AT Movers

Tips for Decluttering Before Moving: Expert Advice & Practical Steps

Moving homes is a big deal, full of excitement and, yeah, a lot of stress. Key to easing this move? Decluttering before moving. It’s not just about getting rid of stuff – it’s about turning this busy time into an opportunity for a fresh start. Imagine getting into your new place only with the things you love and need, setting the scene for a new beginning.

To help you out, we at AT Movers have included a few tips from organizational and moving experts, as well as some real-life success examples.

Decluttering before moving

One such story is Alex’s, who had to face the daunting task of moving from a family house of 20 years into a sleek city apartment. With all the memories and possessions, Alex found some freedom in deciding what to keep and what to let go. «It was about remembering the good times, not the things» – Alex said. This process of letting go, not only simplified his move, but also opened a new page in his life with more clarity and purpose.

Preparing to Decluttering Before Moving

Tip 1: Start Early

The golden rule of moving is to start decluttering as early as possible. Time is a luxury. That’s why we recommend to start decluttering at least two months before the move. This way, you can take your time and be thoughtful about each room without feeling pressured by looming deadlines.

Creating a timeline can make a huge difference. Start with the areas of your house that you don’t use as much, like the basement, attic, or guest room, and then move on to the rooms that you use every day. This method makes sure you’re not messing with your daily routine while still getting rid of some stuff.

Tip 2: Make a Decluttering Plan

Make a Decluttering Plan

Start by taking a good look around in each room and making a list of all the possessions you have. This is a crucial step to understand the scale of your decluttering project before moving. Don’t try to sort through all your things right away – instead, focus on creating a comprehensive list of everything you own. That list will become your map to help you through the organization process, identify duplicates, and make it easier for you to decide what to keep when you move to next tips.

Decluttering Strategies from Experts

Tip 3: One Room at a Time

Declutter one room at a time

To get rid of clutter, start with one room at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to do everything at once. Focus on the area that causes you the most stress or where you spend the most time and just tackle it. This will make the task more doable, and you’ll feel great with each room cleaned.

Tip 4: Use the Five-Box Method

Use the five-box method to declutter before moving

Sorting items using the Five-Box Method: Keep, Sell, Donate, Recycle and Discard. This system helps you make decisions about each item and streamlines the decluttering process. It’s a simple way to organize your things according to what you really need and what you can get rid of.

  • 📦 Keep: Items that are essential, deeply sentimental, or serve a specific purpose in your new home.
  • 💰 Sell: Goods in good condition that you no longer need but could be of value to someone else. Consider online marketplaces or a garage sale.
  • ❤️ Donate: Items that can still be used by others. Local charities, shelters, and community centers often welcome such donations.
  • ♻️ Recycle: Items that can be recycled, promoting environmental sustainability.
  • 🗑️ Discard: Broken, outdated, or otherwise unusable items that need to be recycled or thrown away responsibly.

Tip 5: Digitize Sentimental Items

Digitize sentimental items

If you have items that you cherish but they take up a lot of space, you might want to consider digitizing them instead. By scanning photos, documents and even kids’ artwork, you can preserve memories without all the clutter. And with digital storage, it’s much easier to share those memories with family and friends.

Practical Decluttering Tips and Hacks

Tip 6: Packing Tips for What You Keep

Packing tips for what you keep

Packing efficiently can save you time and stress during the move. Here are some tips:

  • Label Clearly: Use a clear labeling system for boxes, including content and destination room.
  • Protect Fragiles: Wrap fragile items individually and fill boxes with padding to prevent movement.
  • Use Wardrobe Boxes: These allow clothes to be moved on hangers, reducing wrinkles and packing time.
  • Pack an Essentials Box: Include items you’ll need immediately upon arrival at your new home, such as toiletries, a change of clothes, and important documents.

Tip 7: Essential Decluttering Tools and Supplies

Essential decluttering tools and supplies

Having the right tools at hand can make the decluttering process smoother. Consider these essentials:

  • 📦 Quality Packing Materials: Invest in sturdy boxes, heavy-duty tape, and bubble wrap for valuables.
  • 🗑️ Shredder: Safely dispose of old documents and personal information.
  • 📥 Storage Bins: Transparent bins are great for storing items you want to keep but don’t use daily, like seasonal decorations or keepsakes.
  • 🏷️ Label Maker: A quick way to label boxes, bins, and even shelves in your new home to maintain organization.

By incorporating these tips and hacks into your decluttering and moving process, you’ll ensure a more organized and less stressful transition to your new home.

Emotional and Psychological Aspects of Decluttering Before Moving

Tip 8: Addressing Sentimental Clutter

Dealing with emotional clutter can be a delicate balancing act. You have to embrace the memories, but also consider the space they take up. An expert might suggest asking yourself: «Is this item a cherished memory, or is it just taking up space?». If you really cherish it, then keep it. Otherwise, maybe it’s time to let it go.

Tip 9: The Freedom of Less

The benefits of decluttering extend beyond just a tidier space. Utah State University highlights decluttering’s positive impact on mental health, including enhanced mood, sharper focus, increased productivity, and reduced anxiety. The act of organizing can elevate physical health, creativity, and overall well-being, creating a more peaceful, efficient living environment.


Decluttering before moving is more than just sorting through belongings—it’s preparing for a fresh start. By focusing on what truly matters, you can reduce stress and look forward to making new memories in your new home. Remember, decluttering is the first step toward a more organized and fulfilling life.