Efficient Moving: Your Ultimate Guide to Effective Decluttering

Moving home can often seem like an overwhelming task. A huge factor adding to the stress is figuring out what to take with you and what to leave behind. As daunting as it may sound, decluttering before moving can make the entire process more manageable, particularly when packing and unpacking. 

This guide aims to remove the strain of moving with practical advice that focuses on streamlining your belongings – making packing and unpacking a breeze during this major transition. Let's dive in!

How to Get Rid of Stuff When Moving?

Adhering to these expert recommendations on how to dispose of belongings during a move can ensure a smoother transition to your new living space and facilitate a quicker settling-in process upon arrival.

1. Evaluate Your Belongings

Relocating to a new home can be an exciting yet overwhelming endeavor, especially when deciding which items should be kept and which should be let go. It is crucial to declutter before the move to streamline the process and increase efficiency, particularly for couples with children and pets.

A. Differentiate Between Necessities and Desires

The initial step in assessing your belongings involves distinguishing between genuinely necessary items and mere wants or desires. Consider whether each item serves a practical purpose or occupies space without providing real value. For instance, do you require three dinnerware sets, or would one set suffice?

B. Assess Items Based on Frequency of Use

Another factor to consider when evaluating your possessions is how frequently they are utilized. If there are items that have remained untouched for months (or even years), chances are you won't miss them once they are removed from your life.

  • Clothing: Have you worn it in the past year? If not, consider donating or selling it.
  • Kitchen appliances: Are there gadgets collecting dust because they are rarely used? This might be an opportunity to part ways with those gadgets.
  • Toys: Do your children still regularly play with all their toys? Donate any unused toys so that other kids can enjoy them.

C. Check for Expiration Dates and Item Conditions

While sorting through household items like food products, toiletries, and medications, it is important to check for expiration dates. Expired items should be disposed of appropriately. Additionally, assess the condition of your belongings; if they are irreparably broken or damaged, it is time to bid them farewell.

D. Consider Your New Space

Before making any decisions about what to keep and what to let go, take a moment to consider your new living space. Will there be sufficient room for all your current possessions? Are there specific items that won't fit well in the new layout? Use this information to determine which belongings should accompany you to your new home.

Considering these factors while assessing your belongings, you will have an easier time identifying what should be left behind before embarking on your moving journey. This can provide advantages such as reduced time and diminished anxiety.

Evaluating your possessions is an effective way to decide which items should be retained and which could be given away or discarded. To ensure that nothing important gets left behind, create a checklist of all the items that need to be moved.

2. Make a Checklist

Before initiating the decluttering process in your home, creating a comprehensive checklist that will help you stay organized and focused throughout the endeavor is crucial. Generate a list of all the items you intend to discard and prioritize them based on their significance. This approach will enable you to tackle each room more efficiently and ensure everything is noticed.

Adopting a Room-by-Room Approach

For a thorough decluttering, we recommend adopting a room-by-room approach when constructing your checklist. Begin by listing all the rooms in your house, including common areas like living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms, as well as bedrooms and storage spaces such as garages or basements.

  1. Living Room: Old magazines / newspapers, outdated electronics (e.g., DVD players), worn-out furniture or rugs.
  2. Kitchen: Unused appliances (e.g., bread makers), duplicate utensils / cookware / bakeware / dinnerware / glassware / cutlery sets / containers / lids / spices, expired food products.
  3. Bathrooms: Expired medications / toiletries / makeup / haircare products / skincare products; damaged towels / rugs / accessories / fixtures; unused cleaning supplies / organizers / storage solutions / decorations, etc.
  4. Bedrooms: Outgrown clothing / shoes / accessories / jewelry / toys / games / books / electronics / furniture / bedding / window treatments / light fixtures / paintings / artwork / photos / wall decorations.
  5. Pet Supplies: Damaged toys / treats / grooming tools / leashes / collars / carriers / kennels, etc.
  6. Garage / Basement / Storage Spaces: Broken tools / equipment / sports gear / bicycles / lawn care items / paint cans / holiday decorations / craft supplies, etc.

Once you have listed all the rooms and their respective items to declutter, prioritize them based on their frequency of use or necessity. This will help you determine which ones should be addressed first.

Prioritizing Your Checklist

Consider the size of each room, the amount of clutter, and any upcoming events, and also consider emotional attachments or sentimental value attached to specific belongings when deciding which items to prioritize on your checklist.

  • High Priority: Rooms with many cluttered items or frequently used spaces; items with no sentimental value or minimal practical use.
  • Moderate Priority: Rooms with moderate amounts of clutter; items occasionally used but not essential for daily life.
  • Low Priority: Rooms rarely accessed (e.g., attic); items with strong sentimental attachments but minimal functionality.

3 . Purge and Profit

A move offers a perfect chance to clear out clutter and make a fresh beginning in your new location. Giving away or selling unused items lightens your relocation burden, benefits those in need, and may yield additional funds for moving expenses.

A. Identifying Donatable Items

Numerous organizations welcome gently used items such as clothing, furniture, toys, and household goods in good condition. Here are some guidelines for deciding what to donate:

  • Assess the condition of each item – if it's damaged, soiled, or irreparable, it's better to discard it.
  • Consider whether someone else could utilize the item – if it's been idle for years, someone else will likely value it more.
  • Contact local charities like Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or other non-profit thrift stores to understand their donation guidelines and accepted items.

B. Planning a Garage Sale

If you own several items that retain value but are not suitable for your new home or lifestyle, think about planning a garage sale:

  1. Choose a date at least a fortnight in advance, giving yourself sufficient time for preparations and promoting the event on social media platforms like Facebook Marketplace and the Nextdoor app.
  2. Assemble all items for sale in one place so potential buyers can easily view them during the event without digging through boxes marked “for sale.”
  3. Set a reasonable price for each item based on its condition and desirability, keeping in mind that the primary goal is to minimize clutter rather than maximize profit.
  4. Arrange tables, racks, or other displays to present your items in an organized fashion on the day of the sale.

C. Online Sales of Items

If a garage sale doesn't appeal to you, or if you have valuable items that might attract higher prices online, consider selling them on websites like:

  • eBay – for distinctive collectibles and antiques,
  • Facebook Marketplace – for local sales with no shipping involved,
  • Poshmark – for lightly used clothes and accessories,
  • OfferUp – for furniture and larger household items.

Investing time in giving away or selling unwanted items before moving can help reduce packing time and deliver benefits like aiding charities, earning additional money, or even fostering new community relationships. With these strategies, you'll be prepared to start afresh in your new home without clutter.

4. Discard Unwanted Items

Relocating is a perfect time to get rid of unwanted items that have been cluttering your home. Disposing of these items appropriately cuts moving costs and creates space for new possessions in your new home. Follow these guidelines to responsibly and efficiently get rid of non-essential items.

Recycle Conscientiously

Before tossing any item, check if it's recyclable. Many items, like paper, plastic containers, and glass bottles, can be conveniently recycled at local recycling centers or through curbside pickup programs. Always check your local recycling guidelines for specific instructions on acceptable materials.

Hazardous Waste Disposal

Due to environmental or safety hazards, household items should not be discarded with regular trash. These include paint cans, batteries, electronics (e-waste), and chemicals like pesticides or cleaning solutions. Consult your local waste management facility for guidelines on disposing of hazardous waste.

  • Batteries: Use resources like Call2Recycle's locator tool to find a nearby battery recycling drop-off point.
  • E-Waste: Locate an e-waste collection event or a certified electronics recycler using the Sustainable Electronics Recycling International directory.
  • Paint Cans: Find paint disposal options near you by visiting the PaintCare recycling locator.
  • Chemicals: Contact your local waste management facility for information on hazardous waste disposal events and drop-off points.

Large Item Collection

For large, unwanted items too big for regular trash pickup, like furniture or appliances, check with your local waste management company about arranging a bulky item collection. Many local governments provide this service for free or at a small cost. 

Disposing unwanted items appropriately during your move can make the process smoother, contribute to a cleaner environment, and help others through donations. Remember to start decluttering early so that by the time you're ready to pack the moving truck, only the essential items for your new home remain. If you're downsizing, these moving tips will help you start packing and begin the move seamlessly.

5. Pack Only What You Need

Packing only what is necessary can save time and effort when moving and can also result in a neater living space in your new home. Follow these steps to pack efficiently:

Create a Packing and Unpacking Inventory List

Before packing, create a detailed inventory of all items in each room. This will help identify what can be left behind or discarded.

Pack Essential Items First

Prepare daily essentials such as clothes, toiletries, and important documents. Label boxes with their contents to make unpacking easier in your new home.

Consider Your New Space

Consider the dimensions and layout of your new home when deciding what furniture and appliances to take. If certain items won't fit or aren't needed, consider selling or donating them before moving day.

Pack Less Frequently Used Items Last

Holiday decorations, sports equipment, books, and DVDs can be packed last since they are optional for daily living. Consider donating some to reduce clutter in your new home. If you're looking to rent a moving truck, just visit Enterprise Truck Rental or Budget Truck Rental to help transport your belongings in one go.

Discard Unnecessary Items

Any items that don't fall into the categories above should be considered for donation, sale, or disposal. Remember, less is more when moving, and by reducing clutter now, you'll make your new living space more organized and enjoyable.

Following these steps and packing only what is necessary saves time and effort and makes a fresh start in your new home. If you're downsizing, this is the perfect opportunity to declutter and make space in your new home. Be mindful of moving costs, start packing early to minimize stress on moving days, and wish you a happy move!


When moving, it's important to assess your belongings and create a checklist to determine what you need to keep, donate, sell, and dispose of creating a list of what to keep, give away or sell, and discard can save you time and money when relocating while also tidying up your house.

Donating or selling extra items is a great way to give back to the community while earning extra cash. And for items that cannot be donated or sold, disposing of them properly is crucial for both safety and environmental reasons.

If you're looking for professional help with your move, contact 5 Star Movers Brooklyn. Our experienced moving crews can help you with packing and unpacking and transport your belongings safely and efficiently locally.

Relocation Specialist

Kyran Wiley is a caring relocation specialist and an empowering mentor, renowned for her exceptional expertise in guiding individuals and families through successful relocations. With a genuine passion for helping others navigate the complexities of moving, Linda has become a trusted source of support, offering compassionate assistance and expert guidance during this transformative phase.

Linda's interest in the moving process was sparked during her own experiences of relocating to different cities due to her family's job transfers. These transitions exposed her to the challenges and opportunities that came with each move, igniting her curiosity about the logistics and emotional aspects of relocations. Inspired to make a positive impact in the lives of others during times of change, Linda pursued a career in the moving industry.