Declutter First, Move Second

shot of front of house in the fall
Moving made easy? You better believe it! Below, check out how to make your next move hassle-free. Plus, you can save lots of money — and who doesn’t want to do that? But before you schedule your movers, why not go ahead right now and schedule your free donation pickup?
Just click HERE to schedule for a future date — we’ll be here when you get back!

“The only thing worse than moving,” the saying goes, “is moving twice!” We’d like to propose an addition to this time-honored saying; something along the lines of “The only thing worse than moving – is moving your clutter with you!”

Moving has enough hassles and anxiety without moving needless clutter to your new place. Have you found yourself boxing up “stuff and junk” that you haven’t used for years? It happens when we pack to move before we pack to declutter. In the rush and anxiety we naturally feel when moving, we will side on keeping stuff we don’t want rather than getting rid of it. “I’ll deal with it after the move” is what we tell ourselves and our loved ones.

packed and open boxes in nearly empty living room

Famous last words! New storage spaces, closets, and garages are filled with the same boxes we didn’t declutter from our previous move. Now’s the time to use our pro tips to Declutter a Box / Pack a Box / Donate a Box and schedule a donation pickup before you schedule the moving van. Below, you’ll find an easy step-by-step plan that will get you to your new, organized, clutter-free home in style.

SIDE NOTE: Not moving just yet? That’s ok – employ these tips to be ahead of the game if and when the day comes to move.

One of the main places where clutter hides is inside the storage boxes we have either brought with us from a previous move or ones we have boxed recently, stuffed with newer items that we no longer need. Expert organizers often encourage the “boxing up and out of sight” of items that no longer serve a purpose as a way to keep the feeling of being overrun by clutter to a minimum. Yet this out-of-sight/out-of-mind concept can only last for so long, because our storage spaces, closets, and garages can only contain so many boxes!

boxes in living room surrounded by clutter

When it’s time to move it can be enticing to drag the boxes that have always been there into the moving van and on to your new storage spaces. Although you may think it is easier, it is also much more expensive, as holding on to items we no longer use, need, or value is very costly: The boxes and packing materials have a dollar cost, the movers are paid per hour, the moving van is charged by size and your new storage spaces have a square foot price to pay. Take a look at just how expensive it can be:

  • Experts say the national average rate for hiring movers is$25 to $50 per hour, and the cost of moving locally can range from $800 to $2,000 for a four-bedroom house. Moving long distance or out of state may cost $2,000 or more, with an average cost of .50 cents per pound.
  • Boxes and packing materials can cost from $4 – $12 per box.
  • The national cost-per-square-foot average for areas classified as storage spaces in our homes is about $125.

In other words, that large plastic tub you picked up at the home improvement center then stuffed it with dresses you know you’ll never wear again can cost you as much as $250 just to store in a corner of your garage!

Do we have you motivated and committed to preparing for and saving on your next move? Great!

Declutter a Box: The first, best place to begin decluttering is to start with your boxes that are hiding in plain sight in your storage spaces, closets, and garages. Chances are unless they are clearly labeled you may not even remember what’s inside, so prepare to be surprised at how much stuff has sat idle. Before you move, move out boxed up clutter.

Here are some fantastic tips to make your efforts stress free:

  • Prepare by moving all of the storage boxes into a cleared-out space – the center portion of your garage or your living room make great staging areas. After you’ve gathered all the boxes or bags in this one place, you can actually see just how much space your items are taking up! Do the math and ask yourself, “Are the things in these boxes worth the cost of storing, moving, and keeping them?”
  • Next, prepare boxes or bags for the items you are ready to donate that come from your storage boxes. Chances are the items you took the time to box up have a value, just no longer for you. Now is the perfect time to donate these usable, good-condition items and put them back to work in the community, helping America’s veterans.
  • Now it’s time to sort through your boxed-up clutter. Keeping in mind the cost of moving and storing this stuff, dive in and start assessing! Is this bedspread really going to come back into style? Will you want to one day take up tennis again? Are those hardcover books worth the hassle of boxing and moving? You get the idea – actually take hold of each group of items and decide what you want to keep, and what you’d rather donate.

PRO TIP: Experts say that if you haven’t used an item in the last six months or if it is not a treasured keepsake, it’s time to let it go.

  • Take a step back and survey the “keep” and the “donate” boxes. Has the number of “keep” boxes decreased? If not by much, you may want to do another pass through the collection, knowing that you’ll be saving lots of money over the long haul the more you donate.
  • Your donation boxes and bags will do more than just save you money on your move and on your storage costs. Donating your clothes and household items to worthy community organizations like the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) not only feels good, it’s free! That’s right. Unlike the cost of movers, a moving van, and future storage space costs, it costs you nothing to have a Pickup Please truck come to your door and haul away your donated household goods, unwanted clothes, small appliances, and other items that have just been taking up space for months!
  • What can be donated? Most of your items in good condition can be donated. If the items are small and light enough for one driver to pick up, it can be donated. Things like:
    • Adult and children’s clothes, accessories and shoes
    • Kitchen gadgets
    • Decorations and seasonal items
    • Books and videos
    • Linens, pillows, and towels
    • Knickknacks and collectibles
    • Children’s toys, sports gear, and art supplies
    • Pet accessories
donation pickup off the curb to the pickup truck

We all move at one time or another. It’s inevitable. Making sure we don’t bring the cost and burden of needless clutter along is very important. Before you schedule the movers, schedule a free donation pickup with Pickup Please and put your unwanted items towards supporting our veterans.

Happy trails to you!