5 Ways to Effectively Declutter Before Moving

Moving is a massive undertaking. There are a thousand decisions to make along the way about what to take and what to throw out. Many of us face these decisions with little sleep and a million other things calling for our attention. This stressful situation can lead to decision fatigue and eventually decision paralysis. Decision paralysis describes those times when you run out of energy to make even small decisions. Moving with decision paralysis is not fun.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Decluttering and disposing of unneeded, unused, and unwanted items before moving can take away many decisions about what you need to pack on moving day. Rather than finishing packing your house looking like you’ve spent a day in the trenches of WWI, you can make it to the other side feeling organized and prepared to tackle the next decision.

1. Roll-off Dumpster Rental

Roll-off dumpsters are large open-top waste disposal containers that trucks drop off and pick up from your property. Often associated with getting large home renovations, roll-off dumpsters are the best waste management solution for a big decluttering project.

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of actually securing a roll-off dumpster, all you need to do is the following:

  • Call a waste disposal company (like Atlas Disposal)
  • Choose a size
  • Decide on a time for drop off and pick up

Ultimately, every successful decluttering project begins with somewhere to put the clutter. Without a roll-off dumpster or something similar, a decluttering project can quickly become an activity of moving useless piles to new locations.

2. Consider Upgrading

With somewhere to place garbage, broken things, and unused household items, it’s time to crack into what exactly deserves to stay and what is better off out of your life.

Moving gives you a great opportunity when it comes to household items that are on their last leg. Rather than transporting them to the new house, risking breaking them in the transition, and filling your new house with a bunch of old junk, consider upgrading.

That stained desk might not be completely unusable, but this move might be a great time to finally get rid of it and invest in one you’re actually excited to have in your study. The same goes with other furniture, toys, appliances, and workout equipment.

Moving is an excellent opportunity to finally get around to replacing all the things that are still around simply because you haven’t taken the time to get rid of them earlier. Even if you don’t buy a new one for your next home, knowing that upgrading is a possibility will help you override your hoarder tendencies when making those tough calls.

3. Check Expiration Dates

Some things don’t look like garbage, but they are well past their use-by-date. Food storage, medications, household goods, and whatever else lives in the forgotten recesses of your pantry all needs to be examined for expiration dates. This part of decluttering can become an shocking surprise as you see how far gone some items are.

4. Ask Yourself These Questions

When was the last time I used this?

Set a hard deadline. Maybe anything that hasn’t been used in over a year can go without further discussion.

What would my life look like without this?

Many things we think we need barely contribute to our quality of life. For example, some experience a better quality of life once they’ve gotten rid of some unused recreational gear. Rather than constantly reminding them that they should get around to using their stuff at some point, they can now focus on the hobbies they enjoy without feeling “gear guilt” – that feeling that you ought to use all the things you have.

5. Say Goodbye

A final tip for having a successful decluttering experience is to say goodbye to items that have served you well and have been with you for a long time but are now redundant or broken. Saying goodbye, whether out loud or in your mind, can transform a sad and difficult experience into one of deep appreciation for things that made a difference in your life up to this point. Saying goodbye properly can help declutter your wardrobe, mantelpiece, and storage closet.

Moving is the ending of one period in life and the start of another. Scientists conducting research on saying goodbye found that “a well-rounded ending is associated with high positive affect, low regret, and an easy transition into the subsequent phase.” If this holds with relationships between people, it surely applies to our relationships with things.

Overall, decluttering is one of the best things you can do to prepare for a move, and a move is one of the best times to declutter. Get in touch with a dumpster service and let the fun of cleaning out all those forgotten corners begin.


A lot of work goes into relocating. There are myriad preferences to be made along the route on what to keep and what to discard. Many of us must make these alternatives while getting little sleep and juggling a never-ending list of other obligations. This demanding occurrence may cause decision fatigue and ultimately choice immobilization. Decision paralysis makes it complicated to move.

5 Ways to Declutter Before Moving Infographic


5 Ways to Effectively Declutter Before Moving