very cluttered basement

Decluttering a home can be a challenge no matter when you do it, but doing it just before moving can be extra stressful. Moving is stressful anyway, even if you are excited about it. We keep things in our homes either on purpose or just because we forget to throw them out; and before a move, we have to confront all the things we still have. So, here are a few tips on how to confront those things and declutter before a move.


If it is old, get rid of it. Some things get weaker or begin to degrade with age. They should no longer be used. In an ideal world, we would all have lists of when things will expire and get rid of them then, but no one is perfect. When disposing of medications and chemicals, be sure to follow local laws and regulations as there may be designated centers for taking these items to.

Last Six Months Rule

Have you used it in the last six months? Do you expect to use it in the next six? If the answer is no, get rid of it, unless replacing it is difficult and expensive, and you need it occasionally. You can shorten this time frame for cheaper items. Get rid of anything that can be replaced but that you do not use. Then if you need it at some point, you can buy a new one. Some examples of this are that second turkey pan you got when you bought the disposable cooking pans last year. They are $2. Do not pack that and take it with you to your new home.

Value vs. Cost

Keep things of value regardless of cost. What is the value to you? Your grandmother will not mind if you ditch the tee-shirt that is disintegrating. Replace it, toss it, or find a new use for it. However, that silly teddy bear from the state fair that grandpa won you when you were five, it has sentimental value. It contains memories in its stuffing. You do not have to toss those things, even if you do not use them. However, if you have taped up your favorite brush 17 times, it is time to throw it out and buy a new one. It has outlived its value. Likewise, that super expensive bread machine that you hate using, do not use and will not use, should just be donated to charity. It may have cost a lot, but it has no value. Get rid of it.


When getting rid of things, consider how to reorganize them. One thing to do is to use multiple storage bins when preparing to move. One is for donations, one is for dumping in the trash, and one is for keeping. Try to place things in the bins in order to maximize how many things go into one bin. Also, consider the space you are moving to. Is the new home more organized? Does it have more storage space? If so, you may be able to keep more things, but if you are downsizing, think about where you will store things. They may seem less appealing if you have to create additional space for them.

Recruit Help

If you are a borderline hoarder, but your sister is the queen of clean, call her to help you declutter before a move. Recruit people to help you reorganize and decide what you need and what you do not. Sometimes your maybe pile becomes more of a no than a yes when someone else is helping. You have trouble seeing the uselessness of a cherry pitter when you think it is cool. Your sister knows it may be cool, but if you have not bought cherries that needed pitting in three years, you can give it up.

Single-Use Items

Speaking of bread machines, cherry pitters, and aluminum turkey roasting pans, get rid of single-use items. If it has one function and if you do not require that function regularly, get rid of it. You can purchase goods that have multiple functions. A strawberry capper may be neat, but a small melon baller, spoon, or knife can be just as useful. Stop holding on to a million things that have one use only.


Save these until last. Some things look like they have no value like the teddy bear we talked about, but they are invaluable to you. These things are okay to keep. If you have things you like, but you just can’t keep them, take a photo of them or offer them to friends. Then you can see them when you visit your friends. Grandma’s costume jewelry may bring back fond memories, but broken faux pearls are probably not going to make you happy or have much use. It is okay to let them go.


Get rid of clothing that does not fit and will not anytime soon. Those jeans from 1993 will not fit next week. If you lose weight, you deserve a new outfit, so just buy new jeans. If it is a wedding dress or other formal wear, consider having it preserved. Otherwise, toss old clothing out with the trash or send it to a donation facility.

Final Thoughts

Decluttering can be challenging. Clothing, shoes, and kitchen gadgets seem to trip people up the most. Have friends and family or decluttering experts like HappyCleans, help you determine what you need and what you do not. Take a page from Marie Kondo’s book and get rid of things that do not bring you joy. That does not mean quitting your job or tossing your vacuum. They have functions, but the six-inch skillet is not going to suddenly become useful for a five-person family. Start slow, take your time, and do your best.

Finding Help with Moving Professionals

We hope you found this blog post on Decluttering Your Home Prior to Moving useful. Be sure to check out our post Tips On How to Declutter Your Things Before a Move for more great suggestions!

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