LightenYour Load Beofre

If you’re about to move, your time is precious. You don’t want to waste it packing things you won’t even use in your new home. Here are a few tips for how to lighten your load before moving day:

lighten your load set timeSet Aside Time

It’s difficult to find time for things we want to do, let alone things we don’t want to do. However, clearing your home of unnecessary items is something you’ll have to actively make time for. Luckily, the times you choose are completely up to you. Maybe you’d like to take 30 minutes
each day for awhile (depending on how much clutter you have), or maybe you want to tackle it all at once. Whichever route you take, stick with it and don’t make excuses. You may have to record your favorite show and watch it later, or skip happy hour this week with your friends—but it’ll be well worth it.

A few motivational tips:

1. Dive right in. Whether you’re planning to remove clutter first thing in the morning, or when you get home from work, start right away. If you’re anything like me, the first thing you want to do after work is kick back with an iced tea and a movie. Don’t let yourself do it before you accomplish your task for that day. Once you sit down, you won’t get back up!

2. Play some tunes. Whenever I take on any sort of cleaning or organizing job, music is essential. I work well with upbeat tempos playing throughout the house because it gets my energy level up. Listen to whatever motivates you to get the job done—classical, rock, pop or even meditative recordings. It doesn’t necessarily have to be music.

3. Pick your reward. While you’re busy clearing out your unwanted items, think of a way to reward yourself afterward. It may be that movie and iced tea, or something totally different. Choose something that will push you through organizing all that clutter.

lighten your load 6 monthFollow the 6-Month Rule

Some of us have trouble letting go of sentimental items, or ones we’ve convinced ourselves we’ll need one day. Unfortunately, this causes us to have quite a bit of junk around the house. When you’re cleaning out your home, ask yourself if you’ve used each item within the past 6 months. No? Throw it out. Of course, there are annual items such as holiday decorations. But ask yourself if you’ve even used them within the past couple of years. If not, it’s probably time to give them the boot.

Tip: Be honest with yourself when deciding what you will and won’t use. Getting rid of all these items could mean a smaller moving truck or trailer for your move.  It’s not easy, but it’s the best way to lighten your load.

Lighten Your Load donateDonate

It often feels wasteful to throw away masses of items that are still in good shape. Donating things like clothes, books and toys is a great way to get them out of your home. You may no longer need them, but someone else does. Once you know your belongings are being put to use, it’ll be easier to let them go. Some items you may want to donate before a move are:

  • Electronics (gaming devices, TVs, computers)
  • Movies
  • Mattresses
  • Furniture
  • Bicycles
  • Blankets
  • Stuffed animals

Lighten Your Load BreakGive Yourself a Break

The 6-month rule can be awfully scary for those sentimentalists out there. While you should do your absolute best to stick to it, don’t be too hard on yourself. Allow yourself a couple of cheat items—things that have absolutely no use but are important to you emotionally.

Whether it’s a trinket your spouse gave you on the first date, or an old family heirloom, go ahead and hold on to it. If you go cold turkey, you might give up on the entire process altogether.  However, be sure these items don’t become a collection.

Lighten Your Load Keep it upKeep it Up

Once we toss that last box of junk out of our homes, we always say the same thing: “I’ll never let things get this way again.” However, we don’t always follow through. Once you get settled in your new abode:

1. Look around. Take in the hard work you’ve done to achieve a less-cluttered living space. Remember
how much time you put into lightening your load, and you hopefully won’t let it happen again.

2. Decide on a schedule. Make a mental note of how frequently you’ll be cleaning out your new home. Be realistic with your schedule and pick a time you’ll actually want.

3. Follow through. You guessed it—this is both the hardest and most important step. Think of it this way: it’s far easier to get rid of small amounts of clutter more frequently, than to take it all on after it’s built up for years. You’ll never have to work as hard as you did before your move if you just do a weekly or monthly walk-through.

Do you have any tips for lightening your load before a move?  Share them in the comments section!

(flickr: Mark Wallace/via cc)

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