Inside: Need help decluttering before a move? Use these tips to get decluttered and organized to take some stress out of the moving process.

So you’re getting ready to move.

Where do you even start

Before you make your plans to pack, there’s one thing I’d recommend doing first: decluttering and organizing.

Organizing and decluttering before moving means you’ll have less mess to pack and fewer things to find spaces for in your new home.

By getting organized and decluttering for your move, you’ll be in a much better position to make it happen – and you’ll find yourself way less stressed.

decluttering before a move

Decluttering for a Move: What to Get Rid of and Where to Begin?

Once you’ve made the decision to declutter before your move, you’ve got to figure out what’s next.

Where do you begin? How do you figure out what you need to get rid of?

What is the First Thing to Do When Moving?

When you’re getting ready to move, the first thing you should do is – you guessed it – declutter and then organize.

Your new home will only hold so much stuff. Instead of moving everything to your new place and trying to figure out where it’s going to fit, try to cut down on the amount of stuff you actually own first.

That way, you’ll save time and energy packing and physically moving – and have way less stuff to manage as you set up your new space. Whether this is your first home or just a change, either way, it can be a fresh start!

woman putting items in a box

Things to Get Rid of Before You Move

Before your big move, it’s important to get organized and get rid of clutter.

But what should you be getting rid of?

There are a few big categories that most things will fall into when it comes to decluttering before a move:

Old stuff you have no use for.

Many of us hold onto clutter for a variety of reasons. There’s no time like the present to have an honest conversation with ourselves and get rid of all of that stuff.

I’m talking about the clothes that don’t fit anymore, the books you’ll never read again, that random box of cords and cables you’re holding onto just in case you need one eventually.

Consider minimizing sentimental items as well if you have the time and emotional energy for it. While keeping some meaningful things is great, it’s also easy to become overwhelmed by having too much of it.

If you have enough time, consider having a garage sale to get rid of your excess stuff and make some money in the process. Lightening your load will also save you time and money (especially if you’re hiring a moving company) during the moving process.

Things you have too many of.

There’s no better time than now to ask yourself if you really need all of those towels, or dishes, or water bottles, or anything else you’ve got in excess.

Be extra ruthless in decluttering your storage areas. When was the last time you used the items?

If the answer is no and they’re in good condition, donate them to someone who could use them.

Stuff that’s past its prime.

If you’re hanging onto socks with holes in the heels, expired spices in your pantry, or old instruction manuals and user guides, it’s time to get rid of them.

They weren’t serving any purpose in your current space, and they certainly won’t add anything to the new one.

Go ahead and let go of the things you no longer love or use and start fresh in your new space.

Anything that won’t fit in your new home.

If your move involves downsizing, you may be able to immediately identify furniture pieces, appliances, or any other large items that won’t fit in the new space.

Rather than going through the hassle and expense of moving them, take measurements to determine what you have now that definitely won’t work in the new space.

This is also a great opportunity to imagine how you want your new home to look, feel, and function. When you are clear on your goals for your home, it becomes a little more clear which things support those goals and which get in the way of them.

decluttering before a move

How to Start Decluttering for a Move

Once you’ve made the decision to declutter, you’ve got to figure out how to do it. With the stress of moving, it can be a bit challenging, but it is possible.

Decluttering for a move can feel overwhelming. Getting rid of stuff isn’t easy for most people, and doing it while you’re also planning for a big move can get stressful.

But by breaking down your decluttering goals into smaller, more manageable chunks, you’ll be surprised by the progress you’re able to make.

The best way to declutter your entire house?

Focus on each room of your home.

Decluttering for a Move: Room By Room Checklist

Decluttering before a move can be a huge undertaking – but it’s always worth it in the end. A good declutter checklist is a great starting point and will help you track your progress and make sure you aren’t forgetting anything important throughout the process. 

Declutter Your Kitchen

The kitchen is an easy place for clutter to accumulate. With so many drawers, cabinets, cupboards, and pantries, there are plenty of spots to tuck things away and totally lose track of them.

When decluttering your kitchen, pay special attention to:

Your spice cabinet.

You’d be surprised to see just how many spices you’re holding onto that are past their prime.

Your dishes.

Do you have too many? Donate duplicates to someone in need. The same goes for pots, pans, and cutlery.

Your fridge.

Check your condiments – chances are, you’ll find at least a couple that have expired.

Declutter Your Living Room (or Family Room)

The living room is often the center of activity in the home – which makes it a great dumping ground for random stuff.

When decluttering your living room, focus on:

Books and magazines.

Outdated magazines and books that nobody is interested in reading again can go.


If you have a large DVD collection, now is the perfect time to pare it down.


Do the things in your current living room match your new aesthetic? If the answer is no, consider proactively getting rid of that stuff to simplify your moving process.

Declutter Your Bedrooms

Whether you’re talking about your master bedroom or one of the kids’ rooms, one thing’s for sure – there’s a lot of clutter to be found in bedrooms. Fortunately, getting rid of that clutter is as simple as finding a great spot to donate to.

Declutter your bedroom by clearing out…

Clothes you don’t wear anymore.

Maybe they aren’t your style. Or they don’t fit. Maybe they’re worn out. Whatever the reason, don’t hold onto clothes you aren’t actually wearing

Nightstand drawers.

It’s easy to stick stuff in your nightstand drawer and totally forget about it. There’s no better time than now to go through it all and get rid of whatever’s taking up space.


Get rid of the ones you don’t love so your new bedroom can be your clutter-free sanctuary!

clean bathroom

Declutter Your Bathrooms

Bathrooms aren’t big, but you’d be surprised by how much clutter you can accumulate there. Thankfully there is a lot of easy stuff to let go of in them. When clearing out your bathrooms, pay special attention to…

Your medicine cabinet.

Holding onto expired or unneeded prescriptions? You aren’t alone. Search online to see where you can safely drop these off – don’t just toss them into the trash or flush them down the toilet.

Your bathroom drawers.

Everything from makeup to remedies to personal hygiene products can be found in bathroom drawers. Chances are, you have things you bought that you never use. 

Declutter Your Home Office

Try as we might to keep the home office tidy and organized, it’s another easy spot for clutter to hide. When you’re cleaning out your office, be mindful of…

Filing cabinets.

Simplify your paperwork by shredding what you no longer need and organizing what you want to keep. If you have time and want to, you could start digitizing your files as well.

Desk drawers.

Drawers are an easy spot to hide clutter, and the ones in your desk are no exception. Chances are, you’ll find a few things you no longer need in here.

decluttering before a move

Declutter Your Garage

Roll up your sleeves and tackle your garage, and chances are you’ll be amazed to find just how much stuff you’ve stored there over the years. When cleaning out your garage, check for…

Holiday decorations.

Many of us use the garage as the go-to spot for hiding holiday decor. If there are boxes you haven’t brought out in a few years, there’s probably a reason why. Consider getting rid of them.

Leftover stuff from past projects.

If you’re holding onto half-used cans of paint, scraps of wood, or other stuff that won’t really serve a purpose in your new home, get rid of it before you go. 

Simple Tips For Decluttering and Organizing Before a Move

Decluttering and organizing before a move can feel overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to.

If you’re hoping to declutter and get organized before your next big move, here are a few simple tips to help you make it happen:

1. Start early

If you wait until the weekend you’re scheduled to move to start decluttering, you’re not going to make too much progress.

The best time to start? Right now. Even if you don’t have an official move date yet, the more time you give yourself to declutter, the more thorough you can be with the decluttering process.

2. Use the one touch rule

The one-touch rule is simple – if you pick something up, you’ve got to deal with it. You can’t put it back down to sort out later. 

When you’re decluttering, it’s easy to hesitate to get rid of something – or struggle to make that decision. By practicing the one-touch rule, you’ll force yourself to make a decision and ultimately make progress toward decluttering your stuff before your big move.

3. Hold a yard sale

If you’re moving during the warmer months and live in a spot that gets decent traffic, consider holding a yard sale. Not only is it a great way to get rid of clutter, it’s an easy way to make a few bucks that you can put back toward your move – or whatever else you need it for.

4. Don’t overlook the big stuff

Take measurements of your new space. If you have furniture that won’t fit, get rid of it before you go. Likewise, if you have appliances that aren’t compatible with your new home or are unneeded, sell them before you go.

These big items are some of the most challenging to move. Save yourself money and headache by carefully evaluating the big stuff before you move.

5. You don’t have to decide everything now

Sometimes the stress of trying to declutter every little thing while also dealing with the stress of the move can feel like too much. Don’t overthink each and every little thing.

If you’re not sure if something will work in the new house, but you really like it, it’s ok to hang onto it. It is possible to over declutter and end up having to buy more than you intended for the new space, so you don’t want to do that either.

Moving is a great motivator for getting rid of the things you didn’t love or use anyway, but you may find that you need to declutter some after the move as well. Unpacking is another opportunity to look at your things and decide what is (and isn’t) going to fit into your new home.

6. Label, label, label

The key to being organized for a move is to keep like items together and to label your boxes well. Write on the box what room it needs to go to in the new home.

Also, include what types of items are packed in the box. Yes, it takes a little extra time to do this, but you’ll be so thankful that you did once your items are relocated to your new space.

This helps you find what you need as well as unpack in an organized way.

7. Save daily use items for last

My best advice for not adding more stress to the moving process is to make sure that items used in daily life are set aside and packed last. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find items at the last minute while you’re trying to get everything ready to relocate.

decluttering before a move

What Should I Do a Month Before Moving?

When you’re one month away from your moving day, it’s time to start packing if you haven’t yet.

You might think it’s too early, but believe me. If you’ve had time to accumulate a bunch of stuff in your house, it’s going to take time to pack it all up in cardboard boxes and get it out.

While you can bring in movers to pack and haul your personal belongings, it can be better to start off on your own. Not only will you cut down on moving expenses, but you’ll have a chance to methodically sort through the stuff that you own and get rid of things you don’t need in your new space. 

Make a plan as you approach that one-month mark before your big move, and you’ll be surprised to see just how much more manageable the moving process becomes.

While it may seem daunting, decluttering before a move is a great way to make a new start in your new home.

When you’re moving into a new place, the last thing you want to do is bring over all of your old, dusty clutter and junk.

Save yourself money and time by getting rid of your unwanted items before the move.

By decluttering before your move, you’ll be in a much better position to make your new house a home and get to enjoy all of the benefits of decluttering your space too!

Sign up on the form below to get weekly tips on simplifying and decluttering sent straight to your inbox. You’ll also get the free Declutter Plan of Attack to help you create your unique decluttering plan for your home!

Sharing is caring :)


  1. Thanks for this. Getting ready to retire and downsize. Yikes!
    Spent 6 hours sorting lego – a tote for each of the kids and one for me to keep for visitors/future grandkids. Only one left of all the little bits – the boys will have to decide where they all belong!

    Also discovered we have over 800 books. Trying to set a limit for each of us – # of books or # of inches. This is a tough one!

    And YES to less water bottles! How do smart people store these??

  2. I began “downsizing” more than 20 years ago, but you wouldn’t know it to look at my house right now. As I inched into my later 60s, I began to look for a smaller home nearer to family, then suddenly 6 weeks ago the right house at the right price in the right place appeared. I leapt into action to buy and to purge. Closing happened in a record 30 days, but my moving and packing is taking longer. All the easy stuff is either donated or packed, but now it is down to odd stuff that I do use but don’t know what to do with or how to pack — garden tools, the brush to clean the refrigerator coils, rubber bands, and boots all wound up in the same box! Any tips on organizing the end of a move when time is short?

  3. In am overwhelmed with my stuff. OI am being forced to move with no where yet to go, have back and neck pain , a sick son and now have to downsize, Its overwhelming!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *