Sell, keep or toss: things you should get rid of before moving
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Sell, keep or toss: things you should get rid of before moving

Moving is the perfect time to get rid of things that you don’t need, don’t want, and downright don’t like anymore! Even if you consider yourself a master perger or minimalist and have been mindful about the amount of “stuff” you own, the cost of moving is an important motivator for many people to purge since heavy and larger items can exponentially increase the cost of the move.

While there is no definitive checklist that will help everyone decide exactly what to sell, keep or toss before moving, The Bob Blake Team recommends the following guiding questions to help with your choices. Any items that make it safely through the questions are likely the items that you should really be keeping, the others should be tossed, donated or sold depending on their condition and potential value to others.

Do I need it in my new space?

  • Seasonal items might not be needed if the climate if different in your new home
    • Shovels, lawn care items, winter clothing, seasonal recreation gear, patio furniture, tools, etc.
  • Room collections: if you’re moving into a space with fewer rooms, pack accordingly
    • Washrooms, laundry, pantry + storage, bedrooms, office, entrance way, garage, shed, patio, front porch,
  • Items for guests who might be staying longer, shorter, or not at all in your new space
    • Beds, bedding, towels, extra dinnerware, glasses + cutlery
  • Stuff you rarely or never use in the first place!
    • If you haven’t used an item in 5 months, do you need it?
    • Do clothes and shoes that haven’t been worn in a year still fit? Are they in style?
    • If you’ve read the book, will you read it again?
    • If you haven’t displayed the knick-knack in the past 6 months, do you love it?
    • If you’re not handy or crafty now, will you really use your tools + supplies in your new space?!
  • Things that can be stored digitally
    • Tax papers, invoices, receipts, instruction manuals, photos, music, children’s crafts, cookbooks
  • Things you have multiples of
    • Dinnerware + stemware, small appliances, kitchen gadgets
    • Cables + cords, small electronics
    • Linens, pillows, towels,
    • Office supplies, storage bins
    • Purses, shopping bags, umbrellas, and other items in the front hall closet!
    • Holiday decor
  • Obsolete + unnecessary items
    • Outdated electronics, cables, cords including phones, VCRs, DVD players, radios, etc.
    • Nostalgic paraphernalia like posters + trinkets - take a picture and put them in the sell, donate or toss pile.
  • Expired + “almost empty” items that you will replace soon after moving anyway
    • Food, batteries, pharmacy, cosmetics, candles
    • Worn linens, pillows, clothing + shoes,

Will it fit in my new space?

For this round of purging, don’t just think in terms of dimensions. Also consider the style, as well as the impact on your daily life (for example, an item might be more difficult to access, clean or maintain in your new space).

  • Sectional furniture
    • Think about the direction of sectional sofas, desks, wall units, etc. face with regards to windows, door entry, etc.
  • Large items
    • The scale of dining sets, bedroom sets, desks, entertainment units, even tvs might not work in your new space
  • Area rugs and floor matts
    • Do you have fewer bathrooms, for example?
    • Does the entrance way require floor coverings?
  • Curtains and rods
    • Double check that these aren’t “chattel” in your real estate agreement
    • If they’re not perfect for your new windows, will you take the time to tailor them?
  • Extra appliances
    • Deep freezer, garage fridge, wine cooler, small appliances - do you need them?
    • If the answer is no, consider negotiating these into chattel for the next homeowner to spare yourself moving or disposal costs.

NO: Any items that did not pass through this first question should be sold or donated if they are in good working condition. If they don’t work, are obsolete, or too personal in nature for anyone else to use, toss ‘em!

YES: Items that passed the first question are eligible to advance to the next filter to help you decide whether or not you should take them with you when you move.

What’s the cost of keeping it? (and not just monetary cost)

  • Will the item cost more to move than replace?
    • Mattresses, large pieces of furniture, appliances, bikes, kayaks, etc. take up a lot of space in a moving truck and can drive up the price significantly.
  • Will you need to rent a storage space for this item after the move?
    • If so, is the item better to rent when needed instead of storing? E.g. Canoe.
  • Do feelings of guilt outweigh the benefits of keeping the item?
    • Guilt over the amount of money spent?
    • Guilt over getting rid of a gift you received?
    • Guilt over not having used it enough?
    • If yes to any of these, consider leaving the item out of the move. It’s the perfect time to “blame it on the movers” if anyone asks, and you’ll likely forget you even had the item, or the guilt that you’ve been haunted with amidst all the excitement of the move. Think “fresh start”.

Moving is a great time to reflect and take stock of what you have, what it means to you, and to decide whether or not you want to take, toss, sell or donate when you’re moving. No matter what you decide, we wish you a happy fresh start in your new space.

Happy packing!