The Tiny house Blog

The Complete Guide to Downsizing and Decluttering Your House Before a Move

Updated on:
January 13, 2024
Modern sleek home

Moving can be made easier with decluttering. Fewer items require less time and money to transport. It also saves you storage in your new home.

While decluttering might sound easy at first, it can quickly go out of hand. When we start decluttering, we often find a lot more things useless/useful than we originally planned for.

This makes moving more difficult than it has to be. However, fear not! This article will tell you all you need to know about decluttering before a move. We will teach you how you can prepare for a move. We will also enlist items that you can dispose of.  

In the end, we will give you some helpful tips that can make decluttering easy for you!

How to prepare for a move

1. Start way before the anticipated moving date

You are going to a whole new house. This involves transferring a lot of different items. These items can range from furniture to utensils.

Starting early gives you all the time you need to plan for the move. This involves figuring out what to sort, sell, or donate. 

If you have kids, this preparation time will help you break the news to them as well. Kids are prone to taking the news of moving the hardest. 

Planning ahead gives you enough time to take in the idea of moving and get your kids on board. They could also help out with the decluttering, provided they are old enough.

2. Checklists always help

Making a checklist may sound like a lot of work, but it’s efficient. Enlist all your tasks on a to-do list. This helps you memorize the tasks that you need to do. Hence, it saves you the trouble of always having to remember what you are supposed to do.

Things that you should add to the checklist can include:

  • Contacting any utility companies that you were employing so that you can schedule a day to withdraw from their service.
  • Setting up a new forwarding address for all of your mail.
  • Ordering items you will need to pack the stuff that you will be taking with you.

Add any other critical task you absolutely do not want to slip out of your head.

3. Clearing out any items that you rarely/never use

Moving provides an excellent opportunity to declutter. Before starting to declutter, take out anything you already know you won’t need. This could include things like:

  • Old items that you bought for babies.
  • Appliances that aren’t functional any longer.
  • Things you bought out of impulse without realizing that they would be impractical for you.  
  • Gifts that you might not have needed/liked. It’s a bit mean but moving gives you an excuse to get rid of them. 
  • Cables/remote controllers of old electrical devices such as video game consoles that you don’t own anymore.
  • Any textbooks from school or college that have been collecting dust since graduation.

4. Figure out the storage space in your new home to determine what items to keep

Some questions that you can ask yourself while thinking about keeping something are:

  • How long has it been since you used this appliance or worn that dress?
  • Is there any possible scenario soon where I could need this particular item?
  • Is it currently useful for me?
  • Does it agree with my current lifestyle?
  • Do I even like this item anymore, or is it purely nostalgia making me hold onto it?
  • Will it go with what you have envisioned for the new home you will be moving into?

5. Plan how much your budget is going to be

Moving all the items across town (or even countries) can be especially expensive. However, setting a fixed budget will help you cut down costs and look for cheaper alternatives.

You will be able to tell if hiring a moving service is something that you can afford or not. If you can hire movers, use this time to research the top moving companies in your area.

You can start this by dropping a quick text to your friends/family groups for referrals. This will help you compare the quotes provided by the different companies before hiring them.

If that seems too expensive, you can always transfer your stuff good old DIY style.

For moving the stuff on your own, it is advisable to check the prices of trunk rentals. Don’t forget to ask for help from your friends and family. They can help with packing up, loading, and even delivering your things.

However, either of the two ways would be better off with fewer things that need to be moved across. More items would cost more with a professional logistics company. Similarly, they will be more trouble for your friends and family.

Thus, make sure you declutter and only take the essentials/meaningful things to your new home.

6. Decluttering the clothes packing process

Do not take clothes out of your dressers/drawers. Clothes can just stay inside them while being transported. This will save you from having to sort out clothing clutter. If you have precious items like vintage earrings or a preowned engagement ring tucked away in your dresser, consider securing them in padded compartments to ensure their safe journey.

For added safety, you can cover your dressers in a plastic film. This would help ensure that the individual drawers do not fall out of the dresser when being transported.

Another great idea is to leave your clothes on your hangers. This will make it far easier to transport them and set them up in your new home.

You can also try using a wardrobe box with a metal bar for hanging clothes. Upon your arrival at your new home, you can directly transfer the clothes from the box to your new closets.

Both of these tips will significantly improve the efficiency of having to move your clothes. These decluttering tips will ensure that you have a few stacks of clothes to work with instead of hundreds of individual pieces.

What to dispose of before a move

Dispose of anything that you haven’t used in a long while and can be easily replaced.

If something hasn’t been used in a long time, chances are you won’t need it anytime soon. So it’s a good time to get rid of it. This is especially true if the item in question can be cheaply replaced.

To help you even further, we have composed a room-by-room declutter checklist. This will help you think of items specific to each room and organize your decluttering process.

Room-by-room declutter checklist

1. Bedroom

  • Pillows that you have rarely ever used lately
  • Pillowcases that you no longer find pretty
  • Extra sheets that you don’t like anymore or wouldn’t go with the aesthetic of your new home
  • Any unread/unwanted books
  • Any blankets that you don’t like/can easily replace from IKEA
  • Broken appliances/lamps
  • Old, worn-out mattresses (unless new ones are way out of your budget)
  • Any decorative pieces that wouldn’t look as good in your new bedroom
  • Items in your dressers that you will no longer need/can easily replace.

2. Decluttering your living room

  • Start with obsolete entertainment systems like CD/DVD players
  • Any gaming consoles that you don’t use/are obsolete, e.g., PS2, PS3, etc.
  • Books that you have already read/aren’t going to read
  • Curtains that don’t go with the aesthetics of your new home
  • Any instruments like a keyboard or a guitar that you rarely ever play and are just sitting there collecting dust
  • Furniture that’s cheap and would be more expensive to move than to replace
  • Any decorative pieces that would not look good in your new home
  • Old air conditioning units that will be too expensive to move and get reinstalled in your new home
  • Rugs that have lived way past their life and now deserve a good rest
  • Cheap coffee tables that are too damaged to make you happy in your new home

3. Decluttering your Kitchen

  • Unused appliances
  • Gadgets you no longer need
  • Mismatched cutlery
  • Stocked food items you can’t finish before the moving day
  • Kitchen towels that are too dirty for a new home
  • Paper towels that you can cheaply buy at your new home
  • Kitchen cleaning supplies, especially if they are almost empty
  • Any alcohol that might not be too expensive
  • Kitchen decorations that won’t go with the aesthetic of your new house
  • Items in the drawers that you will have no use of/can easily replace in your new home.

4. Decluttering your bathrooms 

  • Start by emptying the medicine cabinet
  • Any expired or almost empty toiletries
  • Towels that can be cheaply replaced or are worn out
  • Bathroom mats that are too dirty to take to a new house
  • Any cosmetic products that may be nearing their end
  • Any toys/decorations in the bathroom that can be easily replaced
  • Any broken/bent clothes drying racks
  • Any soap/shampoo dispensers that would be a mess to reinstall in your new home.

Effective downsizing and decluttering tips

1. Inventory all your belongings

Before you start to pack up all your stuff, inventory everything you own. This will help you get an overview of everything that you are taking with you. Thus, if there’s something that wouldn’t make sense in your new home, you can dispose of it.

However, if you’re downsizing to a home that has a smaller size, you need to be careful. Naturally, you wouldn’t have the room to fit all your items in it. Therefore, try to envision where everything will go in your new house.

The inventory will help you picture everything in place. This will reduce clutter by removing items you can’t imagine anywhere in your new home.

2. Invent a sorting system

A sorting system will help you stay organized. You can try making three different labels for three boxes.

One box could be for the stuff you want to keep. The other could be the stuff you want to dispose of. And the third would be for things that will go directly into storage.

This way, you can go room to room with our checklist in hand and sort out all the items in three different boxes. At the end of it all, you will have decluttered each room, and you will know precisely what you are keeping/throwing out.

Try putting the items you would need for your daily use/immediately upon arrival in a separate box. This could include towels, hairdryers, sweatpants, pillows, etc.

This will make settling into your new home easier. You can quickly unpack the essentials box upon arrival and get on with everything that you will need immediately.

3. Go digital when possible

Digitizing your paper-based clutter can help you achieve efficiency. It will also reduce paper-based clutter in the long term. This will save you a lot of storage space.

If you think about it, all the paper-based clutter starts to pile up through the years. Sorting through the old receipts, bills, or any other important documents is something that you will need to do no matter what. So, why not digitize them?

Get a cheap scanner or download a scanning app on your phone and digitize everything. If you are proficient with computers, you can even make spreadsheets with important information.

Similarly, entertainment items like videos, photos, and/or any music should be transformed into their respective digital versions.

This will help you relieve a lot of room in your new house. Besides, it will create an immortal record of all the important things to you. And let’s face it, finding important information in digital files is far easier than finding the same thing in hard copies.

4. Stick to the 80/20 rule

You’d better believe that we only wear 20% of the clothes we own 80% of the time. You can also apply this rule to other things like music, video games, electronics, books, toys, etc.

Thus, ask yourself, is something old really worth taking to your new home if you are only going to use it 20% of the time?

This rule will help you make sense of what you need in your new home. Hence, it would save you a lot of space.

5. The sunken costs

Don’t fixate on trying to make money back on your purchases by selling them. Unfortunately, in economics, things rarely ever appreciate in value. Instead, when we buy them, their value depreciates.

In lieu of that, ask yourself, will keeping an item in question add any real value to your life? If the answer is no, dispose of it.

You would spend more money transporting it to your new home instead of making your money back on it.  

6. Think of how recently/frequently have you used an item

If you can’t decide whether to keep an item or not, an excellent question to ask yourself is: when was the last time I used it?

If the answer is many months ago, ask yourself: how much will it cost me to transport the item to my new house? Will it be cheaper just to sell this and get a new one? Does this one even work perfectly?

The answers to these questions will help you quickly rule out whether you need something in your life or not.

7. There’s no need to rush it

Do not stress over figuring out if you will need something or not right away. Once you have decluttered your home, sleep on your decisions.

When you wake up in the morning, you will know if you need anything or not. Should there be something you still want to keep, you can easily pull it out of the clutter.


By now, you have learned a lot about how to prepare for a move efficiently.

Get your children on board, start early, and invent different sorting systems to make your life easier.

Checklists are your friends. Budgeting will also help you make important decisions about what you would like to keep.

Decluttering will be therapeutic for you, and you will be able to get rid of everything you don’t need anymore. You can even donate things that still work/or are usable. This will fill your heart with warmth.

Decluttering things you can cheaply replace will help you get a stronger sense of a fresh start. This way, you will have new things which will be the icing on top of your move.

In fact, with all the decluttering, you can even adopt a modern minimalistic aesthetic.

However, moving can be a little difficult with a job. In such a case, you could consider renting a tiny home at the start.

For more tips on making the best use of all the available housing options, head over to Tiny House!

This website contains all the information you need for moving. This could include things you may wish to consider when buying ACs or the differences between the different kinds of garage doors.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to Tiny House right now and make your new house your new home!

Did you enjoy this post and find value in it? Share it with your friends with the links below!

Need more info? Get

By submitting your email, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms

Subscribe to get the latest news

This is a new way to communicate faster than any communication platforms

Thank you!
Your submission has been received! Check your inbox for an email from with more info!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again or email us at Thanks!
Want all the latest tiny house inspo and news?

Get free resources, updates, tips & tricks, and special offers by joining the Tiny House Plan Newsletter.

No items found.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers — straight from the author — for the most common questions about this article.

Don't see your question here? Contact us!
No items found.

Join The Tiny House Community

Occasionally: Community Events, DIY Tips and Tricks, Tiny House Guides
Never: Junk or Spam and we don't sell or misuse your email.
Welcome to the fam! We're excited to have you join the community.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again or use the form below.