Letting Go: How to Declutter for the Big Move

Written by Brittany Allen

Are you getting ready for a big move? We know that packing up your home can be taxing – both emotionally and logistically. Why not shed some of that stress by purging a few unnecessary items?

Collectors By Nature?

Accumulating stuff is just part of the human experience. Most people have a bit of a packrat tendency to one degree or another, but this is actually very normal. As Allison George of NewScientist.com said, “Possessions define us as a species; a life without them would be barely recognizable as human.”

It’s natural to cling to material wealth, even if it doesn’t have any use or value. Sometimes it’s sentimentality; sometimes it’s just pure survivor’s instinct.

But even though clutter is a relatively normal part of life, that doesn’t mean it’s always a good thing. On the contrary, it can contribute to mess, stress, and overall unhappiness. And we’re not talking about stuff that has a place or a purpose: we’re talking about the true-blue clutter, the things that have no discernible function, but you still just can’t seem to let go.

As humans, we seem to have an inherent fear of letting go: “However misguided, we can fear the loss of security, status, comfort, and love when we throw things out.”  Says June Saruwatari, author of Behind the Clutter, “You hold onto things based on hope.” Perhaps hope that you’ll use it again, or that it will have hidden value, or that you’ll suddenly realize how much you love it.

Where to Start Your Decluttering Journey

Whatever the reason you hang on to your beloved stuff, it can be a pain when moving. Here are a few items we think you can lose to help lighten the load.

By the Book

Books are awesome! We love getting lost in a good yarn as much as the next person. Still, not all books are created equal, and not all books will hold the same place in your heart. And the thing about books is that they are heavy. Have you ever tried to pick up a box packed full of books? You might as well be trying to lift a stack of bricks, and that’s the last thing you want when you’re trying to move.

So what do you do with all these heavy books that take up a ton of space? Well, you might want to think about scrapping a few of them before you go. Of course, there will always be those books that stay close to your heart—and if they truly bring you joy, then there’s no reason to get rid of them. But what about the ones that have overstayed their welcome? Consider giving them a new life by passing them along to someone else! Donate your pre-loved books to your local library, a hospital, or drop them off at a nearby Little Free Library. Rest assured that someone will appreciate them far more than if they were just gathering dust on your shelf.

Pillow Talk

Anything fabric in your house should be cleaned periodically. The unpleasant truth is that fabric catches and absorbs all kinds of microscopic particles. From pet dander to skin cells to dust, dirt, and even smells, your soft furnishings are absorbing it like a sponge.

According to experts, you should be cleaning your throw pillows regularly. Removable covers should get washed every two-to-four weeks, and the pillows/filling every other month.

Curtains, meanwhile, should be dry cleaned every three to six months. Maybe you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your throw pillows or curtains—if ever. In that case, you may be better off tossing these soft furnishings away and getting something fresh for your new place.

Throw pillows and curtains may just be some of those things where it’s better to say, “out with the old and in with the new!” It’s fresher, cleaner, and frankly, it’s just one less thing to pack.

Décor

Leave the underwhelming décor behind. Why drag it with you to your new place if you don’t even really like or know what to do with it? You don’t have to go full Marie Kondo on your living room—after all, minimalism isn’t everyone’s thing! But at least give yourself some time to think critically about what you’re bringing with you. Maybe you scooped some cheap furniture on sale, or it was handed down to you by a relative. But if you don’t love it, wouldn’t it be better used by someone else?

Consider these tips less about purging and more about packing consciously. After all, fresh home, a fresh start, right? Before or after the move, you might want to remodel. Schedule a virtual consultation today to find out how we can add value to your home.

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