Lile Relocation Services Logo

How to Declutter Before Moving

A Guide on Decluttering Before Moving 

So you are planning a move and don’t know where to begin. One of the best things you can do to start the process and ensure a stress-free moving experience is to start decluttering your home of items you want to leave behind. Even if you don’t think your home is cluttered, chances are that there are a few things you no longer use. All these items add to your overall moving expenses, which can add up depending on your household size. Get your life and home decluttered, and minimize moving day stress by following our tips on how to declutter before moving.   

Request a Quote

The essential checklist for moving to a different state -Declutter before you move

How to Declutter Before You Move | Decluttering Tips

Start Early

The best time to get rid of all the old unwanted belongings is when you prepare for a move. Getting rid of things you don’t want or need will save you time, money, and effort during a move. Figuring out what to leave behind when moving can be an involved process. With this in mind, you should give yourself plenty of time to organize a home decluttering plan. Get an early start by creating a decluttering checklist and having benchmarks to accomplish throughout the decluttering process.  

Stock Up on Needed Supplies

Decluttering is the first stage of the moving process, requiring the same supplies: cardboard boxes, tape, packing paper, and bubble wrap. Having a dumpster dropped off at your home can also be helpful, especially if you have a big household or are downsizing to a smaller home. 

Consider the Space in Your New Home

It is crucial to consider the space you will be moving into while decluttering your current home. You may consider how many bedrooms your new home has compared to your current space. Furthermore, are the rooms bigger or smaller for your furniture? Moving is a great time to donate or sell extra furniture and other large items you won’t need in your new home. Leaving behind extra furniture and items, you won’t need or having space in your new home will save you time, energy, and moving expenses. 

Start with the Rooms and Items You Use the Least

Start decluttering in a room with belongings you don’t use regularly. Rooms like the garage, basement, and attic are great places to start decluttering before a move. These places will likely take longer to declutter because of the number of unused items they may contain. Also, starting in one of these rooms can give you a better idea of what to leave behind when moving to other areas of your home. Once these rooms are complete, you can move on to areas of the house you use more, like the kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms, to repeat the process. 

Create Separate Piles

Not all clutter is trash. Some items may be worth selling or donating instead. The best strategy to take before decluttering your home is to create separate piles of items. Here are a few examples of the piles you might make as you are going through your things: 
  • Keep
  • Trash
  • Donate 
  • Sell
  • Storage
  • Gift

Involve your Kids 

If you have children, they probably have toys they no longer play with. Before you start decluttering their room, talk with them about the moving process. Go through their room with them and sort the toys into separate piles (see above). Working with your kids, you can devise a plan on what to leave behind when moving and what toys they want to keep. 

Declutter Sentimental Items 

We all have belongings that we have grown attached to over the years. These items bring back great memories and may have a special meaning in our lives. Decluttering sentimental items often takes more time because of the memories they hold and the decision you have to make about each item. While these items may be useful, but how often do you use them? That varsity jacket from high school no longer fits. What about that stationary bike you have sitting in the garage that you haven’t used in a while? It may be time to part ways with these items. 

Avoid Making New Purchases

The last thing anyone should do before moving is to purchase new items. Of course, replacing old and worn items, like mattresses and appliances, can’t be helped, but you should either wait until after you move into your new home to make new purchases or have them shipped to your new home after you move into your new space. 

Room by Room Decluttering Checklist | Things to Declutter Before You Move


  • Broken cups or glasses
  • Expired and unwanted food
  • Unused appliances
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Old cutting boards
  • Worn Pots and pans 


  • Old paint
  • Broken tools
  • Old holiday decorations
  • Items in storage
  • Any broken outdoor items
  • Sports equipment

Home Office

  • Filing Cabinets
  • Old calendars and planners
  • Desk lamps
  • Office supplies (pens, pencils, paperclips, etc.)
  • Computer equipment
  • Old notebooks

Basement/Utility Room

  • Appliances (old washer/dryer)
  • Sports equipment
  • Items in storage bins
  • Cleaning/Laundry supplies
  • Tools
  • Old holiday decorations


  • Expired medication
  • Worn bath towels
  • Old bath mats and rugs
  • Empty makeup bottles
  • Old cleaning products
  • Toilet plunger and brush


  • Old sheets and comforters 
  • Books 
  • Clothing and shoes that no longer fit 
  • Worn pillows
  • Torn or damaged clothing
  • Old mattress

Living Room

  • Empty picture frames
  • Old furniture
  • Spare lamps
  • Books and magazines
  • Old electronics (televisions, DVD players, stereo equipment)
  • Rugs

Linen/Coat Closets

  • Extra jewelry
  • Old blankets
  • Bedsheets
  • Excess hangers
  • Items in storage containers
  • Clothing and shoes

Next Steps After You Have Decluttered for Your Move

Hire Movers

Once you have decluttered your home, first you should hire a professional moving company. Professional movers have the equipment and expertise to move your belongings safely and efficiently to your new home. Furthermore, knowing your belongings are in professionals’ safe and secure hands will help reduce stress before moving. 

Secure Your Moving Date

Book a moving date as soon as possible. In the spring and summer months moving companies can be booked solid, so reputable professional movers are in high demand, and their schedule fills up quickly. Contact a moving company as soon as you know you are moving, and it fits within your budget. 

Start Packing

Don’t wait to start packing until the last minute. Packing a house can take a long time with everything you have accumulated over the years. Don’t underestimate the time you need to pack your belongings in an organized manner. Getting an early start on packing can help reduce stress and avoid scrambling to finish packing on moving day. If your moving budget allows, most professional movers offer packing services that you can add to your moving plan. Speak with your sales consultant during your moving survey to receive an estimate with and without packing service.


Decluttering your home is an essential part of the moving process. Over the years, our homes have filled up with items we don’t necessarily need or use anymore. Moving is a great time to declutter and leave items behind you don’t need. Decluttering before moving makes packing less frustrating and can help you save time, money, and energy during the moving process. We hope our checklist of things to declutter before you move will help reduce your stress before moving day.

Lile Relocation Services is the most-trusted professional moving company in the Pacific Northwest. Our movers will safely and securely move your belongings to your new home. Contact us at 888-507-6304 or fill out our online residential services quote form. We are here to make your move go as smoothly and stress-free as possible. Happy Decluttering!

Moving? We Can Help!

lile moving and storage company truck
northamerican quality award winner logo crest
Lile Relocation Services is a member of CSRT. CRST logo
Lile Relocation Services is a Woman-Owned Company. WOC logo
Lile Relocation Services is a member of the Office Moving Alliance. OMA logo
Lile Relocation Services. Pro Mover Logo
Lile Relocation Services is a member of the GSA. GSA logo
How to declutter before moving. A cluttered closet
Decluttering for a move. Create separate piles to stay organized.
Moving Day Tips