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Moving house offers you an opportunity to declutter your home and start afresh in a new abode, surrounded by things you love and nothing more. Decluttering can also help you save money when you move, because you’re not paying to move or store things you no longer need.

However, decluttering a home where you’ve collected a lifetime of memories (and stuff) can be absolutely overwhelming. Where on earth do you start? How can you possibly get rid of so much clutter all at once? You may look around you and feel so overwhelmed with the enormity of the task that you cannot get started and keep putting it off. Then before you know it, it’s time to pack house and you find yourself shoving everything into packing boxes anyway.

We understand this can be a really tough process, but we have some great tips to help you get through. You can do this!

Start Early

Try to leave yourself ample time to declutter before you start packing to move. It is better to declutter a little bit at a time, over a longer period, than to attempt it all at once and have no energy left for your move. Ideally, give yourself 4-6 weeks before moving day. During this time, put a moratorium on buying anything new, unless it will be required immediately in your new house.

Don’t Move, Remove!

Decluttering isn’t very helpful if you just move the clutter from one space to another. You need to get that clutter out of the house as soon as possible. For the duration of your decluttering period, have three bins set up:

  • Rubbish / Recycling
  • Donation
  • Keep

Check with your local council as to what can be recycled – you’ll find options for batteries, eWaste, glassware, CDs, etc. – and schedule a hard waste collection. Move items for recycling or donating to your car every day, and make regular trips to get rid of things as soon as possible. You might also consider hiring a skip for larger clean-ups.

For items you’ll keep, consider whether they can be put in packing boxes immediately. For example, you can declutter and pack out-of-season clothes, games & toys, extra linen, etc. Have packing supplies on hand right from the start of your declutter.

Where to Start?

How do you take that first step when you’re overwhelmed? In the case of decluttering, half-done is better than nothing done, so don’t aim for a perfectly complete job. If you get there, great! Moreover, you don’t have to work methodically or in any particular order. The most important thing is simply to start – it doesn’t matter where or how much you get done, any and all progress is helpful.

To get going, consider these approaches:

  1. Start small with decluttering

Set yourself small, manageable goals, such as one shelf or one drawer at a time. You can even set a timer for, say, 20 mins a day. By only tackling bite-sized chunks, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and more inclined to start. Once you see your progress, you’ll be more likely to keep going.

  1. Start with the area that irritates you the most

It might be a bench top where everything gets dumped, or a drawer full of cables, but tackle the thing that is driving you mad to look at. Once it’s cleared and organised you’ll feel so much better and able to think about your next step. Oh, and be brutal – if it’s been shoved in a drawer for any length of time, chances are you can throw it out.

  1. Start with these quick wins
  • Wardrobes – pull everything out and discard anything that doesn’t currently fit (no, don’t keep items that ‘might’ fit one day!), needs mending, or hasn’t been worn for 12 months. For kid’s clothes, only keep clothes in current and next sizes up.
  • Bathroom – empty makeup, toiletries and medicines out and throw away anything out of date, mostly used up or that you haven’t used in the past six months.
  • Kitchen – get rid of any containers without matching lids; appliances, crockery or utensils that haven’t been used in the past month; expired food. Try to prepare meals using up what’s already in the pantry.
  • Gadgets – Place cables and chargers with their appliances and discard anything left over, including any gadgets no longer in use. This includes old modems, phones, computers, etc.

Once you’ve moved past the easy wins, you’ll find this advice useful to continue decluttering successfully through learning to let go.

Pay Someone

If you just don’t have the time, energy or headspace to declutter, pay someone to do it for you! Moving house is hard work and immensely stressful – it’s OK not to do it all yourself. What you pay on a decluttering professional, you may save on reduced removal costs because you now have less stuff to move.

Love this idea but not sure who to use? We recommend the wonderful Delicate Days. For the budget-conscious, here are some tips on how to save money when moving house.

Don’t Re-Clutter!

Moving house provides a great opportunity to remove the clutter in your life and enjoy living in a more relaxed and appealing environment.

So, after all that hard work– don’t re-build the clutter! Become more conscious in your future purchases. If you feel a need to acquire something, make it a rule to wait a week and re-consider if you still feel it’s needed. If you’re about to make a spontaneous purchase while out shopping, consider, ‘if I buy this, where will it go?’. If you cannot think of a perfect place for it right away, don’t buy it! Finally, if you do make a purchase, think about a ‘one in one out’ rule – for everything you bring in, is there something you can now let go of?

Happy decluttering, and enjoy your fresh new living space!

If you’re Melbourne–based and looking to move house, Pinder Tower Movers are highly experienced removalists offering excellent customer service on moves across Melbourne, country areas and interstate. They can also arrange decluttering and packing services on your behalf.