Ten tips for decluttering before you move

Note from the author: Decluttering for a move is currently on my mind because, dear Sequim community, The Declutter Lady herself is relocating out of state. It has been a privilege to work with so many of you and your kind support has been deeply appreciated.


Whether or not you are planning to move in the near future, decluttering is a wise exercise. Not only is it the first step toward improving the value and salability of your home, but paring down your belongings can help reduce the cost of relocating.

And if you don’t plan to move any time soon, you can gain space in your current home in order to enjoy where you live now more fully.

Decluttering NOW also gives you a jumpstart on creating more organized space in your new home and simply makes it easier to unpack. If you are at a loss where to start, try these ten easy areas first:

• Expired food and medications. You know you’re not going to use this stuff, so dump it now. Donate food items that have not expired – but you know you’ll never use — to a local food pantry.

• Items still in the boxes from the last time you moved. Do you really want to pay to move this stuff again? Schedule time to quickly go through the boxes to make sure there is no “buried treasure” and let the rest go either to a local charity or the trash.

• Unfinished projects. If you are no longer knitting, donate your yarn stash to a worthy cause; give (or sell) your model railroad set to a local club. Don’t spend any more space, time or money on hobbies or projects that don’t bring you joy.

• Magazines and books. Everyone has reading material that they have no intention of rereading. Donate these appropriately; keeping in mind that even local libraries won’t take everything.

• Gifts you’ve never used. Donate these things rather than allowing them to continue taking up valuable space in your home. You can honestly tell the person who originally gave an item to you that you passed it on to someone who absolutely loved it – even if you don’t know who it is!

• Toss newspapers that are over a week old. Cut out that special article or recipe (or better yet, bookmark it online), file it appropriately and get rid of the rest. And don’t forget to cancel your subscriptions if you are moving out of the area!

• Get rid of clothes that no longer fit. It doesn’t matter if you plan to lose weight or if you think that particular style will come back; if the item doesn’t work for you RIGHT NOW, let it go.

• Limit keepsakes. Even if you’re saving stuffed animals and toys for grandchildren, consider setting limits. Save a few favorites and donate the rest to a local children’s charity.

• Schedule time to get your paper files in order. You may find that you can safely get rid of several pounds of paper if you take the time to look through your file cabinets, boxes and piles of documents.

• Scan documents if you can. If you’ve got old documents that you may need, scan them into digital files and get rid of the paper. Check with your accountant or the IRS for a list of documents that you should keep and try to let go of the rest by shredding or recycling.

You may still end up moving some items that are clutter, just remember to be proactive as you unpack and give those items away at your destination, rather than letting them take up space in your new home.



Brenda Spandrio, aka The Declutter Lady, is an organizing and productivity consultant. Contact her at or by calling 360-504-2520.


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