Squeezing all your belongings into boxes may not be a fun way to spend your free time before you move. In fact, packing and unpacking were ranked as the top relocation-related aggravations in a 2013 survey from self-storage unit marketplace SpareFoot.
But here’s another way to look at it: Movinginsider.com says decluttering before a move can be a freeing experience, leaving you more time to focus on the things that are really important in your life.
We couldn’t agree more. Before you wrap up a single cereal bowl or framed photo, try the following tips to avoid moving a ton of unnecessary items into your new home.
- Assess your possessions: Determine what you’d like to save — and what you should toss — by carefully examining the contents in each room of your house. In each room, Movinginsider.com recommends simplifying the process by dividing objects into piles based on what you plan to donate, sell and throw out.
- Don’t pack tons of paper: Shred old documents and junk mail to avoid moving unnecessary paper items (and having to sort through them in your new home).
- Get rid of extras and things you don’t plan to fix:Duplicate items you don’t need, gifts you never loved and broken belongings worth less than their repair cost are all candidates for being tossed.
- Sort through bathroom stuff and cleaning supplies:Chances are there are some worn items you can discard. Online freight marketplace website Uship suggests throwing away anything inexpensive that you can replace when you move — like a toilet brush — and any empty shampoo bottles or other used-up (or nearly used up) toiletries and cleaning supplies.
- Get rid of old garments: According to Elle magazine, here’s the key to a successful closet clean-out: Inventory what you own by arranging clothes in piles to store, keep and potentially throw away, and then remove any items you haven’t worn for a year. The same principles apply to packing.
- Be honest with yourself: Ask yourself if each object will save you money or fill a specific need — and also consider where it will fit in your new home. If you can’t think of a space or a use, pack that belonging in your garbage can, or consider donating, recycling or selling it at a garage sale.
Once you do start packing, moving company Mayflower suggests starting with things you rarely use. Listing the intended room and contents on each package can also help when it’s time to unpack.