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How to Declutter Before a Move: An Easy Approach

how to delutter before a moveMoving is the best and the worst.

The excitement of moving to a new place is fantastic, but the thought of having to pack everything up…not so much.

Since moving gives you a fresh start, it’s vital that you only take what you need, use and love. This way, you can start at your new home without the weight of clutter.

Here’s how to declutter before a move.

Start with a Whole-House General Declutter – Get Rid of OBVIOUS Clutter

Decluttering before a move is a ton of work and should be done in a few steps to prevent overwhelm.

The first thing you need to do is go through your house and get rid of everything you feel is obvious clutter.

Your goal is to quickly eliminate all items that you know are 100% clutter, and you do not want. Throw them away, recycle them, or place them in your donation box.

This would include items like:

  • Expired Medication
  • Unwanted Shampoos
  • Holey Socks
  • Old Bills and Paperwork
  • Toys Your Kids Don’t Play With
  • Old Magazines

You can download my free decluttering list for a room-by-room breakdown of items you can easily let go of.

Depending on how cluttered your home is, this can take you anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days.

Now Go Room by Room Packing Only the Things You 100% Want to Keep

Now we’re going to reverse our direction.

Start by packing (if it’s too early to pack, just make a pile) of everything you 100% want to keep. Go room by room and do this.

  • Dishes you love. ✔️
  • Your favorite jeans. ✔️
  • Your daughter’s barbies. ✔️
  • Family heirlooms. ✔️

Anything that you want to keep without a doubt should go into your boxes or a “keep” pile.

Make Tough Decision on Everything Else

Once you complete the first two steps, do you know what you’re left with?

The stuff that you kind of like, but kind of don’t.

You first got rid of all the things that you obviously didn’t want to keep. You’ve packed away all the “Yes, I love and need this” stuff, and now you’re left with the tough decisions.

Go back through your items room by room and decide if they are worth packing and moving with you.

If you’re not sure, here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • When is the last time I used this? If it’s been more than six months and it’s not a seasonal item, let it go.
  • Is this item worth managing? I love how the minimal mom refers to our stuff as inventory we have to manage. Is this item worth your energy to manage?
  • Do I want this in my new space? Moving gives you a chance to simplify and create new energy in your home. And some items just aren’t worth keeping.

How to Declutter Before a Move: What to Do with the Items You’ve Decluttered

One of the mistakes I’ve made in the past, and I’ve seen other people make as well, is not immediately getting rid of the items they’ve decluttered.

You gotta do it.

Here’s what to do:

As you declutter, make three piles – trash, donate, and recycle. Immediately throw away the trash items, recycle the recycling items and place the donation items in the box.

When your donation box fills up, take it Good Will, the Salvation Army, or wherever else you were planning on donating. (I have a great list of places to donate books here.)

You need to get rid of the clutter so you can see the visual progress you’re making and not be tempted to hang on to all the stuff you want to get rid of.


Getting ready to pack up? Don't let clutter follow you. Here's how to declutter before a move. A no nonsense plan that is easy to implement!

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