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Moving? What a great opportunity to declutter!

We all have things we no longer need – or things we purchased that we never really needed in the first place. The time before a move is an excellent opportunity to look around and decide what you would like to keep and what is just excess baggage. Think about it: through decluttering you will end up with less to clean, less debt, less to organize, less stress, and more money.

Too much junk!

For example, how many food storage containers do you have in your cupboards? How many of these have lids? Do you also have clothing that no longer fits or clothing too unfashionable for you to ever wear? Shoes you haven’t worn for years, tax files dating back to the mid-80s, a broken food processor and its useless replacement? Maybe you have an old computer you meant to sell via Kijiji or eBay or a chair that you’d planned to get re-upholstered one day? It is probably about now that you are realizing that the great deal from the garage sale may not have been worth the $5. It costs so much more in time or money to dispose of. And - what about those boxes that were never unpacked after your last move?

Don’t worry – this is a common first world problem with a long history. The following quote is from 1928:

“We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.”

A study reported in the LA Times newspaper found that there are 300,000 items in the average American home. Imagine that – THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND THINGS! No one has bothered to count the number of things in Canadian homes, but I doubt there would be much difference if they did.

Because we have so many things, it’s not surprising it’s hard to keep track of the items we actually need amongst all that stuff. A UK newspaper, The Daily Mail, reported that over the course of our lifetime, we will spend a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items. The research found we lose up to nine items every day—or 198,743 things in a lifetime. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list.

Declutter for Peace of Mind

And we move this stuff from apartment to apartment, house to house. But this time – decide not to do it! Why lug around boxes of material that clutter your house AND cost you extra money in moving costs to transport?

So before you move, take an inventory of your own possessions. An inventory is a great tool for many reasons. It will make it obvious where you have duplications (like many packages of chilli powder do you really need?) plus it will be helpful for insuring your belongings. There are many apps that can help with this. To find some, click here. “Know Your Stuff” is an app created by the Insurance Information Institute. You can find it here.

Maybe it’s time to have a garage sale or just donate items that you don’t use to Value Village or another charity. Someone else just might have use for your complete Seinfeld TV Series CD set now that you’ve memorized every scene. Recycle or sell whatever you can.

A decluttered place will bring you peace of mind, and it will be like a fresh start in your new home. Wouldn’t you love to have a place for everything that you need and use so that once you use something you can put it back in its own special place?

But Where Do You Start?

One of the hottest organizational experts right now is Japan’s Marie Kondo, whose 2014 book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is still on the best-seller list. She suggests, in her videos and through her website that you declutter in this order.

1. Clothing

2. Books

3. Documents

4. Miscellaneous Items, including momentos

She also suggests you say “thank you” to each item as you send them on to their new home.

So first … STOP SHOPPING! If you are going to bring something new into your home, really question whether it will just be another thing to throw out in a couple of weeks or months or the next time you move.

And keep your receipts so you can take things back.

For more tips on decluttering and moving, please email your ICM professional mover at move@innercitymoving.ca or telephone number 416 656-8924. Please subscribe to our quarterly newsletter where we regularly provide tips on packing, moving day, and beyond.

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