Buying a new home is stressful enough. When you start thinking about how to transport all of your endless belongings, it’s no wonder you might fall into anxiety overload. But there is one tried-and-true way to make your move less miserable: downsizing.
Sorting things to toss or donate can be a headache in itself. After all, there’s a bit of the hoarder in everyone (sometimes more than a bit), and moving is the perfect opportunity to scale down your possessions. Plus, you save on your moving quote when you have fewer things to transport.
1. Consider your new space
Whether you’re downsizing or upgrading your square footage, keep in mind what will and won’t fit in your new home. Don’t keep all of your “old expired” furniture if you’ll have only a formal living room, and consider ditching the china cabinet if you’re losing dining space.
And don’t just plan to put oversized pieces in storage until the day you have a bigger home. Unless they’re heirlooms or antiques, or have sentimental value, you’ll probably never think of them again.
2. Dig through the closets
No one will be surprised if future scientists discover that every closet hides a secret wormhole to another dimension. Somehow, it absorbs all your secret junk—and still has enough room for more and more stuff to be thrown in it. Step No.1 for a pre-move downsizing: Sort through that terrifying mess. “Take a long, hard look at your clothing and closets to see what you can throw out or donate.
3. Sort through old kids’ clothes
Go through your children’s cupboards. Sort out everything and make piles of the clothes your children will not wear again or have outgrown.
Make sure to only move clothing that fits. Donate anything that’s gently used, or give the items to friends or relatives who might need them.
4. Sift through old electronics
We all have a few skeletons in the closet. For most of us, those skeletons are broken electronics. Whether they’re old laptops, cracked cellphones, or numerous micro-USB chargers, they need to go!. (Don’t just toss these guys in the dumpster, though; there are electronics recycling programs you can use instead.)
5. Sort, sort, sort
Go through each room of your house, from least-used to most-trafficked, and sort each and every item you see. Divide them into three piles: keep, donate, and toss.
If you are having trouble with this decision ask yourself, “Does it bring me joy?” If the answer is truly yes, add it to the keep pile. Otherwise, it’s time to say goodbye.
Once you have the donate and toss piles in order, deal with them immediately. The longer they sit, the more likely you are to put junk into your moving boxes. You’ve already said goodbye once—don’t force yourself to say it again.
6. Ditch the duplicates
Unless you’re holding onto something for sentimental reasons, now’s the time to get rid of pairs. Two wine holders? Multiple printers? Six table lamps when you need only three? Choose your favorites and donate or sell the once you do not need.
7. Create an ‘open first box’
Keeps things smooth when it comes time to unpack: Create an “open first box,” complete with toilet paper, lightbulbs, toiletries, basic cleaning supplies, and bed sheets. This genius idea keeps you from having to dig through every box to fill your basic needs on your first night in your new home—just open, kick back, and relax. Just make sure to label it clearly and instruct your movers to leave it somewhere obvious.