How To Declutter Before Moving House – A Minimalist’s Guide
2nd October 2018

How To Declutter Before Moving House – A Minimalist’s Guide

Regardless of whether you’ve moved numerous times before or never at all, one thing you will quickly realise when you move home is that you own A LOT of stuff.

In fact, new research indicates the UK hoards five times more clutter than its European counterparts, using 37.6 million square foot of storage space, which equates to a staggering 268,500 removal vans!

More items mean more time spent packing. And the more you have to pack the more stressful the process becomes. Of course, some items (furniture and beds) we simply can’t do without, while other items (cherished family heirlooms) are simply too valuable to throw away.

A declutter is a great way to take stock of your possessions and prepare yourself for moving. If the prospect of a declutter alone is stressing you out however, fear not for we have broken down the core elements into some simple, easy to follow steps.

Get organised

You should declutter as you pack for your move. Before you get started however make sure you have the following equipment to hand:

  • Packing and storage boxes
  • Labels for boxes
  • Black bin liners
  • Charity bags
  • Sticky tape
  • Cleaning materials, including vacuum and wet wipes

It’s also a good idea to pack an ‘essentials box’ containing items you will need immediately when you move into your new home. Think clothes, toiletries, essential medications, food and anything else which you need to access straight away, such as the kettle for a well-earned cup of tea!

Declutter one room at a time

Approach one room at a time, carefully considering each item before either deciding to pack it or bin it (you might also consider selling it or donating it to charity but we’ll discuss that further below).

You should clean the room as you go as this often throws up hidden or lost items and saves you time going back over later. The kitchen is a great place to start as this is often the biggest offender. How many tea and dining sets can one family accumulate? Trust us, you’d be surprised!

The next place to declutter is the bedroom, and in particular the wardrobe. A recent study showed that more than a third of women in the UK have an item in their wardrobe with the price tag still on, and almost half buy shoes they’ll never wear. That long red dress you wore to the work Xmas party might have looked great, but if you’ve never worn it again since, it might be time to ditch it.

Plan in advance for heavy or difficult to move items such as furniture or pianos. If you are bringing them with you make sure to inform your removals company so that they can equip themselves with the right equipment to move it for you without dropping or damaging it.

Keep an inventory

Use labels on boxes to remember what you have packed away in each. Additional labels such as ‘keep’, ‘donate’ or ‘throw’ allow you to easily place where they need to go or how to dispose of them.

Another method is to use a notepad app like Evernote to note what is where and any other further instructions which may be useful such as instructions on reassembling.  Some people also like to take pictures to help visualise where everything is while they declutter.

Sell unwanted items

The reason why we hoard so much is often attributed to sentimentality. A study by found more than one in two (56%) British women, and four in ten (43%) British men, said they struggled to get rid of things that have sentimental value.

Of course, certain prized possessions need to be kept, but with other ‘non-essential’ items try and separate emotions from the process and decide whether you really need the item or will likely use it again.

Some questions you might ask yourself include:

  • Are you keeping this item out of habit?
  • Does the item still work or fit?
  • Do you have any future uses for it?
  • Would someone else be able to make better use of it?

Donating the item to charity for someone else who might use it in the future ensures its continued value. Likewise, placing items for sale on notice boards, auction sites and bootsale apps like Shpock is a great way to raise additional funds to spend on things you need for your new home.

Go paperless (or as much as possible)

As Baz Luhrman once advised ‘keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements’. We tend to accumulate masses of bills and statements over our lifetime which we no longer need or can choose to file electronically.

This is often the most arduous of the declutter tasks but is an important one. Check whether you need to retain anything longer and dispose of any unneeded files or documents by shredding safely and securing.

If transferring files into electronic format only be sure to back up hard drives. Check your portable devices are working before you do and that you have correctly synced anything onto any cloud-based software you are using.

Need help to declutter?

Decluttering is a laborious but rewarding process and once you are done you will feel reinvigorated about moving. Planning a declutter well ahead of your move also helps things run that bit more smoothly on the day and gives you additional peace of mind.

There are plenty of decluttering services out there which can assist you. For help planning your move don’t hesitate to give GoodMove a call today. GoodMove have helped plan out and execute thousands of moves and strive to deliver an excellent value for money service for each of its customers.

GoodMove also offer storage facilities, so if you’re downsizing, or need some more time to think about what you want to do with your belongings they can offer excellent rates and are flexible on times.

Its also worth pointing out the process for decluttering when moving an office is slightly different. Read our top tips on stress-free office removals here.