Whether you're building a smaller footprint or adding
much-needed space, it's probably safe to say you have some clutter that needs
to be addressed before you can move. According to the National Association of Professional
Organizers, more than half of Americans are overwhelmed by the amount of
clutter they have.
All About Timing
- Timer or Stopwatch
- Heavy Duty Trash Bags
- Moving Boxes
- Packing Paper & Tape
- Labels & Markers
- Empty Bins/Bags for Donations
- Paper Shredder (optional)
Step by Step
Decide how long you're going to give yourself to declutter the space. Smaller areas should take 30 min or less. When you're ready, set the timer and get to work.
Pick up one thing at a time and use the "one-touch" rule, meaning you only touch it once. Immediately sort the item into three piles: trash, keep, and take action. (Take action consists of items you plan to sell or donate. If you're sorting paper, these are things you need to handle in some way, like paying a bill or shredding.)
Start with the easy stuff you know you're going to keep or get rid of before deciding on the more sentimental items. As you sort, put everything into labeled containers or bags.
Once everything is sorted, here's a checklist to divvy up your piles. If you can't do everything in one day, give yourself a hard deadline for each task:
- Take out the trash.
- Make plans for your donation items.
- Take pictures of anything you plan to sell and post them online.
- Handle any paperwork (shred if needed).
- Store your moving boxes in the garage or somewhere out of the way.
- Why am I keeping this?
- When was the last time I used it?
- Do I already have something similar?
- Can I buy another one later if I find that I truly need one?
- Would someone else benefit from this more than me?
Now that you've mastered smaller spaces keep going! Go through each room, closet by closet, using the method of touching once, sorting, and taking action with each pile. Keep in mind your goal is to lighten your load, so be discerning as you go along.
Even after you've decluttered every room, feel free to keep making piles as you pack. You may change your mind about certain things or find items along the way that you decide you don't want to take with you after all.
We hope these tips are helpful as you prepare for the exciting adventure of moving. For more moving and packing advice, follow our Pinterest account. If you're still in the market for that perfect new spot to call home, we'd love to help you build a life you'll love.