Moving home – time to declutter!

  • Declutter - keep, recycle, sell, trash, donate
Removals Advice

Moving home is a good opportunity to have a serious clear out - read our tips

Why waste time packing and relocatying things you don’t really need, then wondering where to put them in your new place? Living with too much clutter can also lead to stress, regardless of whether you’re planning to move or not, so perhaps it’s worthwhile thinking about having a good clear out every now and then. If you’re downsizing, disposing of some furniture and possessions may be essential – you can’t “fit a quart into a pint pot” as they say!

Decluttering to help sell your house

If you have a property to sell, decluttering is worth thinking seriously about before you put it on the market. Photos look better when everything looks tidy and without too much of your stuff on show, rooms look bigger and prospective buyers and more easily visualise themselves living there. Think about the show homes for new builds – they always look spacious because they’re minimally furnished and aren’t being lived in.
Even if you can’t bear to part with some of your furniture and personal “treasures” you might consider putting then into storage whilst you sell.

There have been various TV programmes over the years showing people who to de-clutter their homes (and their lives) and it is interesting to see how a “fresh pair of eyes” can pick up on things you no longer notice because you’ve lived with them for so long. At Ballards, whilst we aren’t experts of the psychology of de-cluttering, we have helped thousands of people to move over the years and our tips are based on our own experiences of working with people who have succeeded in this daunting task and listening to what worked for them.

Here are our tips on decluttering

1. Before you start – think about how you will dispose of your unwanted things

Before you start sorting things out, think about how you will dispose of the things you don’t need. Some you might want to sell, give to friends, or donate to charity. Then there will be some rubbish that you just need to dump.
We recommend getting some packing boxes and labelling them to show what you’re going to do with them. Then have a supply of rubbish sacks for the bits and pieces and anything to go to the tip. For furniture, you could try a card in the post office or sell / give away on line using one of the websites or facebook groups for your area.  

2. Furniture

This is a good place to start as it takes up most of the space in your rooms. Do you use it all? Will it be needed in your new home? Perhaps you’re planning to buy something new for your new property in which case you might want to sell or dispose of any furniture you don’t really need ahead of the move as it will create more space and will also help to get you into the “I’m moving” mindset.

3. The loft

If you have a loft and if you’re anything like us, you may not go into it regularly so there may be stuff in there which you haven’t seen for years. This may be a voyage of discovery, particularly if you’ve lived in the same place for many years, so we recommend tackling this early on. Sometimes we keep things out of sentimental value and there’s nothing wrong with that in our view, just be clear that you do have a valid reason and you’re not just keeping it due to inertia.

4. Equipment and gadgets

We all tend to collect these, whether it’s exercise gadgets, video players, kitchen equipment etc. Do you have anything you haven’t used for over 12 months? Perhaps you don’t really need it?

5. Clothes

Similar to equipment in a way – if you go through your wardrobe, drawers, under-bed storage and also perhaps the loft, we can almost guarantee that you’ll find things you haven’t worn for a year or two. There could be all sorts of reasons for this – perhaps they’re too small (at the moment!) out of fashion or you just don’t feel as good in them as you do in other things. Clothes are excellent for recycling, as something that’s “old” to you can be “new” to someone else and might really help them out. You may have clothes for special occasions or holidays, which you only rarely need. Clothes storage bags are ideal for these, they will keep things clean and moth free, you can label them up and when you move house, you can put them out of the way somewhere, e.g. in the loft or a storage cupboard.

6. Go room by room

Tackling your home in one go may be too much, so we recommend going through it one room at a time. This is where the “fresh eyes” approach can help. Either try to look at the room as if you haven’t seen it before, or get a friend to help. Think about the room – what is its purpose or what is it used for? Does everything that’s in the room fit that purpose? Is there anything here that isn’t used so could be disposed of? Are there things that don’t need to be on show and could be stored away somewhere.

7. The garden, shed and garage

Sheds and garages, much like lofts, tend to become general storage areas and places to put the things you don’t know what else to do with. Now’s the time to clear out the stuff you don’t need – the broken tools and equipment, the old tins of paint etc. Sorting all of this out can help to reduce the amount of stuff you’re moving and also make sure you know where to find the things you’re likely to need soon after moving, like the tools to put up your new curtains or shelves, decorating equipment. Packing boxes are a good idea here too, and you can usually pack a lot of this stuff in advance of moving day. People often forget about garden furniture and pots etc. but you can think about these in just the same way – do you use the furniture, will it fit into your new garden, do you really need these old pots that haven’t had a plant in them for years?  

8. Paperwork

Even in today’s online world, we all still collect loads of paper, don’t we? From magazines to instruction books, bills and receipts, not to mention the important stuff which you will need to have to hand for your move, like property deeds or rental agreements, insurance details, utility contacts etc. Paper can be heavy too, so why not dispose of a lot of it.

9. Start early and make thinking time

Doing all of this takes time, so start several weeks before you intend to move. For some people, a plan or timetable might help to make sure you keep moving forward. When you’re working through your rooms, make time to sit and reflect, and if you can’t decide about some things straight away, make a note of them and come back to it.

How can Ballards Removals help you to declutter?

When we estimate your move, we can offer advice about anything that’s worrying you.
You might also find our Moving Checklist helpful – this is full of tips to help your move go smoothly.
We can also help with disposal or recycling of your possessions, find out more here.