Paring down your belongings before you move is one of the smartest things you can do during a home move. Whether you’re moving to a smaller home, or even a larger one, most people find that moving from house to house gets them in a decluttering frenzy. Of course it’s natural to pare down your belongings right before a move, but that can sometimes add to the stress of moving. It’s actually better if you can pare down your belongings before you make the decision to move. Without the added stress of the move you can go through your things and decide what to do with them. You can donate your things, give treasured items to children or other relatives or even have a garage sale.

Going through your belongings and determining what should stay and what should go can be an overwhelming task, it’s best to do it when you have the luxury of time and aren’t stressed out by an imminent move. Here are some easy ways you can begin paring down your belongings before you move.

Paring Down Your Belongings Before You Move

  1. Follow the 6 Month Rule – If you haven’t worn it in 6 months it’s time to let it go. Coats, boots and shoes can be excluded, but daily wear should be considered. Shirts, t-shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts… if you haven’t wanted to wear it in the last 6 months you’re probably over it.
  2. If it doesn’t fit, pitch it – We all have that one item of clothing that we’re holding on to because we know one day we’ll lose enough weight to get back into it. Maybe you will lose the weight, but you probably won’t wear that item again. Donate it or bring it to a consignment store. If you lose the weight you can find something new.
  3. Shred it – It’s best to save legal and financial documents for 7 years, but you don’t need to save bank statements or credit card statements. In fact, you shouldn’t even be getting them on paper anymore. After you’ve gone digital go ahead and shred or burn all those old statements that are cluttering your desk.
  4. Books – It’s difficult for book lovers to get rid of books, but they take up a lot of space and the odds are really good you’re never going to read that Tom Clancy novel again. Save the classics and any favorites if you have room, but get rid of paperbacks and any books you have no desire to read or reread. Donate them to the Goodwill or local thrift store so others less fortunate can benefit from them.
  5. One Room at a Time – Paring down your belongings can be an overwhelming task. It can also be an emotional task. Take it one room at a time and do it over the course of several weekends. You’ll have time to consider what you want to keep and what you can part with without being pressured due to the need to move or some other crisis.

By paring down ahead of time you’ll have the luxury to really consider the things you want to keep and the things you’re better off without. Then, when it comes time to move you won’t be stressed by those considerations.