When considering just how much stuff can be accumulated over the years, many would benefit from the top 8 tips for downsizing before a move. While it may be tempting to tell yourself that it is better to just pack it all up now and declutter when unpacking at your new home, most people end up hanging on to unneeded items longer than necessary with this approach.
Not only will moving all those items cost more money than if you had decluttered before the move, but now you will be faced with locating a donation center and/or finding out if your new community is allowed to hold garage sales. These are not things most people want to deal with when they begin unpacking and are getting familiar with their new neighborhood.
By following through on a list of the top 8 tips for downsizing before moving day, you have the potential to save yourself time and money.
The Top 8 Tips for Downsizing Before You Move
Although you can find tips for downsizing just about anywhere, who is more familiar with this than professional moving companies? These experts move thousands of individuals every year and see a lot when packing up their customers for a move. For this reason, they bring some helpful advice to the table.
To make your moving experience a more positive one, here are 8 helpful tips for downsizing before you move:
- Start early. Decluttering is a term that can sound deceptively easy when it is in fact quite time consuming. Professional movers advise that you start the decluttering process as early as possible for maximum benefit. Doing so allows you to chip away at it little by little and still have time to host a garage sale before moving if you choose to do so.
- Take a general inventory of what is in your home. Homes are ground zero for most people’s lives. We eat, sleep, and relax in our homes, and over the years most of us tend to accumulate a lot of belongings. The problem is that much of the time we end up with more knick-knacks and stuff than we actually need or use. It can be a good idea to come up with some rules before taking inventory, such as, if you have not used an item in the last year or two and it is not a family heirloom, it may be time to part with it. Having a rule like this in place can help keep the process on track.
- Consider the space you will have in your new home. Before you begin decluttering, it is helpful to know what will need to be moved, and what can go in the donation pile. In other words, if you are an empty nester couple moving to a smaller home now that your kids are out of the house, you will likely need to purge some furniture because it will likely not all fit. If you are moving to a larger home, do not be deceived. You may have room in the new home to store everything you currently have, but it is still wise to consider whether or not you really need to move it all.
- Work through your home room by room when decluttering. With your general inventory of what is already in your home in mind, it is now time to actively and systematically begin downsizing. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, most experts recommend going room by room. Don’t forget closets, cabinets, attics, basements, garages, etc. Remember, the goal is to avoid moving things you have duplicates of or do not use. To help keep the process organized, people are highly encouraged to have several boxes or bags marked Keep, Donate, and Trash. If you are not packing as you go, you may just need two containers for Donate and Trash. The next step is to go through your home room by room and ask yourself if each item is something you should keep, donate, or trash. At the end of this sorting, trash can go to the trash bin. What to do with donated items may require a little more thought, which leads to the next item on the list.
- Decide what to do with donated items. When you have a substantial pile of items to donate, the next step is to decide how you want to proceed. There are several options such as giving special items to friends and family, donating the items to a church or Goodwill, or gathering them up to have a garage sale before you move. Gifting the items to an organization that helps those in need can be the least time-consuming option, and if you keep a record of what is donated it may be beneficial to have that on hand when submitting your income taxes. Giving items to family and friends requires that they do indeed want the item, as well as coordinating a time and place to get it to them. And while a garage sale can be by far the most time consuming, it is also a great way to make some money to help pay for your move.
- Start small. If you aren’t sure where to start and how to declutter, it is best to start small. Consider working in your pantry first and throw out any food that is past its expiration date. Then move to a medicine cabinet and properly dispose of any medications that have expired. Working through these small spaces with a definitive method should better equip you to continue decluttering throughout the rest of your home. Closets are a great place to downsize as well. Consider throwing away clothes that are damaged or have holes, and donate those that no longer fit your size or lifestyle.
- Switch to more compact storage methods. Particularly when you have lived in the same place for many years, storage methods change for some items such as movies, pictures, and documents. For example, VCR movies were replaced by DVDs, and now many have moved on to streaming services. Many documents and pictures can now be stored digitally. And some hard copies of documents may no longer need to be stored and instead should be shredded for security purposes. Think about what items you may currently own that need to either be discarded or updated in how they are stored. This could save you a significant amount of room in packing boxes.
- Buy new items after the move. If a new home requires some additional pieces of furniture, consider waiting until you arrive at your destination to purchase these items. This will keep you from having to pay the movers to transport new furniture, and it may also be more advantageous to wait and see how things fit in the new home so you have a better idea of what size furniture is best. Should you have an old recliner you have been wanting to exchange for a new one, wait until arriving at your new home to do so.
Downsizing is an involved process, but it can also be good for the mind and body. Experts say that a cluttered home can cause mental distress in some homeowners. Think of the freedom that a streamlined move will have and how much less packed and crowded your new home could be.
Benefits of Decluttering Before You Move
The top 8 tips for downsizing before you move may not spur you onto action unless you can clearly see the benefits of this practice. Many people see the amount of work and organization required in decluttering and deem it simply not worth their time. Yet, moving items that should have been donated or thrown away takes time too…and it costs money. Either way, not streamlining your belongings can cost you, so why not choose the option that saves you money?
Some of the benefits of downsizing before you move include:
A cleaner move. It is not uncommon for someone cleaning out a basement, garage, or backyard shed to find items that have unwanted substances or inhabitants. If you live in a humid environment like Houston, some things in the garage could be taking on mold, which is something you definitely do not want to take with you to a new home. Other things that have been buried in a corner of the shed for years may have been subject to pest infestations, which can lead to harmful droppings and bacteria. By disposing of these items before a move, you can have a higher degree of confidence that what you are moving is clean.
More peace. Studies have shown that a messy and cluttered home can result in mental stress for the occupants. By evaluating the worth of the items in your current home and removing those that have none before you move, you are potentially contributing to a healthier and more relaxed state of mind in your new home.
Money savings. If you are still on the fence about the benefit of going to all this trouble, try decluttering one room. Give it your complete attention and be thorough. Look at the boxes containing items you have designated to be trashed, donated, or put in a garage sale. Now, multiply that amount by every room in your house. Calculate how many boxes that could add up to for the whole home if the number remained consistent per room. The result can indicate how many boxes you won’t be moving now that you’ve decluttered. When you think about how much it can cost to move each box, your potential savings should be clear!
By adopting these 8 tips for downsizing before you move, it can make the process easier and yield a more pleasant environment in your new home. Give yourself the gift of a fresh start when you are moving in and unpacking. All it takes is a little time up front before the move to ensure a clean slate on move in day.