How to Organize and Declutter Before a Residential Move

A residential move is moving household items to a new house or apartment. It can be a fun or stressful process, depending on your planning. Decluttering your home before a move will help reduce the amount of stuff you must pack and transport. This will make the move much easier and less stressful for you.

Start Early


A clutter-free home is more appealing to potential buyers and can increase the resale value of your house, so it’s important to start decluttering well before your move date. If you wait until the last minute, you may never cut down on items or could end up throwing things away you’ll regret later.

Organizing and decluttering can be a daunting task, especially when you’re already overwhelmed by moving, so it’s helpful to break the process down into smaller chunks. Experts recommend tackling one room at a time, starting with the rooms that have bothered you most and working your way through each space until it’s ready to be packed up.

As you declutter, take note of what you use regularly and what you don’t. For example, if you have an unused or rarely used bread maker sitting in the pantry, consider donating it. And if your cutting boards have lost their edge, it’s likely time to replace them.

Another good rule of thumb is to donate or sell any items that you haven’t used in the past year, as they’re probably not going to be useful to you in your new home. This applies to clothing, shoes and accessories, as well as knick-knacks and decor that you’ve outgrown or no longer love.

If you’re still not sure what to do with items that you no longer need, think about how you’ll use them in your future home before donating or selling them. If you plan to use them in a craft room, for instance, you might be able to find a home for a sewing machine or a table you’ve outgrown in the garage sale. Likewise, if you’re donating or selling items, remember to label them clearly. This will make unpacking in your new home a much easier task.

Make a List

A residential move is a stressful event, but decluttering before the big day can help make it more manageable. Professional organizers recommend starting early and setting goals for yourself, allowing you to get the work done at your own pace.

One of the most important things you can do is to walk through your home and write down all the rooms you need to declutter. This can be the hall closet, the cluttered pantry, the medicine cabinet, or even your overflowing basement.

Start by assessing each room, making notes of what needs to be decluttered and what items you want to keep. For example, you might decide to get rid of old tupperware and plastic food containers, or maybe you need to weed out some more clothing that you no longer wear. You may also want to consider donating items that you no longer need or can’t use, as this helps reduce waste and contributes to a more sustainable lifestyle.

Another thing you should do before the move is to get specific measurements for your new home. This can save you a lot of time and money down the line, especially when it comes to bulkier pieces like furniture or shelving units. Moving items that don’t fit can be a hassle and a costly mistake, so it’s important to get a clear picture of what your storage capacities are in advance.

You should also create a plan for packing. It’s a good idea to pack your items in groups so that they will be easier to unpack once you get to your new home. For example, instead of having 10 boxes labeled “dishes,” you can have separate boxes for tupperware, dinnerware, barware, and your wedding china.

Declutter One Room at a Time

Decluttering a house can be overwhelming, so you’ll want to take it slowly. Start by decluttering one room at a time. This gives you more control and will feel less like a daunting task. It also lets you make progress and keep up the momentum with other rooms before your move.

Before you dive into a room, gather all of the supplies that you need. This includes trash bags, boxes, and labels. This will help you stay focused and on task so you can clean and declutter efficiently.

You may find that a few items are difficult to let go. This is normal, especially when you have a lot of things you’ve held onto for years. If this happens, try to see what is holding you back from getting rid of it. Perhaps it is a memory or an emotion that makes you cling to a certain item. Maybe you can use it again for something else, or perhaps you can donate it to someone who will enjoy it more than you will.

Depending on your situation, you may want to consider hiring professional organizers to help you with your decluttering. Professional organizers can provide you with a step-by-step plan and can handle the most challenging rooms for you. They will also help you set realistic goals and provide you with tips to make the process less stressful.

Living spaces, family rooms, and bedrooms are a great place to start when decluttering before a move. You’ll need to sort through clothes, toys, and other items to get a clear picture of what you want to move and what can be donated or sold. This will make the process of moving a much easier one for everyone.

Donate or Sell

It’s common to separate decluttering and packing as two separate processes, but you can cut the time required to complete both in half by doing them together. While you go through your things, make piles of those you’ll keep and those you’ll donate or sell. This will help you get rid of things quickly and efficiently while also ensuring that everything you move is needed.

If you’ve been holding on to a collection of jewelry or unused kitchen appliances, now is the time to let them go. Not only will donating your items brighten the day of someone else, but it’ll also save you space in your moving truck and ensure that all the items you’re transporting are actually useful to you in the new home.

In addition, if you’re going to be selling your home, a clutter-free house can boost its resale value and speed up the process of finding a buyer. Clutter-free homes are easier to show, and buyers can better envision how they would use the space, according to professional organiser Vicky Silverthorn of You Need A Vicky.

It’s also a good idea to create an essentials box that will contain things you need the first few days in your new home, such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies, a hammer and nails, and a toolkit for quick fixes around the house. This way, you can skip the trip to the store for these items and get settled in your new place right away. Similarly, you can set aside a box of items that will be donated to secondhand stores as soon as they’re no longer needed in your home. This will also help the environment by diverting items from landfills.


The next step is to sort what you want to take with you to your new home. If you’re unsure where an item will go in your new space, consider whether it is necessary for your daily life or if you can donate it. For example, if you have a collection of books or decorative items that haven’t been used in a year, you can easily get rid of them by taking them to a local donation center or second-hand store.

If you plan to sell your home, decluttering is also crucial for a successful sale. Potential buyers can be turned off by a cluttered home and may not give you the best resale value for your property. By getting rid of clutter, you can make your home more appealing to potential buyers and make the process of selling your home much easier.

Decluttering and packing can be time-consuming processes on their own. By combining these steps, you can cut down on the amount of work you have to do and save a lot of time. The key is to start with the least-used rooms in your home and tackle one room at a time. This will allow you to declutter while saving space in the boxes you’ll need to pack up.

As you go through each room, focus on the things that you use most often and what will be essential to your everyday routine. This includes kitchen appliances, clothing, books, non-essential decor, and even holiday decorations. This will help you keep only the things that are truly important and will allow you to streamline your packing process. As you finish each room, put the items that will be packed away in clearly marked bins or boxes.