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How to Declutter Your Home Before Moving Day

clothes in a clear plastic bin with a donation sticker on the outside

From small moves to large ones, every move is different. Probably the only thing that most moves have in common is time, and lots of it. Face facts, moving is a time consuming and stressful necessity for just about everyone, from the large family with a six-bedroom home to the retired couple that are downsizing and moving to a smaller home. Anyone who tells you that you can have a "stress-free" move is either completely nuts or about to hand you a moving estimate for $20,000+. You're likely on our website because you are looking for the most affordable way to move, and if that is the case then you will have to be hands-on with your move.

The bottom line is that very few, if any, do-it-yourself moves are stress-free. However, like with most other activities your stress can be reduced by properly preparing for your move well in advance of moving day.

We've taken the liberty of outlining some nifty ways to reduce the clutter, remove the junk and organize your home to make your upcoming move more manageable. For those of you who are procrastinators or not easily motivated think about it this way: The cost of both a DIY move and a full-service move is directly related to how much stuff you have. Many people who fail to declutter prior to their move end up transporting it only to throw it out when they arrive at their new home. The takeaway: Get rid of the stuff you no longer want or need before you move and your move will become less expensive. Use a moving checklist to help keep you on track so you're ready when moving day finally arrives.

Moving soon? Find affordable local movers to do the heavy lifting for you on our mover marketplace.


The first step to getting your home into shape for your move is to declutter:

  1. The goal of decluttering is to determine what is junk, what is no longer of importance or value to you and what you will be taking with you.
  2. Most people tend to use their garage and basement for storage, start here and you will discover the bulk of what needs to be sorted.
  3. Sort your junk items into different categories: Junk-Trash, Junk-Donate and Junk-Recycle.
  4. The items that are no longer important to you are generally not junk or trash but instead hold potential value, just not to you. You may be able to sell these items to earn some extra cash. Sort these as well.
  5. As you're sorting the junk and non-important items you will find that the things you plan to keep will sort themselves.

Sell or Donate

It's important to have as little environmental impact as possible during this process. In other words, throw away as little as possible. Think about these potential solutions for items that are not trash:

  • Have a yard/garage sale.
  • Resell more valuable electronics and furniture on Craigslist, eBay or similar websites. Some items like cell phones, printers, and computers have great trade-in value at retailers.
  • If your electronics aren't in good enough condition to sell then be sure to recycle them. Yes, you can recycle old electronics.
  • Recycle items in good working condition with little value by donating to churches, Goodwill, local charities or by using websites like Freecycle. Some charities will even pick up your donations for free!

Removing the Junk

"Junk" is a broad term, frankly we think of junk as the larger and bulkier items that cannot simply be trashed. Items such as furniture, building materials, and electronics that require special disposal sites. Let's look at some cost-effective (our fancy way of saying "affordable") ways to remove junk from your home:

  • Want to rid yourself of junk for free? Believe it or not, it may be a possibility for you. A new niche of junk removal opened not too long ago and it doesn't cost you a dime. The catch? These companies are recouping their costs by selling commodities such as copper, typically found in old appliances and electronics. Chances are they will only provide this service if you meet their criteria.
  • If you have a pickup truck or know someone who does, make a few trips to the dump for a very small and affordable fee. If you're friends aren't available to help you can always hire moving help to do the heavy lifting for you.
  • If you don't have the time or patience, or if you simply have too much junk you can hire a professional junk removal company to do it for you.
Moving soon? Find affordable local movers to do the heavy lifting for you on our mover marketplace.


Now that you've rid yourself of the junk, trashed those bills from 1996 and spent a few hours browsing your old high school yearbook it's time to get organized. Taking your time and doing a thorough job will ensure that when it's time to pack your moving boxes the process will be quick and simple.

  • Consider purchasing reusable rubber or plastic containers for storage. They're great for stacking, affordable, durable and can double as moving boxes.
  • You can also rent plastic moving crates for local moves. This is a great way to avoid buying plastic bins but still reap their benefits.
  • Label, label, label! What does that cord go to? What happened to the assembly hardware for our bed? Use plastic baggies, a sharpie, and rubber bands to thoroughly label your items. Keep these items close throughout your entire move as they are must haves on moving day.

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