Getting Rid of Junk: 3 Things You Should Recycle, Donate, or Give Away Before You Move

People move all the time — to the tune of 11 or 12 times in a person’s life on average.

And if you’re experiencing one of those upheavals of person and possessions, whether it’s your first time or your fifteenth, you know how intimidating a house full of stuff and a stack of empty boxes can be.

You can try to jam every t-shirt, bowl, and tube of toothpaste into cubes of cardboard, but sometimes you just have to face it — getting rid of unnecessary stuff is a whole lot easier than carrying it to your next space. So pull out your industrial-strength trash bags and ask Siri for the location of your nearest donation station; it’s time to do a purge.

Getting Rid of Junk: The Beginner’s Guide

As Marie Kondo famously says (and seriously, if you haven’t watched that Netflix show… do), “Does it spark joy?” Some stuff we collect just takes up space, in the end. Here are a few things to get rid of while you’re packing up.

1. The Books Taking Up Space on Your Shelves

Moving is the ideal time to reduce your stuff and clear things out. Since boxes of books will probably be some of the heaviest items in your move, it is particularly essential to clean out and purge your bookcases as you pack up. You will be happy that you did.

But purging books from your collection is sometimes easier said than done. Some people have an attachment to their books, and it can feel like giving away a part of yourself.

Pick up each book and ask:

  • Has this book had a profound impact on me?
  • Is this a book I’ll read again?
  • Can I get this book from a library, or is this particular copy important?

Let go of the books that don’t have special meaning or are rare finds. Donate them to others so they will have a chance to enjoy them.

2. Old Papers and Notebooks

Another thing taking up lots of space in your house is no doubt paper. Get organized by sorting through and eliminating the paper you don’t need and filing the rest.

Gather together all the paper stacks in your home, including instruction manuals, junk mail, menus, and flyers. Sort the paper stacks into three piles: Scan, save or recycle.

Place essential documents like tax returns, leases, medical records, insurance papers, and legal documents into a pile to be saved. Scan those that can be scanned onto your computer to create digital files. And, create file folders for those of which you need to maintain hard copies.  

Save any sentimental cards or unique photos you can’t bear to part with, then recycle everything else.

Shred all papers that have your personal information on them such as your social security number, address, phone number, or bank account number to protect your privacy.

Recycle your stacks of newspapers and magazines.

3. Clothes You Don’t Wear

Purge your closet before you move to free up space. It will be good to arrive in your new home and only have to unpack clothes you use and need.

Again, go through each item in your closet and drawers and make two piles, one to keep and another to donate or sell. Moving is a great time to eliminate things you have outgrown, that are out of style, or you are simply tired of wearing.

Out With the Old and in With the New!

Even if getting rid of your unused stuff makes you a little sad, think of the silver lining: every outfit you donate or book you sell gives someone else the chance to appreciate your gently used items. In the end, the clutter cleared from your space will provide you with a fresh start in your new home.

If you’re still stuck in the midst of a packing dilemma, it might be time to give the professionals a call. Contact us if you need help packing, moving.