Whether you want to move because you're downsizing or the family is growing, or have to move because of a life change like a job transfer or divorce, the final outcome will eventually be the same: you'll have to move your "stuff" to your new place. Look around your house right now: what would it take to pack and move? For most the number one thing that needs to happen in preparation for a move is to declutter. And since you'll be prepping your home for sale and needing to stage it for potential buyers, you'll actually be killing two birds with one stone by decluttering and depersonalizing your current space for staging and moving purposes, too. Also, starting with less will make it easier when you go to set up your new space. If your first reaction is to say, "Where to begin?" know this: decluttering generally builds on itself. Start small, and the momentum that you'll gain as you go from room to room will build on itself as you move through your home.
The best place to start your house-decluttering is in the bathroom. Generally, this is a room that doesn't contain as many sentimental items as other rooms in your home, like photos, knick-knacks, or personal documents, that may distract your from your decluttering project. You're less likely to be attached to items in the bathroom,. Half- full bottles of old medication (how to dispose of you can find on www.fda.gov), stringy washclothes and old makeup probably won't have you reminiscing. So start there, and get an "easy" win before you move on to other rooms in the house.
Get a stock pile of supplies for your clean-out, including garbage bags and a shredder or scissors. If you plan to donate some gently used items, you may also need to have some cardboard boxes on hand. A permenant market and box tape are other items that you may find handy.
Go through one room at a time, and start small. One drawer or one closet at a time. Don't move on to the next room until the room you're working in is complete.
If you're the sentimental type, take pictures of items that you'll be discarding or donating that you're having a hard time parting with. Especially for clothes that you no longer wear, or toys that the kids no longer play with, a picture and the memory of the item will take up a lot less space than the item itself.
If you find yourself wavering over whether or not to keep or purge an item, try to picture yourself moving it. Imagine it's moving day and you're hauling the item out of the moving truck to put in your new space. How do you feel now? When you're truly in doubt, put the item aside in a cardboard box and seal it with the date. Put a deadline on it for two weeks to a year after the move. If the deadline comes and goes, and you haven't opened the box throw it away or donate the items.
Expect that your new life will be very similar to your current life. For instance, if you haven't used the juicer or the foreman grill in your old place, chances are you won't be using them in your new place. Purge it.
Decluttering might not make you automatically feel "free" and easy. Decluttering can be very overwhelming and stressful. After any decluttering session, be sure to reward yourself with a break from it, so that you'll continue to move on to each room until your decluttering project is complete. Come moving day, you'll be glad you did.
Melissa Rolland is a licensed Connecticut realtor. She lives in Tolland, along with her husband Todd, a licensed broker. Together they manage the Rolland Realty Group at Keller Williams Realty. You can connect with them at www.RollandRealtyGroup.com.