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How To Declutter for a Move: Ten Tips

Earlier this year, we decided to move ourselves from a large home in California to a smaller home in Utah. Thus began what will be known as The Great De-Cluttering of 2017. By nature, I am a sentimental saver. Preparing for this move forced me to examine all of our belongings and make some tough decisions. Along the way, I discovered some truths that helped me in my efforts. 



1. Letting go of an item is not the same as letting go of a person. 

2. Letting go of a gift that commemorated an important event does not cause the event to never have happened. 

3. Splitting a set is OK. Really. I use dinner plates, salad plates, and bowls, but I don't have a need for mugs, saucers, nor bread plates. Why waste precious cupboard space on items I don't use? I kept what I use and donated the rest. 

4. Acknowledge that needs change. I used to bake 6 loaves of bread at a time, weekly. Now I seldom bake bread, and when I do, I bake at most 2 loaves. I kept 2 pans, and got rid of the rest.

5. If you are selling your items, keep in mind what your primary purpose is. In my case, the main goal was to declutter. Any money made was just a bonus. We did have a garage sale, but we priced items to sell. Also consider giving items away. Between friends, local buy-sell-trade-giveaway groups, and charitable organizations, we were able to significantly decrease the number of items we had to move.

6. Start early. I can not emphasize this enough. If you think you will ever move anytime during your life, start yesterday. Decluttering will take longer than you imagine. Once you begin, make it a way of life. 

7. Stay focused. Work on one area at a time.

8. Notwithstanding tip #7, if you find yourself getting bogged down, work on another area for a while, then come back to the area where you started. 

9. Decluttering is messy. Try to maintain a semblance of order during the process, to keep from becoming overcome by the clutter. When gathering things together for the garage sale, keeping certain areas of the house tidy gave me a place to relax for a moment and just breathe. Similarly, when you've emptied a cupboard, closet, or area, put the items away before proceeding. 

10. Decluttering can happen on both sides of the move. When you get to your new place, take a good hard look at what actually works in the space you have. Getting rid of something doesn't mean you don't like it or appreciate it; it means it doesn't work for you in your current situation. As you unpack, if you don't have room for a particular item, feel free to let it go. 

I'm currently on #10. To be honest, it's hard work and I'm getting tired. However, I think back to when our house was on the market. During that time, we had most of our things in storage, and we enjoyed the freedom that comes with living minimally. If I want to enjoy that feeling of peace, I need to choose carefully what I allow into my home. It's an ongoing process, but one that is rewarding, and gets easier with practice.

Have you tackled a decluttering project? Do you have any tips or advice that I missed?




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Comments

  1. Terry just read a good book called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo. Have you read it? I'm going to read it next .

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    Replies
    1. I've heard of it, but I haven't read it yet. I probably should, for a boost in the arm!

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  2. Great tips and insights. I especially like #1-3 & 5.

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  3. Good tips, Kristi! I used to move a lot and went through this process every time I moved, so I had little clutter for a long time. When we first moved to Oregon we rented a tiny cottage, less than 1,000 sq feet, so we put a lot of our stuff in storage. There was no room for anything extra, so if I pondered buying something new, I had to also decide what I would get rid of to make room for it. Good discipline.
    When we bought a house 3 years later, all that stuff was still in storage -- proving we obviously didn't really need any of it. Good lesson learned!

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    Replies
    1. It is amazing how little one really needs. I'm still in the process of decluttering and downsizing. I still have lots of room for improvement, but I haven't given up!

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  4. OK, this answers my question of are you moving! How exciting but I hope I never have to move again! Ever! It really is so much work. Good luck with Declutter 2017!

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    Replies
    1. It is a ridiculous amount of work! Perhaps by this time next year, we'll be settled. 😊

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  5. Two and a half years ago we downsized from a five bedroomed house to a much smaller three bedroomed property. We made numerous donations to charity shops, the local tip and to second hand bookstores. We still ended up bringing too much with us . I was always thinking about when the family might come and visit and wanting to keep beds, bedding, cooking utensils , crocks etc etc , for that time. I have discovered that we still have too much and have made a plan to declutter before Christmas this year. Your post has given me the inspiration to start.Thanks
    gramswisewords.blogspot.com

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