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How to Declutter Your Home Before Moving

Martha Lott
Written by Martha Lott
12th June 2018 (Last updated on Monday 14th October 2019)

A 2017 documentary estimated that we hoard 30 billion pounds of unwanted clothing as a nation – and that’s just clothes. According to Compare the Market, 1 in 2 people admit to holding onto household items for longer than they should, that’s 54% of the UK with increasingly cluttered homes.

Most people let the clutter build up because they have no idea where to start. Decluttering your home is a simple and beneficial task if you stick to a method, at your own pace. We’ve compiled a few popular methods and useful tips on the benefits of decluttering, where to start and how to declutter your home before moving. Read on to find out how decluttering will save you money on your house removals.

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This article will cover the following points

Why Declutter Before Moving House? Why is Decluttering So Difficult? Decluttering Methods How to Declutter Your Room by Room Declutter Guide Save on Moving House Costs How To Declutter Infographic

Why Declutter Before Moving House?

Not only is decluttering highly therapeutic, but it’s proven to improve your happiness. An organised home equals an organised life and mind. When you declutter before moving house, you are starting as you mean to go on, freeing yourself of junk and unwanted items and moving on in every possible sense. A clutter free house can help you sleep better as well as giving you more hours in the day. 

How an uncluttered home can help

You should always declutter your home every now and then, but when you’re moving to a new house, it’s even more important. Decluttering before moving will save you money on your home removal costs, as they’ll be packing up less items. The quotes you receive from removal companies can be dependent on the size of your home and the volume of your belongings. Don’t forget, if you declutter after you’ve been given your price then let the removal company know to see if they can adjust the quote. For more information of what you should do before moving house, check out our moving house checklist

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Why is Decluttering So Difficult?

There’s many reasons most us put off decluttering our homes - not enough time, don’t know where to start, can’t get rid of items, the list is endless. As stated below, a staggering 1 in 3 of the nation admit they don't like getting rid of items. If you are surrounded by mess, then it affects your productivity and well-being.

We waste 3,680 hours looking for lost items such as keys, mobile phones and wallets.

Decluttering statistics The amount of wasted time each year

Data from Compare the Market

Decluttering Methods

1.Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant and author who’s decluttering methodology, KonMari, has sparked fascination worldwide. The key to one of the most famous decluttering methods is to ask yourself “does this item spark joy?” If the answer is no, then you treat the item with respect and send it on its way to a new life. She suggests you start to declutter your home by targeting categories and not room by room, starting with the easiest subject such as clothes or books, leaving photographs and nostalgic items until last.

2.Swedish Death Cleaning

This decluttering phenomenon is based on the book by Margareta Magnusson, ‘The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter’. The idea is that you declutter your house to save your friends and family having to go through all of your personal belongings after you die. This is a great method to declutter your home and life.

3.Project 333

Project 333 is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to choose only 33 items of clothing and accessories for 3 months. However, this method is an extremely useful way to declutter your home also. Every 3 months pick 33 items you no longer wear, use or have never used and decide how to get rid of them. Alternatively, choose a few items a day that you can sell or donate to slowly declutter your home.

4.The Minimalists 90/90 Rule

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, The Minimalists, created the 90/90 rule to tackle the task of decluttering. If you haven’t used the item in the last 90 days and don’t plan on using it in the next 90 days, then get rid of it. Living a minimalist lifestyle is a current trend amongst home décor, you could use this as motivation to declutter your home completely. 

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How to Declutter

Now that you know the most weird and wonderful decluttering methods, here’s how you should start to declutter before moving house. 

1. Be Ruthless

Before you even attempt to start decluttering your house, you have to ensure you have the correct mindset. You must be completely ruthless when sorting through your personal belongings. If you answer no the first 3 questions below and yes to the last 2 - then donate, sell or throw out the item. 

We spoke to Helen Sanderson, Space Therapist, decluttering expert and creator of the Home Declutter Kit, who gave her methodology behind decluttering. She says it’s best to “start with letting go of the things you no longer need as they will be holding you back and blocking the flow in your life. Remember, the less you have, the less you have to manage and the more time you'll have to enjoy your new home and this next chapter of your life.”

She also believes you should think of the future when decluttering. “Declutter your home to create room for your future. Take the opportunity of moving house to make a fresh start in life.”

Decluttering questions

2. Start Early to Save on Costs

It’s vital you start to declutter early when you’re moving house. It is important that you give the removal company an accurate estimation of how many boxes they’re going to be moving - so if you start early, the more money you could save on removal costs.

3. eBay

An easy way to declutter your house is to first put aside everything that you can sell. Clothes that no longer fit or you never wear, any electrical devices you’ve only used a handful of times or that pile of unwanted/unused Christmas presents. This is a fun way to go about decluttering as you know you’ll make some money throughout the process. It’s useful to label 3 boxes ‘charity’ ‘sell’ and ‘tip/dump’ and if you come across something you never use during your daily activity, choose which box it belongs in. eBay, Depop and Gumtree are all easy ways to earn some cash as well as decluttering.

4. 30 Day De-Clutter Challenge

The 30 Day De-Clutter Challenge is designed to tackle a small part of the clearing out each day for a month. You can sign up for free and get the tasks emailed to you each day or alternatively you can create your own specific tasks each day.

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Your Room by Room Declutter Guide

Step 1 - Attic/Garage

The attic and garage are usually where most of us dump things we use once a year, like Christmas decorations. It’s likely these places will hold clutter that’s easy to get rid of. This is a good starting place.

  • Get rid of anything that’s been there for over a year
  • Keep floor space clear by putting up shelves
  • Don’t store anything that could be affected by extreme weather

Step 2 – Bedroom

This is another easy starting point as most of us only use 20% of the contents of our wardrobes.

  • Start by sorting through your clothes
  • Get rid of expired and empty make up/body lotions
  • Only keep essentials on your bedside table/dressing table
  • Get rid of random receipts/train tickets that build up

Step 3 - Living Room

We spend a lot of time in our living rooms so it’s easy to build up clutter.

  • Get rid of old TV remotes and unused wires
  • Recycle old newspapers and magazines
  • Donate books/CD/DVD 
  • Organise photo albums and get rid of blurred photographs – these could be stored in your newly decluttered attic

Step 4 – Bathroom

Everyone is guilty of storing a heap of expired and unused sets of toiletries in the bathroom.

  • Keep bathroom storage down to 1 or 2 boxes
  • You only need 1 shampoo, conditioner and shower gel/soap at a time
  • Get rid of expired, mouldy and empty bottles
  • Donate or get rid of unused or old/stained towels

Step 5 – Kitchen

We spend most of our time in our kitchens, using items in there every day.

  • Get rid of expired food/jars/sauces/cupboard food
  • Recycle contents of the drawer that’s usually filled with take away menus/receipts/broken lighters
  • Donate cups/mugs/plates/crockery and limit the amount you own
  • You only need 1 set of plates/cutlery/glasses, 2 at most for guests

Once you’ve decluttered each room, check out our packing tips for moving house.

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How To Declutter Infographic

How To Declutter Infographic - Compare My Move

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