We’ve all moved locations at one point or another, and the process of doing so always involves taking stock of what possessions are most important to us. While this can turn into a bit of an existential exercise, most of the time it’s related to our physical objects. Over time we tend to collect a lot of items that may or may not hold value to us all the time, and when we move, we’re forced to make some hard decisions. To keep, or not to keep? There’s something exciting about moving into a new space. Perhaps for the first time in your life, you can imagine that peaceful bedroom retreat, that spa-like vision of your master bath, or the hip café feel of your new kitchen.
Then you start to unpack your boxes and suddenly, your beautiful new space is transformed into something not unlike your old one. Your serene bedroom fills up with piles of stuff you can’t find any other place for, your spa-like bathroom overflows with half-used bottles of hair products and mismatched towels, your café kitchen is crammed with rarely used appliances, and enough plastic bags to supply your local grocery store for a week. What happened?
You brought your clutter with you. Not only that, you paid to have it moved to your new home. Stuff you rarely use, things you don’t like, items you felt obligated to keep because they were a gift, or you spent a lot of money on them at the time. And suddenly, the fresh new start gets stuck in the clutter of your past.
So, what can you do to make sure that your next home is clutter free? Declutter BEFORE you move. You can start at any time by getting rid of stuff you know you don’t want or need. In fact, getting rid of obvious clutter is a great way to ready your home for sale. But, for the rest of the stuff, the less obvious clutter, packing is a wonderful opportunity to look at your stuff in a new light.
By sorting like items with like, you will have the opportunity to look at your things with fresh eyes. This will allow you to choose the very best of a collection for your new space and to leave behind anything that you don’t really love and value or that you know you won’t have room for in your new space. For example, gather all your books from every room in your house. This will allow you to accurately assess how many books you have and to think about how and where you will store your books in your new space – perhaps you’ll decide to create a library in the dining room, or choose to reduce your books to a few favorite and donate the rest to your local library. You can repeat this sorting process with small appliances, sporting equipment, photos, ornaments, holiday decorations, files, CD’s and DVD’s, clothing and so forth.
Choosing what goes with you and what goes elsewhere involves asking yourself some tough questions. Do I still use this? Does this fit in with my current lifestyle? Do I have room for this in my new space? Do I still like this? Do I need ALL of these? Be honest and realistic about how “many” of each item you NEED. Keep your favorites and let the rest go. And don’t forget to consider replacing some things. Perhaps now is the time to get some new towels or bedding. Even furniture should be carefully considered as to its suitability for your new space.
Donate, recycle, trash or sell the items you have decided to get rid of before your move date. Under no circumstances should these items get packed or moved with you.
With the items you’ve chosen to keep, box them and clearly label the item(s) inside. This will make unpacking and locating items a much easier process after your move.
If you have an unlimited number of boxes and storage space at your disposal, then you will most likely keep more than you need. In this case, what you can do is place limitations on how much room you will have in the moving truck or storage unit so that you can figure out what needs to be donated. For example, limiting yourself to only two large boxes for each bedroom can force you to leave behind unnecessary items. By holding yourself to these limitations, you’ll invariably get a better idea of what can go and what can be donated.
By following these simple steps, you will be working toward a fresh new start in your new home. You don’t have to live under the weight of your past. Take control of your things and create that special new space that you can proudly call home.