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November 2, 2021

5 Tips for Decluttering Before Your Move

Clutter can add unnecessary dissatisfaction and difficulties to your everyday life — and your move.

The New York Times reported that a growing body of literature is drawing a direct link between household clutter and mental well-being. As people age, frustrations with clutter tend to grow, leading to greater physiological stress levels. Moving offers a clean slate, allowing you to take stock of your possessions with fresh eyes.

Before you start boxing up your belongings, set aside time to inventory your items and determine what you can leave behind. Not only will decluttering make packing easier, but it will also keep you from wasting valuable time, energy and money to move items you don’t need.

Whether you are downsizing or just relocating, decluttering can make your transition more efficient and convenient. Not sure where to begin? Here are five places you can kick-start your cleaning.

1. Medicine Cabinet

If you’ve lived in your current home for a while, your bathroom probably contains some medicines that are past their prime. But disposing of expired medications isn’t as simple as tossing it in the trash or flushing it down the drain. A study by the U.S. Geological Survey found that 80 percent of sampled rivers and streams contained traces of over-the-counter or prescription medicines, which can have negative effects on aquatic plants and animals.

If you have expired medication, first check to see if it’s on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Flush List. If the medicine isn’t listed, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends disposing of unwanted or expired medication by mixing it with coffee grounds, cat litter or other sealed trash and removing personal information from any prescription bottles.

2. Makeup Drawer

Instead of dumping well-loved cosmetics into your bags without a second glance, use your relocation as an opportunity to replace some of your facial products. Old or expired makeup can irritate or infect your skin, so experts recommend that you frequently replace your items.

You should replace eye creams, mascaras, liquid eyeliners, sponges and brushes every few months; lip balms and lipsticks every year; and sunscreens, foundations, eyeshadows and other powder products every two years. Pare your bathroom drawers down to the essentials and buy the necessary new cosmetics and toiletries when you arrive at your new location.

3. Bookshelf

Parting ways with old books can be painful, but extending your decluttering process to your shelves can save you time, money and resources. Moving professionals usually recommend that you keep the weight of your boxes below 50 pounds, and the average book box pushes right to the limit, weighing around 40 pounds. Before you or your movers cart a load of heavy books to your new home, decide which are important enough to make the weight and space worth it. Give your books to deserving new owners by donating them to a used bookstore or Little Free Library near you.

4. Kitchen

Most relocation partners won’t be able to move any perishable items from your pantry, fridge or freezer, so plan final meals in your current home around how you can use up the last of your food. If you’re still left with unopened items on moving day, consider donating them to a local food bank, offering them to a neighbor or transporting them in your own vehicle. Once you’ve tackled your perishable goods, clear your kitchen of other disposable items, such as paper plates or plastic cups. Over the years you may have also accumulated too many or mismatched plastic storage containers. Home organization specialists recommend keeping only enough food storage containers to house the leftovers you typically have within one week. For the excess, including those infamous reused butter containers and Tupperware that are warped or missing lids, consider tossing them in the recycling bin. Food storage, butter and yogurt containers are often recyclable curbside. Check locally with your collection company or consider recycling through a program like Terracycle®.

5. Closet

A recent Movinga study found that surveyed Americans did not wear 82 percent of their clothes during the previous year. If that sounds like you, it may be time to re-assess your wardrobe before you bring it all to your new space.

It’s harder to get rid of clothing items once you’ve picked them up, according to psychology experts. Instead, take a hands-off approach by enlisting the help of a family member or friend to declutter your closet. Have your partner hold each item up for you to evaluate from afar, paying particular attention to what condition it is in and how often you wear it. 

Armstrong Relocation provides professional packing, storage, moving and installation services for families across the country. Whether you’re moving down the street or down the interstate, Armstrong’s award-winning crews can help. Get started today by calling 800.288.7396 or requesting a free quote online.

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