Moving? Here’s What to Do With All Your Stuff

At a glance

You’ve probably accumulated a lot of stuff since you last moved, and some of it—let’s be honest—has no business coming to your new place. Simplify your move and save money on moving expenses by going full Marie Kondo on your home before you pack up.

Here are four ways to ensure you take only what you need when you move out:

  1. Inventory your belongings
  2. Sell or donate what you can
  3. Throw away or recycle the rest
  4. Clean everything you take with you

Keep reading for more tips, recommendations, and resources for decluttering your home before your big move.

What to do with your stuff when you move

1. Inventory your belongings

Keeping an inventory of your stuff isn’t as bad as it sounds, and it will benefit you in more ways than one. When you’re preparing to move, your inventory will let you know what you have and what you can afford to get rid of.

Besides, you’ll need a detailed home inventory when you request an estimate from your moving company anyway. It’s also a good idea to keep an inventory in case you need to file an insurance claim after theft or natural disaster, but we’ll concentrate on the moving issue for now.

Walk through your home and write down everything you own in each room. You can do this in a notebook or a spreadsheet on your phone or computer. There are also several home inventory apps for Android or iOS that streamline this process.

As you’re making a record of everything you own, write down the following about each item:

  • What condition it’s in
  • How large it is
  • How often you use it
  • If you need it

You can learn more by checking out our guide to performing a home inventory.

2. Sell or donate what you can

After you complete your home inventory, take stock of everything you’re getting rid of. Are there any items that might be useful to someone else? Instead of chucking these things, you can either sell them or donate them.

Selling your stuff

The most obvious way to sell your stuff is to have a yard sale or an estate sale.

First, you’ll need to appraise all the things you’re getting rid of and try to gauge how much they’re worth. Remember, it’s probably more important to get rid of this stuff than it is to turn a profit, so keep your prices low.

Once you’ve set prices for everything you’re selling, pick a day to hold your sale and hang signs around your neighborhood. Make sure these signs include the following info:

  • Your address
  • The date and time of your sale
  • What payment methods you can accept

If putting on a yard sale sounds like a hassle, you can also try selling your stuff online. Craigslist and eBay are obvious choices, but there are many other sites where you can sell your stuff.

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Be prepared with several payment methods

Be prepared with several payment methods

Most people don’t carry cash anymore, so it’s important to accept multiple payment methods at your yard sale. Get a card reader for your phone and set up a Venmo or PayPal account if you don’t already have one.

Donating your stuff

Giving your old belongings to a charitable organization is a great way to help those less fortunate than you while painlessly getting rid of things you don’t want. If you need help finding a good donation center, check out our list of charities that pick up your donations.

Keep in mind that not every charity will take everything you have to donate. Before scheduling your donation pickup, check the donation guidelines for whichever organization you want to donate to.

Facebook is another excellent resource for donations. Many neighborhoods and cities have Facebook pages where locals can post belongings they want to upcycle and send to good homes. Even if your neighborhood doesn’t have a page like this, you can post on your own Facebook profile and ask if your friends want anything you’re getting rid of.

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Donation and COVID-19

Donation and COVID-19

To combat the spread of COVID-19, some charities have implemented new guidelines for donating. For example, several of our favorite charities have temporarily suspended pickup services. Call ahead to the charity you plan to donate to and ask what guidelines the organization has put in place.

3. Throw away or recycle the rest

Not everything you’ll want to get rid of will be useful enough to sell or donate. Just throw away broken furniture, moth-eaten clothes, and haunted appliances. That’s where junk removal comes in.

If you need to throw out some old junk, you can save money by renting a dumpster and doing most of the work yourself, or you can hire a junk removal company to do all the work for you. This second option is always more expensive, but it’s obviously much more convenient.

The best part is that many junk removal companies—such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving—take large portions of what they pick up to recycling facilities instead of landfills.

As with donation, there are some items that dumpster and junk removal companies won’t accept. For example, most companies don’t take things like dead car batteries, hazardous materials (pesticides, paint, asbestos, etc.), and old TVs. Call ahead and check your junk removal company’s restrictions before booking your service.

4. Clean everything you take with you

Once you’ve decluttered your home and gotten rid of everything you don’t need, it’s time to clean what’s left. Why bring the dust and grime from your old place into your new one?

Before you begin packing and moving, go through your remaining things and give each item a deep clean. Not everything you own will need this, but you might be surprised how much dust gravitates to clothes and furniture kept in the attic.

Whether it’s a piano or a pile of books, clean it before you pack it.

Recommended resources

Now that we’ve talked about what you should do with your stuff before you move, we recommend reading these guides to further prepare yourself for moving day:

About Joe Roberts

Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over three years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.