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Moving? The how-to on downsizing and de-cluttering before the big day

  • By Expat
  • July 20, 2017

Moving is a daunting process, and it seems that the more times we move, the more things we manage to accumulate. If you’re tired of seeing all that junk lying around your house, a big move could be just the motivation you need to get a start on ridding yourself of unwanted items, making your space less cluttered, and your pack up and move much easier. It helps your new home feel just like a fresh start!

It’s not easy to let go, and choosing what to keep and what can stay can be a bit of a challenge. To help make this process as productive as possible, we’ve compiled a step-by-step list of your winning moves to get started:

1. Clean out those closets!

Everyone has a top (or twenty) hanging in their closet unworn, tags still on. While it’s tempting to take these and doom them to a life unworn in your new closet, wouldn’t it be better to let them go and make room for new favourites?

To help when going through your clothing, it may be helpful to sort the items into three piles – keep, throw, and donate. To help decide what goes in which pile, here are a few guidelines:

Have you worn it in the past twelve months?

If the answer is no, then chances are you won’t wear it for the next twelve months either. Donate.

Does it fit you properly?

Everyone goes through weight fluctuations, and weight gain or weight loss could mean that your clothing isn’t fitting as well it used to. If it’s something you really like, consider taking it in for alterations. If not, then donate it to your nearest op shop.

Is it dated?

If the shoulder pads make you look like an extra in Pretty Woman, it’s time to chuck it out or donate in case someone has an 80’s dress-up party coming up.

Is it in good condition?

Even if an item is one your go-to staples, if it’s damaged, stained, or pilled beyond belief, it may be best to toss it, and replace it if possible.

TIP: If the clothing item you are letting go of is a designer label or high-end, you may be able to make a few bucks by listing it on eBay or taking it in to a consignment store.

2. Furniture and Homewares

It’s a good idea to look at the blueprints and measurements of your new space, to see if your existing furniture will fit in the dimensions provided. No sense lugging your oversized couch across the sea to find it doesn’t fit in the door, or up the staircase, or is way too large for your new living room. Same goes for your homewares, kitchenware and decorative pieces – if there isn’t enough cupboard space, shelf space, or if it just doesn’t match the new décor, let it go.

If you feel that the furniture or homeware item is something you’d like to make use of again in the future, it could be worth putting these items into storage until your next move. Storage spaces are popping up in cities all over, and some can be surprisingly affordable depending on how large space is and how long you plan on keeping the items there.

If you’d like to sell, there are plenty of people looking for secondhand furniture. Ebay, Gumtree, Craigslist and Facebook selling groups could be great places to list your furniture for sale.

Unwanted furniture can also be donated, and many charities and op shops will be glad to take in clean, usable furniture.

3. Appliances and Electronics

Who doesn’t have an old cellphone or two stashed away somewhere? For any outdated or broken appliances and electronics, please remember they must be disposed of properly, usually at e-waste recycling centres. Some major stores allow drop-offs of smaller electronic goods for recycling and proper disposal.

For working appliances, you might consider donating them to the charity of your choice. Keep in mind some charities will not accept certain appliances, and others will only accept appliances that are less than a certain number of years old, depending on the appliance type.

Another option would be to sell or trade-in your used electronics and appliances for cash or put it towards an upgraded model.

4. Go through the fridge and pantry

If you are using a professional moving service, most likely they will refuse to take any perishable food. That means you’ll need to empty out your fridge and eat or get rid of all the contents.

As for non-perishables, sure they can be moved but do those items really need to take up all that space and weight? Consider donating some of these non-perishables to soup kitchens and food banks instead. Some areas even have services that will pick up these food items and deliver them to the food banks and shelters.

Enjoy your de-cluttering, and remember that Expat is always happy to assist in the relocation process!


All information is current and accurate at the time of publishing. However, the above information and status are highly susceptible to change without warning, and thus this cannot substitute for any legal advice. Expat International cannot be held responsible for any actions stemming from the information provided above.