Moving is the perfect time to downsize and start fresh, but sorting through a cluttered home can be an overwhelming task. Make the process a little easier – and more enjoyable – by following a few simple steps.
Develop a Strategy
Don't try to de-clutter your home in day or a weekend – you'll probably burn out and give up. Instead, tackle one room at a time, or block out two to three hours at a time a couple of months before you move.
Sort Your Stuff
First, consider your new home, taking into account the square footage, available storage space and layout. Once you have these in mind, gather similar things together and lay them out so you can see exactly what (and how much) you have. Then put items into three piles: Things to Keep, Things to Sell/Donate and Things to Throw Away. The more items you have to haul, the more expensive your move will be – so be ruthless! If you haven't worn or used something in the past year, chances are you won't need the item in the future.
Tackle the “Sell/Donate” Pile
Begin by offering your items to friends and family, especially if you want to make sure special belongings go to a good home. Next, host a yard sale or create listings on Craigslist. If you're going the Craigslist route, include photos and detailed descriptions of your items, and stay safe by having another adult at your home when potential buyers come by. Anything that doesn't sell can be donated to places like charities, consignment shops and thrift stores.
Trash to Treasure
As a last-ditch effort to avoid pitching items into the trash, create postings on The Freecycle Network. It's similar to Craigslist – except everything is free! In addition, art teachers will often take miscellaneous items (broken electronics, wood scraps, etc), and animals shelters are a perfect place for old blankets and towels.