If you’re moving soon, you’ve probably found yourself staring into your overflowing closets and thinking, “Do I really want to move this stuff?” If so, your next questions are probably “Where do I?” and “How do I choose?” Here are some easy rules to help you decide what moves with you and what you get rid of.
Start working on this well in advance of your packing, and, if you plan on getting rid of a lot of stuff, before you start getting moving estimates.
First, here are things you should get rid of:
> Anything broken that can’t or won’t be fixed;
> Clothes that are too small (or too large), or too out of date, or that you just don’t wear
> Things your kids have outgrown; items that you have extra sets or just too many of (think plastic containers and lids);
> Old magazines, catalogs and newspapers;
> Anything that you dislike or hate
> Anything you don’t use at least once or twice a year
You have three basic options for getting rid of them:
> Recycle or throw out
> Donate or give away
> Sell, either in a garage sale, online or in some other way
Start by taking an inventory of all your things. And not just you – every family member should do this with their belongings as well. Don’t make decisions about what to do with items yet, just ask three simple questions:
> Is it in good shape, and if not, would I pay someone to fix it?
> Is it unique and useful? (This one addresses all those plastic containers: They’re useful, but not unique.)
> Do I use/wear/like it now, and am I likely to use/wear/like it in a year?
Make a list of the items that need to be fixed, that you still like and use, and that are useful and unique. Or make a list of the items that you hate and want to get rid of. Either way, you’ve got a list you can act on.
Once you have your list, you can start making decisions about what to do with all those things. Plan a weekend (or two) for this step. Put two boxes, one labeled donate and one labeled sell, and a trash or recycle bag in each room you’re clearing out. Drop the items from your inventory that you don’t want to move into the appropriate box or bag. (For larger items like furniture, appliances and large toys, you can use Post-it notes labeled “sell”, “donate”, “recycle” or “toss”).
If you’re not up for holding a garage sale or selling online, you can skip the sell box and just use a donate box. Just remember that items you donate should be in good condition and functional.
At the end of the weekend, you should have a lot of full boxes and bags, and a lot less stuff left inside. If you’re having a garage sale or otherwise selling things, do it in a week or two. Otherwise you may lose your sense of urgency. The worst thing that can happen here would be to run out of time and end up moving all that stuff anyway.
For the stuff to be donated, look for organizations that will pick up. Depending on what you have, you may end up with piles for different organizations: Appliances or building materials can go to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, for instance, and literacy organizations may collect books to resell them. AmVets, the Salvation Army, and the Purple Heart Veterans will all take a wide variety of household furnishings, kitchen items, kids items, and clothes. Call or go online to schedule pick-ups as soon as possible.