Moving Soon? Declutter Beforehand
Flicking on a light switch you notice a stack of month-old newspapers sitting in the living room corner surrounded by a pile of last week’s clothes, and that seven partially-full coffee mugs are haphazardly resting around the room, one nudge away from spilling their contents on the new carpet. Moving boxes are scattered around the area; some are full of random, dust-covered possessions that were tucked away in nooks and crannies for the last five years. You didn’t think moving would be this hard. You forgot how much junk you actually own, or why you even bought it in the first place. Sighing, it dawns on you that you wouldn’t be in this predicament if you de-cluttered the home first. The good news is you can now forewarn others about this calamity by giving them the following advice.
The five minute clean up
Once you’ve committed to moving, the best way to de-clutter, without taking up time from other tasks, is to start the process early. Begin cleaning up two weeks before you actually begin packing. Why start that early? Because you’re only going to spend five minutes a day de-cluttering specific parts of the house. It’s true that five minutes isn’t going to solve all of your problems, but it’s an excellent start. By taking those five minutes day after day, it’ll make a difference before you know it.
But you have so much stuff to go through, where is the best place to start?
Begin by creating a “no clutter zone,” by clearing everything away in a specific spot, be it a coffee table, kitchen counter or a three foot perimeter around your bed. Make a rule that nothing is allowed within this clutter-free zone that isn’t currently in use. Once something is no longer being used, it needs to be put away instead of being left in the new area. Every next day, take five more minutes and expand the zone. Maintain this method long enough and you’ll eventually get the entire room done. But if you have to move quickly, the slow and steady approach isn’t going to work well enough.
The Trash Bag
If you’re on a time sensitive deadline to de-clutter one of the simplest options is to grab a large trash bag, choose a room, and then begin filling the bag with items you either don’t want or don’t need. Naturally, debates are going to sprout whether you need something or not. To solve this, ask yourself if you’ve used it in the last three months. Yes? Keep it. No? In the bag it goes. Once you’ve filled up this bag, assuming there is no literal trash inside, donate the bag to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Repeat this process once a day and, before you know it, you’ll be ready to pack what possessions you actually want to keep.
The 12-12-12 Challenge
This is a task the whole family, kids included, can partake in and make a big impact. The goal is to choose 36 items, 12 of which are junk to be thrown out, another 12 that will be donated, and the last 12 are things you want to keep. This can be made into a fun competition as well, upping the numbers as you go along. If you don’t need to rent an entire dumpster, consider a dumpster alternative in Massachusetts or hire a Boston junk removal service.
Create a Maybe Box
Sometimes when following these steps it’s likely you’ll encounter a few items that you’re on the fence about keeping. Make sure you have a maybe box where you can put items for a later review. Try to limit this box to 10 items; once you’ve reached 10, go back through the box and make up your mind.
Don’t Worry About It
People often associate who they are with what they own, and the things and people they surround themselves with. Once a lot of these material objects go away, it’s natural to have a slight existential panic. Don’t worry though; ditching that ugly owl statue you picked up at a swap meet seven years ago isn’t going to make your personality disappear.