TIPS on Downsizing Before You Move

Spring clothes in plastic container

Are you having to downsize because you are moving to a smaller home or apartment, your grown children have moved out, your next step is an assisted living residency, or you are splitting up with your partner? If so, I recommend that you begin the coordination and the organization of your moving process well ahead of time. Even if you are very busy with work, family, extracurricular, it’s important to make the time.

A while back I had been living in the same place for a number of years, and if I ever moved elsewhere, I knew I would begin downsizing at least several months beforehand. One of my housemates during this time was moving out of state, and was going to move in a month’s time. I encouraged her to begin packing her things right away. She told me there was no rush, and she’d pack during the week of her departure. Well, was she surprised the day before the moving van was to arrive that 1/3 of her belongings were still not packed. Although I was concerned for her, in her rush to complete packing, she left me with a number of useful household kitchen items, including a large wooden cutting board.

Here are some helpful tips for de-cluttering when faced with a major move:

At least two months before moving day, come up with a plan to de-clutter before you pack the belongings you will take with you. Take a walk through your home as objectively as possible, and write up a simple list of visible and non-visible items in each room, including closets. Record items you will Keep, Sell, Throw Out, Recycle, or Give Away.

You may have piles of stuff in the closets, on furniture and tables. If this is the case, you will need to sort through the items individually while composing your lists.
Before you begin the actual sorting process, collect an assortment of paper grocery bags, large sturdy plastic bags, or boxes to hold the sorted items. Make labels for the Keep, Sell, Throw Out, Recycle, or Give Away categories using a permanent magic marker directly on the containers/bags, or written on pieces of paper you can tape or staple on the surfaces.

Give yourself a goal to downsize your stuff in a major way. Having less stuff to move, unpack and re-organize makes it easier for you. Let go of at least 25 to 35 percent, or even more of your belongings. You will find the letting go process to be very freeing.
Then mark off three hour increments in your calendar to tackle the sorting, deciding and purging. If you have an overabundance of items, give yourself at least five, three hour sessions to accomplish your tasks. Deciding and sorting can be challenging, exhausting, and sometimes overwhelming. Take frequent breaks to rest and clear your mind.

Once everything is sorted, distribute the items to the appropriate sources. Some venues to sell are on eBay, Craig’s list, NEXT DOOR neighborhood, at local consignment shops,  via, or SELL.EBTH.COM/HOME (Everything But the House). Trash the throw-away’s, recycle documents that are generic, shred documents that contain personal information, and donate items to your local charity. Good Will is a good donation source. Organizations that pick up items are the Salvation Army, Veteran’s Association, and the Epilepsy Foundation. This part of the process can be not only time consuming, but require heavy duty labor. So, ask for help.

Once you’ve let go of all this stuff, you are ready to pack for your move. Be sure to contact a reputable moving company at least one month before your move date. If your move will be in the summer, call movers two months in advance to insure availability. Or, if you and friends will be doing the move yourselves, contact a truck rental place with enough time to be sure they will have the size truck you need available.

If you are moving in the near future, I’d love to know how these tips helped you. And, if you have any other ideas on the sorting, and purging and moving process that works well for you, let me and my blog followers know!

Stay tuned for my blog post: ‘Moving Trip-Kit Boxes’.

To schedule a complimentary 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at [email protected]

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