Decluttering Before a Big & Emotional Move
Moving can be incredibly emotionally draining, especially if you’ve lived in the same place for years. It feels like there are memories tied to every single item in your home. You need to make a decision each second, and it’s exhausting. If this sounds like you, take a deep breath, and give yourself some love. This is hard work. The fact that this is so difficult for you, means that you had some amazing memories and experiences in your home!
Here are some helpful tips and ideas for people needing to declutter and downsize before they make a big move. No, it won’t make this emotional process care-free and completely easy, but it may ease some of the difficulty.
HAVE A DECLUTTERING SYSTEM FROM THE START | You are likely not going to pack up every single item in your house and move it to your new place. Think about where many of your items are going if they aren’t coming with you on the move. For example, are there some items that your kids or friends will want? Will you donate anything? Will you have a yard sale? If so, how are you going to keep track of which item go in which category? Create a system. This can be as simple as: “All donations go in the entryway, all yard sale items go in the garage, and I’ll keep all the things my kids want in the corner of the living room until they pick them up themselves.” Or assign a different color sticky note to each category, and stick one on each piece of furniture, box, and bag, depending on the category. This simple system will help you find some order in the chaos and speed up the decision making process.
INFUSE THE TEDIOUS & DAUNTING TASKS WITH FUN & JOY | Do you have a particularly daunting task that you know won’t be enjoyable? For example, the boxes of your kids' school work and photos in the attic that haven’t been touched in years? Try to re-frame the situation and make it as fun and light as possible. Make yourself a good cup of coffee, play some fun music, light a candle, and make sure you are comfortable. Why would you sort through boxes in your cold, dusty attic - when you could be doing the same thing in your cozy living room, with a glass of malbec to your side, and your favorite romantic comedy playing in the background? As Elizabeth Gilbert said, “Be a trickster, not a martyr.”
ENLIST OTHERS FOR HELP | Friends, kids, siblings, and of course - professional organizers. This is a lot of work to do on your own. Many professional organizers specialize in moving and downsizing. Why put all the stress on yourself, when you can lean on others for support? And, you may even have FUN doing this work with someone else.
SCHEDULE A DONATION PICK-UP| Lots of organizations will pick up donated clothes, household items, and furniture from your house! Schedule this pick up, and take a deep breath. Also pat yourself on the back, because all of your things are now supporting people in-need!
GIVE YOURSELF SOME GRACE | Remember that this can be difficult, emotional work. It’s not worth beating yourself up over how much has been collected in your home over the years, or how long it is taking you to make decisions, or how messy every room looks. Take care of yourself, remember that you are doing the best you can, and take advantage of the resources around you that can make this process easier.
Image by Christopher Flynn, Unsplash