De-clutter Before Moving: Tips for Packing Less and Tossing More

Here's how to make sure you don’t take the clutter along with you when you're moving house

Credit: iStockphoto / flyfloor

Weed out anything you really don’t need before it gets packed into moving boxes

Moving house? Here’s how to make sure you don’t take the clutter along with you

Whether you’re an empty nester downsizing or a suburbanite heading to an urban abode, use your move as an opportunity to think smarter and smaller.

Start by re-evaluating how you live and de-accumulating accordingly (but don’t just junk: donate, sell or recycle).

7 Clutter Piles to Tackle Before You Start Packing

1. Weed out appliances. Toaster and toaster oven. Hand blender and blender. Stand mixer, food processor and mini chopper. See the pattern here? Sure, it’s great to have a blender on hand for those smoothies you whip up daily – or, realistically, never. Be honest about how you live and evaluate which appliances you use regularly. Ditch the rest.

2. Unmake your bed. Remember the bright white hotel-style duvet cover you purchased years ago that has turned an unsavoury shade of cream? And how about those T-shirt sheets Oprah opined about, so you outfitted your bed in them, only to wake up in a pool of sweat and instantly relegate them to the back of the closet? Three sets of bedding – max – are all you need. Ditto for towels.

3. Unload your magazines
. While for obvious reasons we recommend saving every issue of BC Home magazine, recycle any fashion mag that’s already a season behind, along with other time-sensitive material; Entertainment Weekly, for example. (Unless you need a reminder of what Charlie Sheen was like before he was “winning.”)

4. Be unsentimental. Let’s face it: that pinwheel crystal decanter you got as a wedding gift is still in the box and you never use grandma’s silver, which is actually silver-plate – and ugly. Add to the pile: postcards, birthday cards and gewgaws given away at sporting events. Unless you love it or it’s worth mucho moolah, get rid of it. Whenever you feel guilty, ask yourself what you want more: the space or the stuff?

5. Be a poor sport. If your closets and storage spaces look like mine, you’re harbouring equipment with which you can play tennis, racquetball, hockey, badminton, ping-pong, soccer and darts. Plus a jump rope, weights and a Frisbee. Add a couple of snowboards, bikes and helmets to the mix, not to mention the apparel and accessories that go with …. You know what to do (and so do I).

6. Grow up – your kids have. Your kids have flown the coop, but their bedrooms are still shrines. You certainly don’t have to trash their childhood artwork, but it might be time to let another family adopt Barbie and her stuffed-animal friends. Can’t part with the memories when you move? Offload the goods to your offspring and you’ll quickly learn how important the items really are.

7. Digitize your music
. Vinyl records and CDs take up a lot of space on shelves, in drawers and wherever else they linger. The iPod Classic can hold 40,000 songs – why not import your collection and spend your time listening to it instead of organizing it? (Be sure to back up your CDs on an external hard drive before selling them on eBay or giving them away.) Next step: choose a dozen records you can’t bear to banish from your collection and get rid of the rest, along with the yellow milk crates you’ve been carting them around in since the ’80s.