Next week movers will arrive and all our things will be boxed up, loaded, and on it's way to our new home. Actually, I take that back. Not all of our things. The #1 lesson we've learned from our many moves is that it pays to get rid of unwanted or unused items before the movers come. Too often we've shipped boxes that remained unopened from our previous move, only to later discard of the items once we finally got to unpacking the box. Horrible, isn't it?
With that said, I'd like to share with you our top 10 tips for decluttering. These are especially useful before you move, but actually can be applied at anytime. You just have to be motivated, in the right mind-set, know things will look worse before they look better, and when in doubt, think about how easy it will be to unpack with less stuff!
In preparation for 'decluttering', I decided to listen to 'The life-changing magic of tidying up' by Marie Kondo. I heard a lot of great things about her method of decluttering and figured it was worth the try. I loved the book and found it gave me the boost I needed to get started! I even read her second book, 'Spark Joy'. I love her method of only keeping the things that give you joy and getting rid of the things that don't. It can be a lengthy process, but in the end, it's totally worth it!
So using aspects of the 'konmari' method, below are the top 10 tips I have for decluttering your space. These are the areas where we found a lot of unneeded or unused clutter..
Top 10 tips:
1) Clothes - Unless you are a minimalist or already live on a capsule wardrobe, I truly believe this is the best and first place to put your energy. I've lost count on the number of bags of clothes we have donated. None of which we miss or regret not having. Also, it's a great feeling to donate to those who need these items more than we do. Next best thing... your closet will look AMAZING, which will make you feel amazing, too!
2) Shoes - Another big area of clutter. Just like with your clothes, get rid of anything that is overly worn, damaged, smells, or that you have duplicates of in your wardrobe.
3) Kitchen Items - There is so much opportunity to declutter here! First, start easy!. Check your food and spices and throw away anything expired or spoiled. Next, review the amount of kitchenware you have. This means casserole dishes, pots, baking tins, cooking utensils, serving dishes, plastic storage containers, coffee mugs, etc. How many do you have? Do you really need to have so many multiples? Are the items you're holding on to still in good shape? This was an easy way for us to reduce our kitchenware. We are also trying to go plastic-free and used this time to get rid of all the plastic cups, plates, spoons and food storage containers we had. Why did we need 15 different 'Tupperware' containers in all those crazy sizes and shapes? We've replaced them with fewer (actually only 4) glass containers and after a month or two, haven't missed our old containers one bit.
4) Papers - This can be tough, but before a move is the best time to go through your file cabinet and desk to get rid of dated files, old mail, receipts, newspapers, schoolwork and yes, even some of your kid's drawings. If you really don't plan on looking at it again and don't need it for legal reasons, get rid of it! Unpacking and sorting these items in your new home will not be fun and will likely end up as clutter again.
5) Books - So many times we lug books with us from one location to another with high hopes of rereading them. But how many times has this actually happened? We have gotten rid of a lot of our books, but for some reason we have held on to the cook books. I noticed these books in our kitchen today and realized that I had not referenced them once the whole time we lived in our home. Our main source for recipes is the internet and I rely heavily on reviews and recipe ratings. I miss this in a cookbook. Let's just say these books will not be coming with us, and I will try find a new home for them. Cookbook, anyone??
6) Decor Items - I love to decorate, and I've accumulated a lot! You never know when you will need an extra vase, picture, or more candle holders, right? Or what if you have a dinner party... won't I need these napkin rings? What I've discovered is that my style changes regularly and I like to surround myself with items that are on trend. This means I rarely go back to the decorative items that I used in the past. This time around, I decided to let these pieces go. I asked myself if they 'brought me joy' and the answer was 'no.' My cabinets are now less full, and I feel really good about it.
7) Toys- Oh my goodness, TOYS!! This is a big one, but also a sensitive one for the little ones, so you have to tread lightly. That being said, going through your kid's toys before moving is a must. Anything that your kids have outgrown or are broken need to find a new home - not the new one you are moving to! To help with this process, I promise our boys a new toy when we move to our new home. This gives them something to look forward to and play with while we wait for our shipment to arrive, but more importantly, it eases the decluttering woes.
8)Medicine or Bathroom Cabinet - As with kitchen items, now's the time to go through all your medicine and get rid of expired or almost empty supplies. Most moving companies don't even allow you to ship medicine (if you're moving internationally.) While you're in the bathroom cabinet, go through your toiletries. If you haven't used the product in a long time, get rid of it! Or if you want to use, but haven't yet, nows the time. Indulge yourself and use the candles, masks, soaps, lotions, etc you have hidden away for a rainy day.
9) Blankets/Towels - For some reason, I accumulated lots of bedding, blankets and towels. I think it's because of all the different size beds we've had over the years. We got rid of the bed, but I've always hung on to the sheets... just in case. Well, I've learned that I never ended up using these stored away things and I didn't need so many sheets, comforters, blankets, pillows, etc. We have two sets per bed and extra pillows and blankets for guests, but nothing more. Our linen closet and under bed space has never looked more organized!
10)Basement Items - The very last place, and perhaps most important space, I recommend you declutter is your basement. The worst is shipping these items from one basement to the other without even knowing what you are shipping. Old wreaths, Christmas items, broken furniture, boxes, books, toys, garden equipment, old bikes.. you'll know what it is when you spot it. If you haven't used it in a while, get rid of it.
So those are my tips! The thing to remember as you go through this process is that everything you pack will need to find a place in your new home. Don't bring the things that don't bring you joy or reflect your personal style. Also, having less in your new space will allow you to start fresh with your decor.. one that fits the style of your new space. Good luck and I hope these tips help you start to declutter your space, whether before a move, or just because!