Let's say you are getting ready for a big move either local or long-distace, you look around and realize how much "stuff" you have in your space, no matter a big home or small apartment. No matter where you are going - it basically all boils down to the same process. You think about how much work it is going to be to move all this "stuff".
In order to start getting rid of things you need to be able to take time to sort out EVERYTHING! The more time you have, to plan your move, the easier everything will be. Now you are just stuck deciding on what to toss, sell or donate. To get the ball rolling, here is a step-by-step guide, which offers practical advice to teach you how to quickly and efficiently sell and/or donate your belongings. Ready to get started? Let’s go:
Question: Why declutter before you move?
Answer: 1. It saves time. 2. It saves money. 3. Lowers stress. 4. Eases unpacking and cleaning.
1. Dedicate a spare room in your home and fill it with the possessions that you want to get rid of. A garage would work well, or if you’re running low on space, then place items in a specific corner inside each room of your home.
2. Travel from room to room and take inventory of all the items that you come across. Pay careful attention to items that are in storage or haven’t been used in quite some time. Then, make yourself a promise: if you haven’t used the item in the last 2-3 years (and you can’t picture yourself using it in the near future), then it’s time to say goodbye! Keep going until you have finished covering the entire premises of your home.
3. All done? Now it’s time to go through your findings and make 4 separate piles: one for items that are in good condition to KEEP another for DONATIONS another for SELL and the last one is a pile for TOSS. Make sure to dispose of all hazardous materials and combustibles and any items that are no longer in satisfactory condition.
For keep - Don’t let your feelings cover your judgment and keep only what you know you are going to use. Be strict on the process or it will be worthless.
Sell - One man’s trash is another ones treasure so they say… Think twice before donating. This if someone could really benefit from whatever you are trying to sell. You can sell your belongings on online, (Kijiji, ebay, etc.)
Donate - Some of your belongings might not be worth too much. That doesn’t mean you have to throw them away. There is always the option to donate to a local charity or some of your friends.
Throw - If it is broken, needs repair or has been sitting in the same place for years, it’s ready to throw it away.
4. Now it’s time for the fun part! Start by offering your unused items to friends and family. Let them know what’s available. When they’ve made their choices, you can start advertising your electronics, jewelry and clothing by using an online classified website (such as Craigslist or Kijiji) or placing an ad in a local paper. For larger items, such as furniture, art and antiques, visit a local consignment shop. All other items should be donated to a local charity.
5. When it comes to packing your food, consider donating your non-perishable items to a local food bank. AMJ Campbell Kingston, has partnered with a non-profit organization called, Move For Hunger. When we come to your home either on your pack or move day, set aside any non-perishable food items aside and let one of our AMJ Campbell team members know about your donation. We will gladly take it away from you and donate it.
Last Minute Tips
- Make a list of items you plan on taking to your new home and a list of things to sell, donate and toss.
- If you can, don’t put a time limit to decluttering. Try to aim for one room a day or weekend. Set a reminder on your smart phone or calendar. Take your time and don’t try to clean your whole home in one weekend.
- Buy proper storage bins that are sturdy enough to hold enough weight. Example don’t pack books in a big plastic bin. It's best to find plastic bins with lids to transfer items.
There is no need to pack up 5 spatulas, wooden spoons with cracks, or 40 coffee mugs that you have collected on your travels. All these items will eventually clog up your new kitchen. They key is to pick a couple (split collection in half, pick a few favourites) that are all in good shape. The rest can be sold, tossed or donated depending on the shape.
Toss all expired food, this one is obvious but some people’s pantries are still filled with a few items that expired last fall.
If you are the entertaining type and like to collect mismatched pots and pans, cutlery, glasses or dishes try and sort out a few favourites. These items may work when serving a big crowd but not while moving.
Every household has a junk drawer in their kitchen. Clean out the old pens pencils and rubber bands that were once around the newspaper. Don’t forget to keep the organizers (if you had any).
You can recycle all those plastic food containers that have cut marks or stains.
Don’t feel guilty about those broken items with missing pieces. These things may be items you can no longer use. Try and recycle when you can, although some things you may have to toss in the garbage.
Most magazines you have (that you probably haven’t read and won’t read) can be recycled or the newer ones can be donated. If you have any up-to-date magazines, consider taking them to local doctor's offices, hair salons, etc.
Gift bags and boxes and random promotional items take a up a bunch a room in a closet. You can clear your closet with getting rid of these items as they are only used once a year.
When you are cleaning your closet do you ever find yourself picking out the items you just threw in the donate pile because “you may wear it again someday” or has “sentimental value”? Use the rule if you haven’t worn it in the past year, if it isn’t your size, needs repair, not age appropriate - it’s time to part ways. Exclude excessive accessories. When was the last time you wore those earrings, belt, shoes or hat? If you can’t remember….. TOSS!
Do you collect shampoo, conditioner, lotions, and hair product? You test them out and end up not liking it, but you feel too guilty to throw away that whole bottle of conditioner. Donate these items to homeless shelter. Clean the linen closet; all those old towels and blankets can be donated to the human society.
Shred those files you won’t need and if you think you will need them at some point, scan them! Donate the books you have read or never intend to read. If you need storage bins for paper, bankers boxes or file boxes are the best. Don’t buy them until you know how many you need.
CD's, DVD's and books tend to take up a ton of room. Sort through your favouites and donate the rest.
Furniture & Décor
Make sure the items you want (bed, dresser, appliances, kitchen table, china cabinet) have a place in your new home. Keep the pieces you love or that you will repurpose. Don’t let the pieces that you say you want to refinish sit in the garage, take up much needed space and collect dust.
If you want to get rid of some furniture donate or sell it. This means you may have to create a whole new look if it’s in your budget! Don’t get rid of everything, just the things that you are tired of looking at. Don’t hold on to it if that picture that has faded in the sun or are hoping that crystal bowl comes back in style.
There is always an option for storage while selling your home. You may want a place to store those personal items, camping gear, Christmas ornaments or anything that is taking up too much space. The key is to clear countertops, eliminate personal photos or items, fridge magnets, and especially move furniture away from the walls.