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How to Decide What to Get Rid of When Moving: 5 Tips

When moving, you take on the monumental task of combing through everything you’ve accumulated over the past few years — or maybe twenty or more! Here are five tips on how to decide what should go with you and what doesn’t make the cut.
When moving, you take on the monumental task of combing through everything you’ve accumulated over the past few years — or maybe twenty or more! Here are five tips on how to decide what should go with you and what doesn’t make the cut.


Moving is the absolute best time to start minimizing the amount of stuff you own, especially if you’re downsizing. Start off in your new home without bringing your mess and clutter with you. And if you’re planning to move in the near future, but haven’t yet signed on the dotted line, save yourself some stress by starting now! A decluttered home will have an easier time selling.

Here are five tips to make sure you can start fresh in your new place.

Go Room By Room

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you own — so much so that it paralyzes you into never going through the clutter. Your best chance of keeping at it is to attack one room at a time, starting with the one you use the least. Break your process into small manageable pieces.

For example, if you know you’re moving in six weeks, agree to go through the garage the first week, the basement the second, the office and playroom the third, etc. If you’re moving in a shorter time frame, expedite your planning timeline

Starting with the least used rooms first serves two purposes. First, it creates a space to store boxes you’ve prepped for the big move, and they’ll provide you with momentum in your great purge. The items in these rooms are ones you probably use less often than those in your bedroom or kitchen.

Begin Now

Start now with going through all the items in your home to prepare for your move. Moving day may seem an eternity away, but trust us — it’ll come quickly. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to face emotional decisions like how much of Great Grandma Ruth’s china to keep, or if you should hang on to the green spandex bodysuit you wore to parties in college.

Start With the Easy Stuff

Once you get going on getting rid of some of the stuff weighing you down, you may find it’s somewhat therapeutic — fun even! The hardest part is getting started, so kick off the purge by attacking some of the easy wins. Here are some things to downsize are easy to start with:

  • Old, worn, or unflattering clothes
  • Old or oddly-colored paint
  • Instruction manuals for items you may not even own anymore
  • Books
  • Anything expired — spices, medications, pantry items, makeup, etc.
  • Dishes, unnecessary kitchen gadgets, and — gasp! — plastic containers without matching lids
  • Sheets and towels
  • Ancient forms of media like old magazines, CDs, DVDs, or cassette tapes
  • Anything broken, useless, or missing a piece or part


When you go through each room, bring three boxes with you. Label one with the name of the room and the other two as donate/sell and throw/recycle. Let’s be honest, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that is dying to use your old toilet bowl scrubber so you need a trash box to toss it in.

We are often more willing to part with an item if we know it may be useful to someone else. But, before you bring that donation box to Goodwill, make sure to weed out any stained clothing items or items that are past their useful life.

Define the Rules

It’s way easier to make decisions if you have some guidelines to help. In the minimalism movement, there’s a useful mantra of “20 Dollars, 20 Minutes.” This is especially useful for those items you’re saving “just in case.” You might be thinking, “Hey! You’ll never know when I’ll need that extra hardware from my baby’s crib!” The rule says that if it costs less than $20 and 20 minutes of your time to acquire again, don’t hesitate to trash it. Start fresh, baby!


If you’re selling your home in the near future, employ the help of an experienced real estate agent to make sure you sell fast and for top dollar. Clever Partner Agents are top-rated real estate agents from major brands — like Century 21 or Keller Williams — who are experts in their local markets.

They offer the same full service as other agents, the only difference is that they have agreed to work for a flat fee of $3,000, or 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000. This means the same quality service of other agents, but keep more money in your pocket.

Partner Agents can also help if you’re looking to buy a home. Besides helping you uncover cost-savings opportunities, these local, trusted real estate agents also offer on-demand showings — sometimes in less than an hour — so you know you won’t miss out on your dream home. Plus, you’re eligible for a $1,000 buyer’s rebate on any home you purchase for more than $150,000 (in 40 states).


Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter is the Outreach Coordinator at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents to help save on commission. He spreads the word about Clever, disseminating studies to journalists and developing relationships with media outlets. Reuven is passionate about investing in real estate and creating lasting success for families. His writing has been featured in Max Real Estate Exposure, Leverage Marketing, and more.

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