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how to declutter pre - move

Updated: Feb 12, 2019

Moving is terrible, let’s just be honest about it. No one sits down and thinks, I’d love to move! Sure, they’d like to be transported to a beautiful, new space with all their belongings in tow but the actual process of moving can be a real ordeal.

The best way to combat the overwhelming anxiety that accompanies a move is to let go of as much as possible beforehand. The truth is that it is so very easy to accumulate and so very difficult to let go. And the longer you’ve lived somewhere, the more you have. I’m going to give you some guidelines on how to get started. This is by no means a thorough guide for each room, just a starting point; ie feel free to do more than I suggest! Below are three main areas to hit when you’re looking to de-clutter pre-move.


The kitchen is the mecca of aspirational purchases; ‘yes, I do see a need for a waffle iron

in my life and I will definitely use it every single day.’ This is the time to have the tough conversation with yourself; will you use it or is this the perfect opportunity to shed this aspirational weight?

What about the gifts? The tea from Belgium that needs to be put in a tea ball but you don’t own one, the passive aggressive gift from your mother in-law that appears to come from a good place but is really just a jab at your cooking ability, etc. In the words of Frozen, let it go, let it goooooo.

Finally, food. Yes, it was responsible to buy canned goods in the event of a nuclear apocalypse. No, it won’t help you now that those cans are twelve years expired.


Did you know that medication, lotions, makeup, etc. all expire? Crazy, I know. Please refer to the image to the left, which you’ll find on most makeup. It shows you that 12 months from the time the product was opened is the time to trash it because of the growth of bacteria. ‘That’s bull’ you’ll tell me, ‘it’s fine, it’s just the company trying to make more money!’ I’m sure there’s some truth to that but it’s still something I want you to be aware of.

The same goes for medication, there will be an expiration date listed. If it’s prescription, make sure to remove the sticker from the bottle (your personal information is on there) before throwing it in the trash. You can drop off old pills at your local pharmacy to be responsibly recycled.

Lastly, how many times have you collected makeup and product samples? You’re not going to use them, they’re taking up space and this is your time to let go of them. Homeless shelters and battered women’s shelters are the perfect place to offload these goodies to people who will actually use them. Same thing goes for masks with real flecks of gold that your friend gave you and the hair-removing product you just had to have but really makes you feel like you’re ripping your skin off every time you use it.


This is the time to make technological leaps. Thinking about switching to using a kindle or only watching movies using apps on your TV? This is your opportunity. Many people when they move upgrade

With programs like Vudu, which charge $2 for you to upload your existing DVDs, using a QR scanner on your phone, it couldn’t be easier to convert a digital library. The same goes for using Pandora or Spotify for music; do you still need the CDs and will you ever listen to them.

Sometimes I get pushback from clients, especially about CDs. But I will challenge you and say that if you love your CD collection, you can still declutter using a 10 point rating system. You might love your CDs but all they all 10s? Are some 3s or 4s? Would it be reasonable to suggest that you keep 7s and above?

Books are heavy and they take up a lot of space. Before I’m attacked by booklovers everywhere, I will tell you that I love books and I’m constantly reading. And the truth when I really went through my books was that it wasn’t the books I wanted but the knowledge that I had read them. I created a profile on Goodreads, which I love, and I listed all the books I had. I then donated most of them so that someone else could enjoy them.

There you have it; purging before you move will make your move run smoother, quicker and with less hassle. Start by de-cluttering the kitchen and if you’re packing yourself, do it at the same time. Next head to the bathroom with a large garbage bag and go ham! You will be shocked at how much you’ve been meaning to use and are now ready to let go of. Finish off strong with your media, you can do it!

As always, feel free to email questions to and if you attempt this yourself, tag me and tell me about it! @toritheorganizer, #torganize


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