How to Painlessly Purge Unneeded Stuff Before Moving

Perhaps one of the best things about moving is that it’s an opportunity to purge things from your life that are simply not working for you. Letting go can be tough, and it’s easy to suddenly add importance to items that meant little to you before the move planning began. Maybe it’s not your teenager’s teddy bear from 10 years ago that’s making you tear up as much as the memories you have from that stage in your child’s life. There are ways to let go, but the key is not putting it off until the last minute. If your goal is to purge, start right away…before you list your home and before you hire a mover.

Start packing — temporarily

In this case, we aren’t telling you to start packing for your move. Put as much as you can in boxes. Depending on how much time you have before the move, you can start with just a few boxes at a time. If you find that you don’t miss anything in the boxes (especially kitchenware), it may be time to get rid of it. If you find yourself going to the boxes to pull out what you’ve packed, those items are likely keepers.

Digitize before you purge

Your children’s childhood stuffed animals, their trophies, even report cards (maybe especially report cards) bring back just as many memories in 2D as they do in 3D. Take pictures. Make a digital photo album of all the meaningful things and free yourself to let go. It’s also a great idea to digitize your old photos.

Give stuff away before the big purge

Ask your friends and coworkers if they want the items you’re giving away. Sometimes it’s better being able to see your favorite items being put to good use. Of course, donate anything your friends don’t want, as long as it’s in decent condition.

Turn your hangers around

This is another one that works best when you plan early. Turn all your hangers in your closet one direction. As you wear an item and hang it up again, turn the hanger the other direction. After a year in areas with more dramatic climates, or six months in California, you’ll have a very good idea of what clothes no longer fit with your lifestyle and what you can safely purge.

Organize your clothing drawers

When you fold clothes and put them in the drawers in piles, you’ll end up with clothes on the bottom that never see the light of day. Instead, fold the Marie Kondo way, where each item is folded in a way that makes your drawers like file drawers; you can see each item. This may seem weird, but to get the same result you get with your closet, turn each item inside-out and then once you’ve worn them, put them back in the drawer to the right side. Donate the clothes that are still inside-out before your move.