Moving is stressful. Moving to another state is stressful on another level. Moving truck companies charge an arm and a leg for their trucks, so downsizing and decluttering before a big move is a must. Everything you bring is valued in truck money - the less you have the smallest the truck you have to rent and that can make a 1000$ difference!
Not even kidding there. 16ft truck from Budget Truck Rental will cost you somewhere around 1200$ while a 26ft truck will rake up about 2500$.
So here are some packing and decluttering tips for your next big move (I am in a middle of one right now and let me tell you - it ain't a walk in the park).
If you don't have access to free boxes you will end up paying hundreds of dollars for cardboard that you will just throw away after you're done moving. Wasteful! Both to your wallet and to the environment.
Here are some places where you can get free boxes from:
- Starbucks (call and let them know that you need boxes for moving, they will save you some).
- Barnes and Nobles (they get book shipments every day so if you call in the morning they will save boxes for you as well).
- Hospitals (this one is hard as you have to actually have somebody work in a hospital, but if you do - you're golden. Hospitals get tons of shipments every day (we actually got 90% of our boxes from a hospital).
- Office supply stores (they get tons of shipments in nice sturdy boxes, make sure to call and ask nicely to save some for you).
- Beer stores and distributors (if you are looking for boxes with no tops to transport plants, lamps and things that don't need to be covered - beer store boxes are your friends. All of their boxes have no tops, so only get them if you know you can use them.)
I've been trying to declutter and minimalism our possessions for quite a while now, and the need to move will definitely help me to finish it all up. I only want to bring things I love and use to my new place, so I am decluttering hardcore.
Packing also puts everything in perspective - you think you don't have much, but then you realize that you still own so much junk. Eye opening!
Easy areas to declutter:
- Kitchen (get rid of any double big utensils you might have, expired foods and snacks, downsize your mug collection and do you really need 13 butter knives?)
- Medicine cabinet (medicine expires about every 2 years so chances are half of the things you own aren't good anymore). In the trash!
- Bedsheets (pick your favorite ones and keep few spare ones for guests - old ones, ripped ones, insanely colored ones that you never use can just go).
- Filing cabinets (paper clatter is the hardest clatter - documents, receipts, contracts - what to keep and how long?). Keep all of the important documents, chances are you have some random grocery lists and 5 years old receipts laying around there - get rid of those.
- Under the sink cabinets (surprisingly things accumulate there - cleaning supplies, extra bottles, dog toys - you name it).
3. Big furniture.
Remember that you will need to pack, load and then unpack and unload every single thing you own. So pick and choose your battles. Hate your heavy dining room table? Is it worth moving it (think of all the stairs you might need to climb if you're moving into the apartment) or can you sell it and then buy a new table later which you will love.
In our case we decided to sell and get rid of most of our furniture (about 80%). It wasn't anything fancy and we wanted to make a fresh start in our new place. We decided to let go of the heaviest things we own - the bed frame (we were sick of it, and it was getting quite old, although it still functioned perfectly). A hand-down couch that we got for free and absolutely hate because it's the most uncomfortable thing in the world Office table, because it's old, ugly and I'm just tired of it. Book shelves, because we have all black ones and I'm ready to switch to a more gentle color.
There, now we don't have to carry that up the stairs. We only picked few of our favorite pieces and then when we are settled in the new place we'd buy things as needed.
4. Adjust your wardrobe.
Depending on your long distance move you will need to adjust your wardrobe. If you're moving from South to North (let's say Florida to Illinois) you can kiss about 50% of your summer wardrobe goodbye, as you will now live in perpetual winter. If you'e moving from North to South you might want to sell some of your Ugg boots and parkas, because you aren't going to need them, believe me.
Even if you have a minimal wardrobe already, you will still need to adjust to weather in the new place - add some pieces and remove some pieces. I try to practice balance in my wardrobe - if I buy things I also make sure that I have something to swap out and donate.
5. Sell whatever you can
Moving trucks are expensive, so if you can make any cash to help out, by all means do so. We sold a lot of our furniture, dvd's and some of the clothes and made some cash. When you're moving long distance every penny counts. Here are some places we sold things on.
LETGO and OFFER UP are local selling apps, very much like Craigslist, but way more user friendly. I had better luck on LETGO, as OFFER UP seems to attract weirder type of buyers. So be careful, do your research and make some cash!
You can also sell clothes on LetGo and Offer UP, but I have no experience with that. I sell my clothes to Plato's Closet and Style Encore. They aren't the best, but you can still make few bucks if you have nice, gently used, trendy things to sell.
If you have designer purses I would recommend selling them on Ebay and Amazon, as you can get a better price for them there.
DVD's and video games:
I would recommend going to local dvd and video games stores (privately operated, not GameStop - they don't pay enough for stuff you sell them).
We had great luck and our local dvd store took all of our films and old retro games. I will also be trying to sell them our old TV as they buy those too.
If you don't have any local ones, try Ebay - you might get a good price there.
6. Donate the rest
What you can't sell, but still in good condition you can donate. Goodwill will pick uproar big furniture for you, and so will Salvation Army. Books can be donated to libraries- they will thank you!
It's very important to declutter and minimize before a big move, and not only because of money, but because you should start new in a new place. Envision it, fill your new home with things you like looking at. Minimize your belongings so you don't need to rent a storage or hide things under the bed (in case your new place is smaller than your current place).
The KonMari Method took the world by storm a couple of years ago. I've watched tons of Youtube videos of people decluttering their closets and lives with this method, but I myself was never too keen on it. I still think that it's a great way to declutter and live more simplified life, but it just doesn't work for me.
I've never read the actual book (I am very picky with my reads) but I know enough about the method to see that it won't work for me. Here is the KonMari Method statement.
The KonMari Method™ is a way of life and a state of mind that encourages cherishing the things that spark joy in people’s lives.
Belongings are acknowledged for their service and thanked before being let go of, if they no longer spark joy.
And here is why it doesn't work for me:
- KonMari Method is way too "materialistic" for me. Cherishing things? Acknowledging things for their service? Thanking things? That is definitely not something I believe in.
Minimalism for me is practicing non-atttachment to things. It's letting go of things because they are just that - things. When I get attached to things and I cherish things I definitely am not living mindfully - I am living materialistically. And I am not bout that life. Even if I only have few possessions - if I cherish them, I am still a materialist.
- KonMari Method decluttering follows the rule of "if things don't spark joy - they can be rid of". This is very similar to my first reason, but I don't judge my things by the amount of joy they spark, I judge them by their usefulness. If I use things - I keep them, if I don't - I let them go.
Things shouldn't bring joy - people bring joy, memories do. And if some things are associated with good memories that's great - but remember that things were only secondary in those memories - feelings and people were probably the main factor of the said joy.