You never notice how much stuff you have until it’s time to move it. One of the best times to purge is when preparing for a move. Save yourself the trouble of packing and unpacking more than you need to and get rid of unnecessary items before you pack. Follow these guidelines for an easier move and purge of your home.
Setting up the purge
As you go to pack up each room, give yourself four piles: keep, donate, sell, and trash. Notice there is no “maybe” pile. The maybe pile tends to be clothes you can’t fit in, things you won’t fix, and stuff you won’t use or need to have. “Maybes” belong in the donate, sell, or trash pile.
Before you put anything into a box ask yourself, “When was the last time I used this?” If you haven’t used it in the last three months, ask yourself, “Is this a seasonal item?” If it’s not a seasonal item – think your favorite sweater you haven’t worn in three months because it’s 90 degrees outside or your artificial Christmas tree -then you probably don’t need it.
The bathroom is one room of the house where it is easy to build clutter without recognizing it. Those mini bottles of hotel shampoo, bottles of aspirin with one pill left, and nail polish that has hardened in the bottle can add up to a lot of clutter.
Most of the items in your medicine cabinet will belong in the keep or trash pile. First, throw out anything expired. Next, look at things that are nearly empty and merge them into one bottle to save space -think putting two bottles of lotion together or putting all those loose bobby pins into one bag.
As far as towels go, your need will depend on the amount of people in your home. Unclutterer.com recommends this formula for deciding how many towels to keep: (House residents + guest bedrooms) x 2 = Sets of bath towels and washcloths.
Tupperware containers you never returned to their owner, a drawer full of pens that don’t write, or the pile full of your kids’ old school papers … no matter which category you fall under, the kitchen is also a big junk magnet. The real problem with kitchen junk is a majority of the clutter tend to be items you need and use, but you just have too many!
While the standard kitchen items such as cutting boards, oven mitts, or plates do seem necessary, multiples of them probably aren’t. This includes crockpots, vegetable peelers, corkscrews, can openers, coffee makers, cast iron skillets, and cheese graters.
Meanwhile, a majority of junk-drawer trash is in the form of takeout menus and condiment packages. Most restaurants have their menus available online, so go ahead and put all those takeout menus in the recycling, throw away those packages of red peppers from your favorite pizza place, and the pens that don’t work – pitch them. Remember, you don’t want to move junk – if you refer to it as the “junk drawer” it’s probably best to put its contents in the trash.
Packing up areas like the living room or dining room tend to be easier because they normally have less storage space than other rooms. When packing up your living room most of the choices you’ll have to make will be based on entertainment items like books, magazines, DVDs, and CDs.
Put any magazines into recycling (you will get more). Look over your collection of movies, CDs, and books for things you can do without. You can decide which you might be able to sell and which of these you can donate. If it’s not entertaining you anymore, get rid of it and let it entertain someone else. Also look for any knick-knacks or decorations you don’t really love anymore. Let your new place have a fresh start.
Your bedroom is where you go to unwind and to find sanctuary. Nothing can ruin your relaxation time like a cluttered bedroom. When it comes to bedding you shouldn’t need more than two sets of bedding per bed. Apartment Therapy points out that you may need more than this if you have young children.
Many people find they like to read a good book to unwind from the day, but those books tend to pile up. When packing up your bedroom consider donating books you don’t intend on reading again. Be aware of the hidden things you should purge. A lot of the things stored under your bed are there because you’ve convinced yourself you need to have it, but it’s not something you actually use. If there are things you haven’t used or don’t need, save yourself the box space and donate, sell, or trash!
This space is the hardest to purge for many people and is the only room you are allowed to make a “maybe” pile in order to avoid putting things you should get rid of directly into the “keep” pile. For non-seasonal items ask yourself, “When was the last time I wore this?” “Does it still fit?” “When will I wear this again?” Don’t ask yourself, “Will I wear it again,” because it’s easy to tell yourself you will and then keep it, only to have it stay on the hanger and never see the light of day again.
You can do it!
While purging your belongings can be scary, it will make you feel better afterward and make your move a little lighter. Remember, for seasonal or larger items, storage is always an option. Don’t feel obligated to purge everything but use discretion.