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Declutter your Move: 5 tips to get you started downsizing

It is not surprising that 61% of Americans believe that the best time to declutter is before a move, and there are good reasons for that. Sometimes having a big deadline like a move, a remodel, or other major life transition provides the motivation needed to downsize your stuff.


Editing the contents of a house before a move feels intimidating, but the rewards are great:

1) you’ll have lower moving costs; 2) it’ll be easier to keep your home clean and uncluttered while it’s on the market; and 3) it’ll take you less effort and time to unpack after the move.


If you are considering a home transition in the future, here are 5 tips to get started with downsizing efforts. Even if the move is to a larger home, you will be thankful you invested time in getting rid of the unnecessary stuff before packing and unpacking those boxes.


5 Tips to Get Started with Downsizing:

  • Stop or slow down shopping except for true essentials. Now is the time to eat into the household inventory of supplies and food!


  • Give donations a home – placing a bin or box on each floor of your home not only captures donations but makes donating easier. By putting the “I really don’t need/like/want this” stuff in the box immediately, that stuff won’t have the opportunity to mix back in with things you do wish to keep. Having your items neatly boxed and ready to go will save time when making a donation run or setting it out for pick-up.


  • Schedule a regular pickup with AMVETS, Salvation Army or another charity.  Knowing that your stuff needs to be gathered together and set out for a charity to pick up on a certain date is a great motivator. (Click here for links to charities that pick-up.)


  • Plan ahead by taking advantage of spring/summer recycling programs and Earth Day recycling programs and events in your area to eliminate paint, Styrofoam, electronics, etc. For example, I live in McHenry County, and the McHenry County Defenders publishes a comprehensive listing of recycling programs/locations and items at


  • Many charities offer free pick up for furniture in good condition–but don’t wait too long to schedule. They are often booked 2-3 weeks out or may only pick up in your neighborhood on certain days of the month. The same goes for consignment stores. You can always schedule a pick-up far in advance, just don’t count on scheduling a pick-up at the last minute.


Consider a professional organizer

These tips will help with any downsizing effort and are almost painless when you have several months before the move date.   If you don’t have the luxury of time, a professional organizer who specializes in life transitions can be invaluable in working with a very tight schedule. I’ve helped families prepare for moves out of state in less than two weeks! It can be done, but it takes expert (organized) resources!