Kiplinger Today

Kip Tips

5 Steps to Organize or Get Rid of Your Stuff Before You Move

Pat Mertz Esswein

Deciding what to keep or chuck can seem overwhelming, but you really don’t want to pay to move or store everything that won’t fit in your new place.

Are your attic, basement, garage, shed, drawers, cupboards and closets chock-full of stuff? Take these steps to cut down your inventory:

See Also: Declutter Your Life

Get organized. Start with the least-used areas of your home, such as the attic or basement, or places such as the garage or garden shed that you’ll no longer have if, say, you move to a condo. Or you could begin with items that have the greatest sentimental value or those you don’t care a whit about. Gather similar things together. That way you can see how much you really have, says Jennifer Lava, a professional organizer in Austin, Tex.

Set up shop. Kay Keesee, a real estate agent in Austin, suggests that you set up a table in your garage and lay out all the stuff from a single room. You can look at everything, identify what you want, invite family and friends to browse, and get rid of any leftovers.

Avoid guilt. Do you have inherited items you think you must keep? Your loved one would probably be okay if you jettisoned an item that isn’t enhancing your life in some way, right? By the same token, don’t force loved ones to take things that are meaningful to you but aren’t to them. If you have items you can’t take with you but want to remember, take photos.

Create a floor plan. Get a floor plan or measure rooms in your new home so you can decide which pieces of furniture will fit and where. Use brown paper or newspaper to create patterns of your furniture to try out in the new space.

Seek help. You can get help with all stages of your transition from a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, a professional organizer or a Senior Move Manager. These experts are often hired by adult children whose parents no longer have the stamina required for a move.

Editor's Picks From Kiplinger

More Sponsored Links


Permission to post your comment is assumed when you submit it. The name you provide will be used to identify your post, and NOT your e-mail address. We reserve the right to excerpt or edit any posted comments for clarity, appropriateness, civility, and relevance to the topic.
View our full privacy policy


Market Update

Featured Videos From Kiplinger