Top 12 Tips to Help Declutter Before Your Move

Cut out the unnecessary before you move to a smaller home. Letting go emotionally is a big step - and a step that must be taken before you take the downsizing journey.


1.  Start with Rooms You Use the Least.

Begin with guest bedrooms, basements or living rooms that are rarely used. Start the sorting process in these rooms and avoid cluttering the areas of the home used regularly.

2.  Start with Large Items.

In order to fell you are making progress, start with the largest items in each room and move to the smallest.

3.  Have a Sorting System.

You can develop your own system but you can use up to 10 sorting categories. Sort items into these categories using stickers, making piles or making detailed lists of what stays, what goes and where it goes.

4.  If in Doubt, Keep it for Now.

Expect that you will change your mind many times over the coming months. One day you will want to keep something and the next day will want to dump it. This is normal, so if in doubt, put it in the "Keep It" pile until you are sure.

5.  Work in Scheduled Blocks of Time.

Plan to sort items for periods of no more that two hours at a time. The process of revisiting memories and making decisions about times you have had for many years can be emotionally difficult. You will feel less overwhelmed and make better decisions if you take regular breaks.

6.  Start Early and Don’t Rush Yourself.

Be sure to plan plenty of time for the sifting and sorting process. Work at a pace that is comfortable for you. Take moments to read old letters, laugh and grieve for losses. If you can’t decide what to do wit an item,. Set it aside and return to it later.

7.  Have the Kids Remove Their Stuff.

Don’t hesitate to tell the adult children it’s time to collect their childhood belongings. Give them a deadline and warning that anything left behind will be donated to charity. You will probably be surprised at how much they decide not to store themselves.

8.  Be Sure Everyone Gets Something Special.

In order to avoid disagreements among adult children and other family members, create a system for who gets what, and make it clear what is available for the taking. One idea is to have each member place colour coded stickers on items they would like. Another option is to have each family member take turns choosing items. If disagreements occur, encourage members to negotiate amongst themselves. Someone may be willing to trade an item with financial worth for something with more sentimental value.

9.  Know Values Before you Dump.

Before tossing anything out, you would be wise to hire someone who can give you an objective opinion of values. All too often, things you perceive as valuable, turn our to be valueless, while things that you perceive to have little value, end up having considerable worth.

10. Selling Your Goods.

When selling high end goods, try a reputable auction house. Then look for reputable antique and second hand dealers. Often, they can buy all of your items or put you in touch with other speciality dealers. If you can’t sell an item, donate it to charity and get a tx receipt. The rest, you must let go .... and yes, sometimes you must pay to have it taken away. Think of this as an opportunity to start fresh, perhaps try a new decorating style or colour scheme. Once it’s over, you will find it a liberating experience.

11. Use Floor Plans to Pre-arrange Furniture Before the Move.

If you have floor plans of your new place, this another useful reality check. Layout the furniture that you will be taking with you and then take a realistic look at the plan. If you’ve crammed in side tables, armoires and chairs, you need to edit more. Don’t wait until after the move to contend with furniture you will just end up tripping over.

12. Use a Colour Coded Packing System.

Once you start packing, choose a colour for each room and mark the items and boxes destined for that room with a colour sticker. This will moving day a lot more organized.

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