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How to Declutter Your Home Before Moving

Martha Lott
Written by Martha Lott
17th January 2020 (Last updated on Friday 17th January 2020)

A 2017 documentary estimated that we hoard 30 billion pounds of unwanted clothing as a nation – and that’s just clothes. A study shows that 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 allow clutter to build up simply because they have no idea where to start. Decluttering your home is, in theory, a simple and highly rewarding task. It’s important that you stick to a method though, and work at your own pace. We’ve compiled a few of our favourite methods to help you declutter your home before moving. Read on to find out how decluttering will save you money and hassle 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?

Decluttering can be a highly therapeutic exercise, so you won’t be surprised to hear that it’s scientifically proven to improve your happiness. An organised home signals an organised life and mind. Not only is it more aesthetically pleasing, but a clutter-free home can actually help you to sleep better. When you declutter before moving house, you are very much “starting as you mean to go on”, freeing yourself of junk and unwanted items and moving on, in every sense.

Although decluttering is, ideally, a constant, ongoing process, you’ll most likely find that moving house requires a concerted decluttering effort. Decluttering before moving will save you money on your home removal costs, as the removal team will be packing up fewer unnecessary items.

 Don’t forget, if you declutter after you’ve been received your removal quote, then do 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

How an uncluttered home can help
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Why is Decluttering So Difficult?

There are a plethora of reasons why we put off decluttering our homes – we often find that we don’t have enough time, are unsure where to start, or perhaps are just too sentimental about our possessions. 1 in 3 Brits admit they don't like getting rid of items, so it’s no surprise that we find decluttering such an arduous task. 

We waste 3,680 hours of our lives looking for lost items such as keys, mobile phones and wallets. Declutter, and you could start to earn back some of these precious lost hours.

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 become an international phenomenon . One of Kondo’s most recognisable 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 items such as clothes or books, and leaving photographs or nostalgic items until last.

2.Swedish Death Cleaning

This decluttering craze is based on a 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 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. If you’d rather do this gradually, you can choose a few items a day to sell or donate, slowly decluttering your home as you go. You can also generate a little extra revenue for yourself, by selling unwanted clothes through apps like Depop, or websites such as eBay or Gumtree.

4.The Minimalists 90/90 Rule

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, A.K.A. The Minimalists, have 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 with a minimalist mindset is a current trend in home décor and wider lifestyle circles, so you can use this as motivation to declutter your home too. 

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How to Declutter

Now that you’re familiar with a few weird and wonderful decluttering methods, here are our top tips on completing the task at hand.

1. Be Ruthless

Before you even attempt to start decluttering your house, you need to make sure you’re in the right mindset. You need to be completely ruthless when sorting through your personal belongings.

We spoke to Helen Sanderson, Space Therapist, decluttering expert and creator of the Home Declutter Kit, who gave her methodology behind decluttering. 

“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. 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. This allows you to provide your removal company with an accurate estimation of how many boxes they’re going to be moving . This means that the earlier you start, the more money you could save on removal costs.

3. eBay

An easy way to declutter your house is to first gather everything that you can sell. Start by looking for clothes that no longer fit or you never wear, electrical devices that are gathering dust or that list of unwanted Christmas presents. Knowing that you can make a little extra cash from decluttering makes the process significantly more worth while.

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, manageable chunk of decluttering each day for a month. You can sign up for free and get the tasks emailed to you each day. If you’d rather, 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.

Here are a few rules you can follow:

  • Get rid of anything that you’ve not used or looked at in the last year
  • Ask yourself why items are in the garage and not in the house – do you really want them?
  • Keep your floor space clear by putting up shelves
  • Don’t store anything here 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. 

Here’s how we recommend you go about the bedroom clear-out:

  • Start by sorting through your clothes. If you can’t remember wearing an item, and can’t think when you’ll wear it next, discard it. You can donate clothes to a charity shop, or list them on eBay or Depop.
  • Get rid of expired or empty bottles of make up and body lotion
  • Only keep essentials on your bedside table and dressing table
  • Get rid of any old receipts, train tickets or other paper that you no longer require

Step 3 - Living Room

We spend a lot of time in our living rooms so there’s a fair chance you’ve let unwanted items build up here too. Really though, this is where you want to be relaxing, so it makes sense to keep this room nice and clear.

Here are the easy places to start:

  • Get rid of old TV remotes and unused wires
  • Recycle any old newspapers and magazines that you no longer need
  • Donate unwanted books, CDs and DVDs to your local charity shop 
  • Organise photographs – these could be stored in your newly decluttered attic, or on a bookshelf if they’re in an album

Step 4 – Bathroom

Lots of us are guilty of storing a heap of expired and unused toiletries in the bathroom.

Here are some quick tips for minimising your bathrooms clutter:

  • When you move, you’ll ideally want to reduce bathroom storage down to 1 or 2 boxes
  • You only need 1 shampoo, conditioner and shower gel/soap open at a time – if you have unopened spares, tuck these away out of site, and if you have multiple open bottles, combine where possible.
  • Chuck away all expired, mouldy or empty bottles
  • Donate or get rid of unused towels, and discard any old or stained ones you no longer use

Step 5 – Kitchen

We spend most of our time in our kitchens, using many of the items there on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean there isn’t junk hiding there though, so you’ll need to dedicate some time to decluttering your kitchen too.

Our top tips for decluttering a kitchen:

  • Get rid of expired food including jars and bottles of sauces, as well as any old cupboard stock
  • Recycle contents of the drawer that’s usually filled with take away menus/receipts/broken lighters
  • Donate any unwanted cups, mugs, plates and crockery to your local charity shop, or list the items on a site like Freecycle or Gumtree

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

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Once your home is clutter free and ready to move, fill out our quick and simple form and we’ll connect you with up to 6 professional home removal companies. We can help save you up to 70% off your home removal costs. 

How To Declutter Infographic

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