Moving can be a chaotic experience, but receiving the news quickly and having a time limit on when you need to be out make it even more so. Suddenly, you’re faced with the daunting task of packing up your entire house without much preparation.

Do you just throw everything in boxes and deal with sorting on the other end, or do you throw boxes of stuff out now without going through them? Neither is best, and the good news is that decluttering before a move is totally possible. You can turn a messy house around fast by following these tips.


Go Through One Room at a Time

Remember the idiom “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Thinking of the task in its entirety can overwhelm and paralyze you. Break it down into baby steps to make preparing for a move manageable.

Start with the smallest or cleanest rooms first, because progress will be faster and seeing the results will motivate you to keep going. And start right now! Don’t put it off a minute longer or it will only be harder. Do a little bit every day, and it’ll be over before you know it.


Start With Rarely Used Items

Before you hit big paper piles or boxes in the basement, begin with the things in your cupboards and drawers and on your shelves. Separate what you use once a week or month from what you use every day. Examples of items to remove include the following:

  •       Party serving ware
  •       Seasonal bedding
  •       Books and movies
  •       Décor
  •       Craft supplies
  •       Toys
  •       Tools
  •       Formal clothing

If it’s something you’ll continue to use in your new home, pack it up. If it’s something you hardly use or haven’t in months, place it in a donation box. Chances are low you’ll end up needing it if you haven’t used it in a long time or at all. Throw away things that are expired, damaged, or inoperable.

A cluttered house before moving


Tackle the Heavy Messes

Once you’ve finished the easy areas, move on to the bigger messes, but still take them a bit at a time. Go through one pile or box or set a time limit on how long you’ll work for to avoid burnout. Give yourself an incentive for finishing the job, such as going out with a friend when you’re done.

Asking friends and family to join you is an effective way how to declutter a house fast. Having too many people can be overwhelming, though, so choose one or two helpers who are good at following directions and aren’t hoarders themselves. They can keep you accountable by questioning your desire to hang on to possessions.


Be Picky

Try not to get sentimental about your belongings. Of course, souvenirs, family heirlooms, and other things that hold memories have their place. Pick which ones hold the most value to you and let go of the rest. You don’t need to feel guilty about getting rid of stuff you don’t like or need just because someone you love gave it to you.

Although a popular method is to consider if something gives you joy, it can backfire if you easily find happiness in and attachment to belongings. In addition to weighing the pleasure an item gives you, factor in if it serves any other purpose.

If you can’t make up your mind, put it in a “maybe” box and go back to it later. By the time you move, you should only be taking possessions you’re definitely keeping for the long term. You’ll thank yourself when you unpack at your new place.

It can also help if you know the items will be going to someone who will appreciate them, whether you donate them to charity, pass them along to friends, or sell them. Getting rid of stuff doesn’t mean you have to throw it away.

You can also find creative ways to hold on to the memories without retaining mementos. For example, take pictures of your child’s artwork to make into a photo book instead of storing every art project your child ever made.

Person organizing moving boxes

Hire Professional Assistance

Decluttering before a move may take up all your time. That’s where we come in. While you’re busy organizing, let the professionals at West Coast Moving & Storage pack up what you’re going to keep. We can also unpack for you so that you can recover from the move

Reach out for a free quote today!