How to Declutter Before a Move

How to Declutter Before a Move

Do you know what is one of the hardest parts of a move? Packing up ALLLLLLL of your stuff! That’s why I’m going to teach you how to declutter before a move.

Otherwise, when you start packing your stuff up you will be asking yourself: “Why is there so much of it? Where did it all come from?? What am I supposed to do with all of this???”

Great questions, but not much use when it’s time to pack up.

(Wondering how far in advance should you start purging and packing for a move? Use this 3-month moving timeline to stay on track)

There are better questions you should be asking yourself. Questions like :

  • “How much is this going to cost me to move?”
  • “Do I really want to pack, move, and unpack this again??”
  • “Is this really worth all that hassle?” 

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and DECLUTTER your house before you move. And I’m going to walk you through the process, step-by-step.

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What to Consider When You Are Thinking About Moving

Checklist for Decluttering Your House

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3 Month Moving Timeline

How to Declutter Before a Move

Why You Should Declutter Before a Move

You need to declutter your home before you move. I guarantee you have stuff that you don’t need AND don’t want. People tend to accumulate a lot of random stuff over time. Moving is the perfect chance to get rid of it! 

Having to pack all your stuff up is the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your possessions. For instance, how many vases do you need? It can be a real shock when you are forced to confront the piles that have been lurking in your closets.

Less Stuff = Easier Move

The less stuff you have, the easier and less stressful your move will be. 

  • Less to pack
  • Less to move
  • Less to unpack
  • Less stress
  • MORE space to enjoy in your beautiful new home

Save Money by Decluttering BEFORE You Move

Purging before you move will save you money. It will save you money on packing supplies and on the cost of the actual move. Regardless of whether you are renting a truck or having someone do all the work for you, less stuff = cheaper move.

BONUS – you can make a little extra cash by selling some of the stuff you are getting rid of.

move, key, new apartment

How to Declutter

Decluttering can be really overwhelming! But I promise you that once you get started, you will find that it is not so bad. You just have to actually start.

So when it comes time to start purging, don’t freeze up! Take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves, and get to work clearing that crap out!

Give Yourself Enough Time

I strongly suggest not trying to declutter your whole house two weeks before a move. Just… please don’t. Unless you thrive on that level of hair-raising chaos. Or if you plan on just pushing all of your stuff out the door and moving with only your favorites clothes and electronics. Which is a totally valid way of moving; very minimalist. 

Generally, though, you want to start going through your stuff as far ahead as possible. I think that you should have MOST of your purging down AT LEAST 1 month before the move.

I like to go through things multiple times, because I will always, without fail, find more things to get rid of the second and third times through.

You can also try to do it all in one go if you’d like, Marie Kondo style. If you choose this method, try to get it done well ahead of your move. Marie Kondo’s method is very focused and thoughtful and you shouldn’t try to complete it at the same time as you are focused on all of your other moving tasks.

OR, if you would prefer to take a more scorched earth approach to decluttering, than you can make a list of the things you would like to KEEP in each room and then get rid of everything else.

And of course, if you need to move very suddenly, you can get this whole purging thing done as quickly as you need to. But you need to get your mind right and be absolutely RUTHLESS with yourself because you won’t have time for dilly-dallying.

Get Your Mindset Right

Before you start, get your mindset right. Remind yourself WHY you want to get rid of stuff. Think about how nice it will feel to offload a bunch of dead weight. Imagine what a pain it will be to pack and move and unload. 

Remember, it’s just stuff. All of it. Don’t guilt yourself into keeping things. Only keep the things that you really honestly want (or need).

Questions to Ask Yourself

As you are going through your house, whether you break it down by room or by category of item, ask yourself these questions over and over:

  • What do I want to keep? Without looking, what things come to mind? What do you know, without thinking about it or looking through your stuff, that you want to keep?
  • Do I want this enough to pack it up, move it, and find a place for it in my new home?
  • Will this cost me more to move than to replace? Large and heavy items (like furniture) are more likely to fit in this category
  • Is this replaceable? Some things are purely sentimental and that’s ok. But make sure that you aren’t using this argument as an excuse to hold onto all sorts of random things.
  • Can I live without this? This is always an interesting thought experiment. What’s the bare minimum you could move with? Maybe some clothes and toiletries? Don’t bring things just because; have a reason.
  • Is this a duplicate of something I already have? Do I really need 3 cake platters? 
  • When was the last time I used this? The timeline for this is going to depend on what kind of item it is. For instance, seasonal decor is only used once a year-ish but if you have a small kitchen appliance that you haven’t touched in 3-6 months, I would think reeeaaally hard about tossing it.
  • Do I like this? It’s amazing how many things you hold onto that you don’t even like. Why are keeping them? Guilt? Fear that you may regret getting rid of it? Life’s too short to surround yourself with stuff you don’t even want.
retro, vintage, kitchen

Decluttering Checklist

If you want a big ol’ checklist of things to declutter, check out my checklist for decluttering your home. This great resource has 105 things to purge now, broken down by room. This is the easiest way to get going if you aren’t sure where to start.

What To Do With the Stuff You are Getting Rid Of

If you’re like me, the decluttering part isn’t so bad. It’s getting everything you are getting rid of out of the house that trips you up! In my house, I go through everything and then it’s my husband’s job to get rid of it all. Generally, though, you have three options for what to do with your extra stuff:

  1. Sell
  2. Donate
  3. Trash


This can be a great way to make a little extra cash. You can try selling your stuff a bunch of different ways:

  • Facebook marketplace
  • Craiglist
  • Nextdoor
  • Garage sale
  • Consignment shops


If you don’t want to be bothered trying to sell something or it isn’t worth the trouble, give it away! Have a decluttering party. Invite your friends and family (and their friends and family) to come over and take what they want. You’ll feel good knowing someone will get good use out of it AND you don’t have to worry about lugging it off somewhere else.

Anything that’s leftover, donate to a local thrift store or charitable organization. But please please only donate things that are USABLE. Don’t donate trash! Which brings me to your last option.


If it’s trash, THROW IT OUT. Don’t donate your stained ripped clothes and half-used notebooks. Just don’t. No one wants your trash!. I know it can feel wasteful to throw things out, but just suck it up and do it. Don’t offload the work onto someone else.

home, view, house

Now that we’ve gone through the WHY and HOW of decluttering before you move, it’s up to you to get going and actually do it. Take pictures of all the stuff you purge – it’s deeply satisfying!

What’s your favorite decluttering tip?

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