How to Declutter Before a Move

Sep 7, 2023 / Alyssa Duranty

Experts say many people are motivated to learn how to declutter their home right before a move, which makes sense because, well, why take the time to move what you don’t use or love? You can also save money on moving supplies and movers when you pack less stuff.

“It’s important to declutter before you move. If you move just what you need, you’ll pay less in the long run,” said Ellen Delap, a certified professional organizer and owner of “Decluttering ahead of time will also help you get ready to embrace your new location and home.”

If it’s almost time to start packing up your home, and you want to shed as much stuff as you can beforehand, keep reading for Delap’s expert starter tips and more from another professional organizer! They’ll help you get space ready before moving day.

How to Declutter: Make a Game Plan

Set yourself up for decluttering success by creating a schedule outlining when you want to tackle each room of your home, said Delap.

“Set an appointment with yourself to do the decluttering,” she said. “It means you’ll commit to doing the work.”

Some movers may be able to tackle several rooms in a weekend; others may be more comfortable working through stuff for an hour each afternoon. Find what timeframe works for you by stopping when you get fatigued.

“Choose an amount of time that you’ll still be able to make good decisions, because stress can be paralyzing,” Delap added.

Focus on Sorting and Packing Less-Used Rooms

It’s best to start decluttering your home by going through rooms with the most unused items, like the attic or linen closet, because you’ll be able to donate or throw away more items.

“The garage is a good place to start, because we accumulate things in there that we used to use every day five years ago. But life changes and you don’t use them at all anymore,” said Susan Wade, a certified professional organizer and owner of Sunflower Strategies Organizing Services.

“Younger kids tend to accumulate a lot of toys and little things, so it will be easy to go through their room and purge the stuff they’ve grown out of,” she added.

Keepsakes take more time and emotions to declutter, so save those for when you have more time, said Delap.

“When you’re decluttering, gather the items you use together,” she said. “Put all your office supplies in one place so you know what you have and what you can get rid of. When things get busy, things can easily get placed on the wrong shelf. It’s easier to see what you have, the easier it will be to let go.”

Keep Decluttering at Your New Home

Even after spending weeks or months decluttering your old home, there’s a good chance you’ll find things you can get rid of once you’ve moved.

“A lot of times people run out of time or get tired of packing at the end,” said Wade. “That’s why you’ll need to declutter on the other end, too.”

If you’re planning to buy new stuff to fit into your new home, make sure you donate older things to stay organized and uncluttered.

“If you bring something in, take two things out,”; said Delap. “Before you buy something new in your house, get rid of two more things to give it space.”

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