It’s time to move, but you don’t necessarily want to move every last bit of the clutter you’ve had hanging around your soon-to-be-former residence for years. Decluttering can help make your move easier and your new apartment set-up simpler, as well.
Here are some tips for decluttering in advance of a move.
Why the bathroom? Because if you start with your bedroom or office, you may end up looking at old photographs, souvenirs, or documents and deciding you just can’t afford to part with them right now. Your bathroom is less likely to have treasured photographs and more likely to have expired medicines, seven-eighths-empty bottles of shampoo, and washcloths worn to shreds — in short, stuff you won’t want to spend time moving. (The FDA offers advice on how to toss unwanted medicines, by the way.)
You’ll want a few trash bags, a shredder or scissors for old papers, and a permanent marker for labeling. If you plan on donating, rather than trashing, some of your old clothes or other belongings, have some cardboard boxes handy, as well.
If you don’t have a lot of time, getting rid of excess stuff in even one room will make your move a little shorter and less expensive. Try blocking out a short period of time to tackle, say, one closet or bedroom drawer, and work from there. Start small as you get a handle on how long the decluttering task will take.
This can be especially useful for clothes you no longer wear but which still have sentimental value. A photograph of that ragged T-shirt will remind you how you bought it on the boardwalk during that fantastic week at the beach… but the photograph will take up a lot less space in your closet!
If you’re wavering on an item, picture yourself pulling it out of a moving truck at the end of the day and trying to find the right place to put it. Is it worth it?
If you really can’t bring yourself to throw something away, but don’t know when you’ll next use it, put it in a box, seal the box, and give yourself a future date to open it — any time from two weeks to a year after your move. If the deadline comes and you haven’t opened the box yet, throw out or donate its contents.
If you didn’t use that blender in your old apartment, you probably won’t do much blending in your new home!
Decluttering won’t automatically make you feel free and easy; it can be stressful. Give yourself a little reward after a decluttering session, such as listening to music you enjoy or going out for ice cream.
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