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Tips For Organizing And Decluttering Before Moving

If you’re moving soon, here are some tips for organizing and decluttering before the big day!

Over time, many of us end up gathering a lot of stuff in our closets that we don’t really use – clothes, unwanted birthday gifts, cosmetic items – the list is endless!

Sure, you might use this stuff one day, but odds are if you haven’t needed it over the last 6 months or so, they’ll probably just continue gathering dust in your closet.

Moving all this stuff to your new place involves a lot of time and monetary costs. All that added work packing things that you don’t need or use just isn’t worth it.

Plus, if you move everything, including the stuff you don’t need, you’ll end up paying more for a moving company to move all your boxes.

Skip all this trouble and declutter before you move!

tips to declutter before moving

My husband and I moved to a new place recently, and decluttering helped us pack only the things we truly need and donate or throw the rest. Unpacking became easier with less stuff to deal with overall.

If you’re nervous about moving day, here are some tips for organizing and decluttering before moving.

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Tips For Organizing And Decluttering Before Moving

1. Start early

Don’t wait until a few days before your move to start packing. Trust me, it will take longer than you expect!

Give yourself at least 3 to 4 weeks to declutter and pack up your things. I know this sounds like a long time, but it’s best to go slow and tackle one section of the house at a time, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Before you start packing, get your packing boxes, bubble wrap, and a permanent marker to label your boxes. You’ll want to get packing boxes in a variety of sizes – small, medium, and large – to pack different things.

organizing and decluttering before moving

My husband and I started packing about a month before our move, and I’m so glad we did. We were able to declutter and pack slowly without the stress of a tight deadline hovering over us.

2. Tackle one room at a time

Decluttering and packing can be quite overwhelming when you try to tackle too much all at once. Instead, move slowly from room to room, dedicating a few days, even up to a week, for each room.

Start with one section of the room, declutter and pack your things before you move on to the next.

Schedule an hour or two every day to work on this. I know this doesn’t sound fun, but this sort of systematic packing plan will spare you the stress of a chaotic move.

3. Use the 3 pile system

As you organize and pack your things, use the 3-pile system. Sort everything into 1 of 3 piles – to pack, to donate/sell, or to throw.

organizing and decluttering before moving

Things to pack go straight into the packing boxes. When a box gets full, seal the top and label the box clearly.

Things to donate go into a box or bag. Keep these items by the front door or in the trunk of your car, so you can drive them over to the charity shop when you’re out running other errands.

Things to sell can either be collected for a yard sale or can be photographed and advertised online on platforms such as Facebook Marketplace or eBay.

4. Visualize your new space

Another important thing you should do before your move is to visualize your new space. Are you moving into a smaller place? Will it fit your existing furniture? Will you need it anymore?

For example, your new place may come with built-in shelves, so you may not need your wooden bookshelf anymore, or your new living room might be too small to fit your gigantic couch.

Take measurements to make sure, and sell any furniture that won’t be a good fit for your new place. This is also why it’s crucial to start early!

Once you identify what furniture pieces need replacing, you’ll have time to shop around and look for good deals.

Our couch was pretty worn out, so my husband and I decided to get a new one for our new place. We had a few weeks to look around and finally managed to find one that we both really liked at a reasonable price!

Visualizing your new space and planning ahead can spare you a lot of stress as you move and settle into a new place.

5. Avoid buying extras

If you’ve stockpiled any toiletries or canned food, try to use up whatever you can before your move. Also, avoid buying stuff in bulk until you move and settle into your new place. The last thing you want is to buy more things to pack and move, no matter how good a deal it is!

6. Check expiry dates

As you’re packing your things, be sure to check the expiry date on all your products – canned food, spices, snacks, cosmetics, skin care items, everything!

Anything past its expiry date should be tossed out. This is a great chance to get rid of all the crusty make up and skin care products that you may have accumulated over the years.

God knows I hoarded my fair share! I threw out all the old stuff that I couldn’t use anymore and only kept what I use most regularly. My dresser is more organized and less chaotic as a result.

7. Go digital

Sentimental mementos like old photographs, letters, and cards are usually the hardest to declutter. As much as we want to keep them, they tend to accumulate and take up space over the years.

One way to keep them without really keeping them is to digitize them. Scan and keep digital copies of photographs and letters, so you can throw the physical copies that take up space without losing those precious memories.

tips to declutter before moving

You can do this with bills and other documents as well. By going digital, you get to keep the important stuff, without the added clutter.

Decluttering Your Home Room By Room For A Move

To help you with organizing and decluttering before moving, here is a room by room breakdown that you can use as a guide.

Organizing and Decluttering Your Kitchen

Dishes, utensils & cookware

Avoid packing multiples of the same thing. You don’t need 3 cheese graters, so either give the extras to friends who want them or toss them out if they aren’t in good condition.

If you have multiple sets of plates, bowls, and cutlery, identify a set that you use most regularly and keep them. For the remaining items, give them away or sell them online.

tips to declutter before moving

Check your pots and pans before packing. Toss any worn out cookware that you can’t use anymore. If the coating of your non-stick pan is starting to give way, and you don’t want to pay for it to be professionally recoated, toss it!

Food items

Look through your pantry items – pasta, canned food, spices – and toss out anything that’s expired.

For your fridge, clear out any food items, wipe down the shelves and switch off your fridge 24 hours before your move.

If you have any refrigerated or frozen items that you don’t wish to throw out, ask a friend or family member if you can stash them at their place for a few days while you move.

Organizing and Decluttering Your Living Room


Sort through any bills and letters, and digitize them (if needed) before tossing them out.

Collect any loose change and put them in your wallet, or your kid’s piggy bank.

Any knick-knacks like paperclips or candies that have made their way into these drawers should be kept away where they belong or tossed out.

Books & magazines

Put any old, unused magazines for recycling.

Pack your favorite books. Other titles that you don’t plan to read again or aren’t really your cup of tea can be sold online or given to friends.


Visualize your new home. How will you decorate your new space? Keep the décor items that you want to use in your new place, and sell the rest.

Related posts:

Organizing and Decluttering Your Bedroom


Donate or throw anything that you’ve not worn for 6 months or more.

organizing and decluttering before moving

The only exception to this is clothes meant for special occasions like ballgowns, tuxedos, holiday beach ware, etc. These items should be packed and stored separately, so your everyday wardrobe isn’t too cluttered.

Toss out any old underwear or socks. If they have holes in them, THROW THEM OUT.

Sheets & curtains

If you’re getting a new bed, consider whether your existing sheets will fit them. If they don’t, donate your sheets and invest in new ones.

Similarly, measure your new space to determine whether you can reuse your existing curtains. If you can, that’s great! If you can’t, give away your curtain or sell them online.

Order new curtains according to your new measurements a few weeks before your move, so you have them ready when you move in.

Cosmetics & skincare

Toss out anything in your dresser that is really old or expired.

Keep only the items you use regularly.

organizing and decluttering before moving

For make up or skin care products that you don’t use, ask your friends if they’d like to have them, or sell them online on sites such as Glambot.

Organizing and Decluttering Your Bathroom

Medicine cabinet

Toss out any old, expired, or unneeded medications.

Pack the medications you need in a toiletries travel bag the day before your move.


Your toothbrush and toothpaste should go into the toiletries travel bag along with your medications.

Dry your toiletries and pack them in a box on the morning of your move. Label the box clearly, so you don’t have any trouble locating these items when you need them later in your new place.


With some planning and an early start, your move will be smooth and stress-free!

Decluttering your home and packing all your stuff into boxes can be a lot, but if you break it all down into small actionable steps that you can take over the course of a month or so, this daunting task will feel much more manageable.

Moving is the start of a brand-new adventure! It should be fun and exciting, not stressful and anxiety-inducing. So start early and follow these tips for organizing and decluttering before moving. Your future self will thank you for it.


Hi there!

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Hi, I’m Vidhya. I’m a freelance writer and millennial who often struggles with adulthood.

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