources.

However, the sentiment will only distract from the task of decluttering your space and making sure you’re moving into your new place with stuff you truly need.

Stick To Tried and Tested Rules of Decluttering

The five-second and 20/20 rules can help simplify your decision making throughout the decluttering process.

The five-second rule is simple. Can you remember the last time you used an item in five seconds? If you can’t, you don’t need it.

The 20/20 rule requires a bit more effort, but it’s still incredibly helpful. If you’re wondering whether to keep or toss an item, ask yourself if you can replace it in 20 minutes and for under $20. If you answered yes, get rid of it.

These rules will quickly help you see items you’ve been holding on to for too long.

Create a Plan for Items You Can’t Keep or Trash

It’s not enough to separate your items into batches. You need to have a clear picture of where they will go.

For items you’d like to donate, make a list of charities, shelters, and nonprofits around you that will appreciate receiving them. Shelters will appreciate toiletries and personal grooming items. Animal care facilities will welcome donations of towels and linens.

If you have any valuables you want to keep but don’t really need, you can make a list of places to sell them to recoup some of your expenses on them. Clothes, furniture, and jewelry can fetch decent sums on platforms such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay.

Get Expert Help With Your Long Distance Move

Now that you know how to declutter before moving, the actual task of completing the move will be a lot less demanding for you. If you want to make the moving day even more hassle-free, enlist the help of professional movers.

At Discount Moving, we offer the full range of moving services. We can pack, load, unload, and reassemble all your items. Are you ready to discuss your long-distance move with an experienced company you can depend on? Contact the Discount Moving team in Montreal today at +1 514-933-3555. We are happy to answer all the key questions for a moving company.