You FINALLY found the perfect place, all the documents are signed, and now you’re ready to start your new life. With a new home comes the possibility of the life you could have if you became your ideal self. Whether it’s coffee on the balcony or sinking into a plush chair as you catch up on your reading, you have to get the logistics out of the way first. Yes, moving. You’ve got to physically move all of your stuff from your old home to your new one.
You’ll have to work with sweaty movers (or getting sweaty yourself!). Before that, you need to pack up all of your belongings, otherwise you will be faced with broken dishes and lost boxes. And so it begins. Endlessly sorting through piles and piles of stuff. Unpacking. Throwing all that trash away. Tired just from thinking about it?
Soon, you begin to dread your new life.
But does it really have to be that hard? No.
Do you have to make a decision about everything and declutter from the onset.
Not necessarily, although it can help. If you are pressed for time, fear not, the tips below will help make the process as painless as possible.
Before Your Move
Remember, the key is to work in a realistic timeline. If you’ve got a few weeks, go slowly and declutter your items, only taking what you want and need.
If you’ve only got a few days (or a few hours!), then you may have to pack first and then declutter later. While it can be difficult, some action is better than no action.
Whatever the case may be for you, make as many decisions as you can before moving so that you don’t have to do twice the work.
Ready to get started? Let’s do this!
Gather Your Tools, Strategize and Plan
First, gather your tools: you’ll need a notepad, pen, pencil, and some markers, and possibly a tape measure. Next, figure out how many boxes you will need. Go for large boxes for most items, and small boxes for delicate items you can take over there yourself.
Whether you work with movers or whether this is a group effort, there are certain items that will go on a moving truck, and certain items you can take over yourself.
If you’re working with movers, keep items you will take on your own separate.
You can do this before the movers are scheduled to arrive, or you can do it on the day of the move, but it will be more hectic if you do it on the same day.
Keep an eye on the movers and be sure they put everything where you want it to go.
Identify Your Immediate Necessities
Next, make a list of things you will need immediately when you arrive at your new place. For most people, it’s basic personal products, hair care, and a fresh change of clothes and a pair of shoes.
When you start packing, keep that separate from everything.
Pack things that you could do without for a few days. Keep urgent items out.
Schedule Out Your Packing And Work Room By Room
Depending on the size of your home and your available time, you can allocate a half or whole day to each room.
Start by emptying out dressers, drawers, and other storage units. As you pack the items in boxes, label the boxes so that you know where the items came from (e.g., bedroom dresser) and what items are in the box (e.g., spare linens).
Wipe down furniture and bottles as you go to minimize any dirt or dust in your boxes.
Once Items Are Out – Start Decluttering
Take everything out of the storage unit so that you can see all the items, and then make immediate decisions to throw out items you no longer want.
If you don’t have time to declutter before you move, skip this step for now, but throw out obvious junk (empty bottles of products, damaged items, expired items).
Group like items into categories and put them into boxes.
Finally, put the items into boxes and containers that make sense (avoid storing clothing and liquids, flammable materials and fabric, items that could leak or contaminate the entire box).
As a general rule, keep liquids and breakables separate.
Number Each Box And Give It A Title
Don’t close up the boxes until you number them and write a descriptive title on each side of the box! Label the box to remind you of where the items came from, as well as the contents of the box.
For example: Box 1: Living room- books, Box 2: Bedroom- shirts, etc.
Don’t close the boxes just yet, though. Get out a sheet of paper and write down all the boxes and corresponding numbers and titles.
Create Your Legend / Cheat Sheet
When you look at a map, you don’t know exactly what the colors mean until you refer to the legend. You need a legend to properly use your map. Here, your legend will be the box number, descriptive title and a brief description of the contents of the box. Next to the box number and descriptive title, write a description of the contents of each box on a sheet of paper. Also write who the items belong to (especially if there are more than two people in your household). This is your roadmap.
Example: Box 3: Bedroom Dresser And Wardrobe: Shirts, pants, shorts, and undershirts (James).
Create A Vision For Your Ideal Life In Your New Home
Visualize how you want each room the new place to be. Before you move, go to the new home, and take measurements of your larger pieces of furniture.
Write down the furniture title, room it is located right now, and the measurements.
Measure it out and see if your vision fits the actual size of the room.
Black Bookshelf 23 5/8 W X 21” D x70 7/8 “H
Sofa Width: 85 7/8 “W x 34 5/8 “D x 34 5/8” H
Go to your new place and draw a sketch of each room, including where the furniture will be arranged. Most of the time, the rooms will be the same, with some considerations for size. You are either moving to a larger place or a smaller place, or about the same. Arrange the furniture where you want it to go.
The Actual Move
If you’re doing this yourself, use these guidelines to minimize moving boxes and furniture around. If you’re working with movers, make sure everyone is on board by letting them know where you want your furniture and boxes. Make sure movers arrange the furniture where you want it to go. You can also give them copies of the sketch for each room or tape the sketch to the wall of each room for their reference. Also, make sure the boxes are placed in the room where they belong. Put the boxes where they belong and then start unpacking!
Decluttering As You Unpack
Since you packed all your essentials separately, you won’t have to rummage through several boxes to get your personal items or matching shoes. Get some rest, and enjoy your new place,
Once you are settled in and you got a good night’s sleep, you can slowly start unpacking as time permits.
If you decluttered before you moved, skip this step. If not, then get a few old bedsheets, lay them out on the floor, and let’s get to work. Take each box and empty all contents onto the old bedsheet on the floor. Put items you are definitely keeping in one pile. Put the items to toss in another pile, and items to donate in last pile. If you have undecided items, keep them separate for now.
Take the items from the “keep” pile and organize them into your cabinets, storage units. Repeat the process through each room. Finally, get a trash bag, and put all the items you want to throw out in the bag. Take out the trash right now- you’ll feel accomplished, and you will immediately separate the trash from the other items, avoiding confusion.
Declutter By Priority And Hold Off On Undecided Items
Grab a box and label it as “donations”. Put all the items you wish to donate in the box. If you need to launder or clean certain items, leave them aside in a separate pile.
Lastly, with undecided items- take a photo of each category of undecided items, and then store them away in a box. You just moved, you have a lot of decisions to make, so this is your last priority. If you don’t miss the items one or two months later, it may be time to donate or sell those items. If so, let them go.
I hope these tips help you with your next move, and I hope your new place brings you lots of joy. If you set things up right from the beginning, it will be easier to be tidy, live the life you want, and have less stress.
Have you tried any of these tips above? What are some of your tips for decluttering before and during a move? Let me know in the comments below!