December 13, 2021

by Rose Morrison

Rose is the managing editor of Renovated, a home living site where she strives to help people live their best DIY lives.

There are so many responsibilities to juggle before you move. You must coordinate with utility companies, update your mailing address, and figure out your new commute to school or work. Then there’s the challenge of packing up your things. What happens if you’ve got too much stuff? Check out this ultimate guide to downsizing before your move to simplify your packing experience.

1. Learn more about minimalism

People collect things over the years because they continue buying goods or trinkets they don’t really need. You can downsize your home and keep it that way by decluttering and trying the minimalist lifestyle trend. There are so many benefits to living more simply, like:

  • Saving more money
  • Living in a clean environment
  • Finding more happiness with what you have

The main perk to this trend is quickly noticing which belongings you don’t use every day. You could also break habits that contributed to clutter around your home, like impulse shopping. Learn how to properly care for and clean your furniture and décor to keep it lasting longer and avoid the urge to purchase new. Those are the things to consider leaving behind before your big move.

2. Keep your most sentimental belongings

Sentimental clutter presents a complex challenge while packing up your home. Those boxes of old photographs or toys from your childhood might still tug on your heartstrings. Weigh the sentimental value of each object and consider asking for help if you can’t throw anything out. A friend could upload those photos to your computer or transform old shirts into a new quilt.

3. Identify the most common clutter

There are a few types of common household clutter that are easy to deal with. Look for stacks of books you haven’t read or office supplies that hang out around where you work from home. You might have collected clothes you never wear because they don’t fit and you haven’t had time to return them. Sometimes people unknowingly leave stacks of mail they’ve forgotten to throw out on their kitchen countertops.

You can easily toss these items because you don’t need them. Think about which collections of clutter have been sitting around your home for a while. You can pass unused belongings onto friends before moving to your new home or throw out whatever you might consider garbage, like old newspapers and opened mail.

4. Consult your roommates or loved ones

You might end your household search with piles of things that leave you more confused than before. If you don’t know what to keep during your upcoming move, ask your roommates or loved ones for help. They might point out a good reason to throw something away.

Asking for help from the people you live with also guarantees they’ll be happier after your move. They’ll get a voice in what they get to bring and feel more at home after unpacking your belongings. It’s an especially crucial step for parents since kids need extra kindness and help to deal with a significant life transition like moving.

5. Find a donation charity

Local thrift stores would love to have your possessions that are still useful. Gently used clothes and old electronics that work well would make someone’s day at a discount store. Walk around your local thrift stores to get more ideas about what you could donate. People are always looking for household goods and vintage treasures, so you might be able to donate everything you need to get rid of to finish downsizing.

If you want to donate furniture that won’t fit in your next living space, find charities that pick up donations so you don’t have to tow everything across town. Transportation often keeps people with smaller cars from giving away large belongings, but that doesn’t have to stop you from downsizing before your move while helping your community. Many stores offer free pickup or request a small fee to cover their gas mileage.

6. Follow your gut instinct

If the thought of paying to ship something makes you groan, you can likely toss or donate it. The belongings that mean the most to you will be among the first things you begin to pack. Anything that makes you pause is likely not worth taking with you to your new home.

When considering your possessions, listen to your gut. You shouldn’t feel obligated to keep anything or to throw anything away. Bring what makes you happy, and you’ll automatically leave behind the belongings that don’t need to come with you.

Downsizing before your move reduces move-day stress

Downsizing before your move makes the experience much more manageable. Downsizing gets rid of the unnecessary junk in your trunk so you can start fresh with the things you truly love or need. Whether you have a week or a couple of months to pack everything, you’ll know what to toss, donate or keep and simplify the process. And then contact Chicago’s favorite movers to help you have a stress-free and efficient move!

"We want your junk in our trunk"

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