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How to Declutter Your Home for a Move or Renovation

Written by
Published on
August 26, 2014

I write a lot about how to declutter your home for a move or renovation Why? Well, a few years ago, when I was going through household moving, I read a post by Zen Habits on the decluttering and it stuck with me. At the time, I was drowning in trash and donation bags, completely stressed out, and seemed so fitting. I’ve always loved moving – and maybe one of the reasons why is because it forces me to get rid of things I don’t need. Nothing makes me happier than a clutter free home. That’s because mess makes us anxious, even if we don’t want to admit it. If you are planning a move or major renovation, chances are you are going to have to get rid of some stuff. Your new home, or your new design, may not match the items you have. This is a great time to assess what you really need. You can even bring in friends, family or an interior designer to help you sort through furniture items, art and other decorative pieces. Here are some more tips for decluttering your home for a move or renovation: Plan ahead and leave plenty of time. If you are serious about de-cluttering, chances are that you will want to get rid of items that are still usable. This stuff is great for yard sales, Craigslist and donations to local charities , so give yourself enough time to sell items off or give them away. Develop a sorting system. In the past, I’ve suggested that people use green, yellow and red sticky notes to identify what is staying (green), what is going (red) and what is a maybe (yellow). Most of the time, my yellows turn to red because I usually do want get rid of as much as possible. These big items are great for selling, so if you take inventory early you can start figuring out how to unload them.

color code stickies to organize your move

Focus. If you try to take on too much, you will panic. This is why it’s great to de-clutter year round! Pick a room to start in, then pick one drawer (or one shelf) and focus on that. Take your drawer, empty it out, and go through the pile to select out only the items you know you need. Toss the rest. Move on to the next drawer and continue the process methodically around the room until you are done.

declutter your home

Get rid of the paper mountain. I have an unnatural fear of identity theft . It’s so bad that I tend to hoard mail because I’m worried about people stealing my information. If you are anything like me, there is nothing more liberating than getting rid of unnecessary papers. Put all of your truly important paperwork in a safe place, then borrow a shredder and go to town on the rest. Tackle the closet. Maybe it’s a girl thing, but I keep clothes for way too long. Ladies, if you haven’t fit in your skinny jeans for the past five years the chances are that ship has sailed. Gentlemen, no self-respecting man should ever wear underwear/socks/undershirts/sweatpants with holes in it. If you haven’t worn an item of clothing for the past two seasons, then either it doesn’t fit or you don’t like it. If it’s wearable, then give it away to someone who needs it. If you have items of clothing that look like they joined your papers in the shredding machine, then throw them away. Sort your shoes. People tend to hang on to shoes much like they do their clothes, broken heels and all. If you have shoes that are damaged beyond repair or no longer suitable for their intended purpose (ripped running shoes , for example), toss them. These are just a few of the steps I talk about when it comes to decluttering. The best tip I can give is to be honest with yourself about what you really need. What do you use regularly in your home? What has real sentimental value? What has languished for years without attention? Paige Holden is the Director of Communications for Holman Moving Systems , an agent for United. She blog regularly about household goods moving and corporate relocation issues for Adventures in Moving and Mastering Mobility.

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