Things to Keep and Throw Away When Moving

Whether you’re moving to a new house, condo or apartment, getting rid of unused items before packing is a vital step. Fortunately, we’ve compiled tips for weeding out unnecessary items and staying on track during the decluttering process. Learn how to decide what to keep when moving to ensure a seamless transition into your new home.

Why Should You Get Rid of Stuff Before Moving?

If you’re moving soon, take some time to pare down your belongings beforehand. A comprehensive pre-moving declutter can save you time, energy and money on both ends of your move.

Advantages of decluttering before moving include:

  • Less time packing: Getting rid of unnecessary items leaves you with fewer things to put in boxes, which can speed up the packing process.
  • Fewer packing supplies: Fewer items to pack means fewer packing materials, resulting in less money spent on supplies like boxes, furniture blankets and bubble wrap. In addition, there will be less waste to throw away once you unpack everything in your new home.
  • Fewer items to transport: The more items you have, the more it costs to move. Having fewer belongings streamlines the packing and moving process overall. Plus, by selling your items while downsizing, you can make extra money to put toward moving expenses.
  • More space in your new home: Getting rid of items before arriving at your new home makes it easier to find places for everything. This is especially helpful if your new space has limited storage and closet space.

How to Decide What to Toss

Determining what to get rid of when moving and letting go of certain items can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to ensure you truly don’t need the item before tossing it. Ask yourself the following questions to guide your decision-making while decluttering:

  1. Do I really need this item?
  2. Is the item in good condition?
  3. Is this item worth the space it’s taking up? 
  4. How often do I use it?
  5. How practical is this item?
  6. Does this item have sentimental value? 
  7. Would I buy it again?
  8. Do I have more than one of these items?
  9. Is it expensive or challenging to move the item? 
  10. Will it match or fit in the new home?

Answering these questions can help you decide what to throw away and what you should keep. When downsizing, it’s best practice not to hold on to things just because you can. Try to avoid saving items “just in case” if you know they will not be used or enjoyed.

If there are apparel items, electronics or kitchen appliances that you have not used in a year or more, chances are you won’t use them after you move. For that reason, you can either sell them or donate them to help the local community.

Only pack items you truly need or know you will use in the future. Use the 10 questions above to determine the belongings you want to keep and pack for your move.

8 Items to Let Go Before Moving

When organizing your belongings into “keep” and “discard” piles, you may find items that aren’t worth saving during a move. Here are eight things you can likely add to the “discard” pile:

  1. Worn-out clothing and shoes: Old and worn-out shoes only take up valuable space in a moving van as well as in your closet. The same applies to clothing you’ve outgrown or don’t wear. Clothes that no longer fit — or are stained or torn beyond repair — aren’t worth salvaging.
  2. Expired medicine and toiletries: Assess your medicine cabinet before packing. Getting rid of years-old makeup and lotions can help save space. Likewise, you can discard old bath products, colognes and perfumes. For expired, unused or unwanted medications, it’s important to handle disposal properly, such as through local drug take back programs in your area.
  3. Broken items: There’s no reason to keep anything that’s broken and doesn’t work, including broken toys, furniture, appliances and electronics. If something is broken beyond repair or you don’t intend to fix it, it’s not worth packing.
  4. Old or outdated furniture: Furniture can be both difficult and costly to move. If you have a couch or dresser that’s outdated or excessively worn, it may be best to invest in new furniture after your move.
  5. Random linens: If your towels and sheets are worn and faded or you have more than you need, consider tossing the old ones and donating the extras.
  6. Old books: Dusty books and magazines are heavy when packed together in a box. Only keep the ones you love or plan to read again.
  7. Unused toys: If you have children, chances are you have old toys. Toss any toys that are broken or have missing pieces, and donate the ones that are not used regularly.
  8. Old cleaning supplies: Old sponges, brooms and mops are likely due for a replacement and can be discarded instead of packed for your move.

How to Get Rid of Stuff Before Moving

In addition to deciding what to throw away when moving, you should determine the best way to get rid of unwanted items. Here are three ways to part with items you aren’t taking with you:

  1. Sell: Consider selling items you no longer use but are still in good shape, like furniture, appliances and décor. You can work with a downsizing company to sell any unwanted items. Hiring a moving manager can streamline the downsizing process if you need help selling and getting rid of items.
  2. Donate: Consider donating usable items — like clothing, sports equipment, furniture or kitchen appliances — to a local thrift store, housing charity or homeless shelter. Remember to check the organization’s donation guidelines and keep receipts for tax deductions.
  3. Toss: If an item is broken, unusable or can’t be sold or donated, throwing it away is the best solution. 

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