Decluttering is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Rose Rocklein

by Rose Rocklein

Rose Rocklein is a Florida attorney currently living in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and two young children. Rose is a guest author for the My Pink Lawyer® blog.


Clearing out a little clutter before a move can be really helpful, but can also be overwhelming. Keep calm by reminding yourself that decluttering before a move does not have to be perfect or finished. You can continue to edit as you unpack and arrange your items in your new layout. You will see things differently in your new space as well!

Donating to a local thrift or charity store, a local shelter or to a clothing or coat drive are great places to let others find use and enjoyment in things that you no longer do.

Begin by choosing one location to clear out, and only one at a time. You may feel better tackling the worst of the worst first, or you may prefer to start small before moving on to a larger space like the garage. Either way, get the first project done before moving on. It will not only give you an accomplishment boost, but it will help keep the rest in focus. 

Next, start early, as in 2-3 months out if possible; you’ll have a less stressful, and less expensive, move. If your move is sooner rather than later, choose a big ticket room like the kitchen and get going. However, even if you just get to the bathroom cabinets, that’s an achievement and makes unpacking that much easier.

Last, if you’re moving yourself, keep several boxes nearby – one for packing items going with you as you edit, and a few to place items not making the move, following the suggestions below. If you’re lucky enough to have a company move you, get editing and save yourself some shipment pounds cost!

Edit and pack by the Rule of Three Piles:

  1. Keep – only keep things you actually like and frequently use. If you don’t, even if it’s in good condition or may be pretty to someone else, give yourself permission to let things go that don’t bring you joy. In other words, let an item go that causes unhappy, stressed or even just annoyed feelings each time you see it. Ask yourself if you’ve been able to “find a home” for the item in this house, or if you know for a fact it will fit where you are going. Keep items you have space and time for.
  1. Maybe – the maybe pile is a stopgap. Give yourself permission to be ‘not ready’ to get rid of things when you start. By the time you are done cleaning out the space, you will likely have a new perspective on the maybe pile and will feel motivated to move more items to the toss/donate pile. “When in doubt, do without,” can often help to repeat to yourself. But, if you’re not ready to part with the item before a move, take it with you and if you can find a new home for it, great! If not, donate it later on.
  1. Toss/donate – items that have been hanging around too long, haven’t fit into your décor yet, are dated/ugly/scratchy/too small/too big/never used/worn out items, and gifts that don’t bring you happiness, to name a few. Giving away perfectly good items may not feel right, but those items could be just right for someone else. Lose items that are lingering “projects”. Remember with gifts, the giver did not gift you an item to cause stress or to clutter up your home, so get rid of it.

Having an honest but kind and fun friend or sibling on hand to help you make decisions while creating the piles can be helpful, and make the process go by quicker. Some of the best laughs of my life have been closet cleaning with my sister!  

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