How to Declutter and Clean your House Before Moving

January 18, 2022

Stressless about the pre-move purge with these organizational tips.

Moving is a great opportunity to organize your belongings and access what is important and what you can do without. Before you can relocate and start anew, you’ll have to pack up and deep clean your current residents. 

 For most, going through your belongings and discarding unnecessary or no longer used items can be a daunting task. But decluttering and cleaning don’t have to be the most stressful part of your move.

Stressing out about cleaning house? Here are some decluttering tips to help your move go smoother.

Living Room

A person’s living room typically presents their second-largest collection of personal items behind their bedroom. For that reason, it can be the hardest to declutter.

 Furniture typically presents the toughest logistical challenge. When you begin planning your move, you should take inventory of what furniture items are coming with you and which need to be sold or tossed. This will help you determine the size of the truck you need and/or if you need to make multiple trips.

Shelves are a source of heavier items such as books, trinkets, and memorabilia that can be more difficult to parse. Items that have little personal significance should be discarded. Books can also be donated to schools, libraries, or prisons. 


The first thing you’re going to want to do is to go through the fridge and throw out all perishable items. After the fridge is bare, scrub it with soap. Then move on to the cabinets. Take all of the open and perishable food (fruits, expired or close to expired canned goods, etc.) out and throw them away. Boxed and canned goods that remain unopened can be packed and moved. Be sure to dust and wipe down the cabinets after you finish.

Depending on your cooking affinity, appliances can be some of the heavier and space-costly items in a move. They can also be some of the dirtiest. Be sure to clean out your microwave, coffee maker, and other kitchen appliances before packing them away. If they look beaten or have gone unused for long periods of time, maybe now is the time to throw them away.

Items like burnt pans and old Tupperware can also be thrown out. The boxes will be lighter, and you can always upgrade after you get to your new home. Utensils such as forks, spoons, and knives are easily packaged or replaced, so the decision to keep should come down to wear and tear. 


Bedrooms usually contain our most cherished items and oftentimes items we overvalue. But you’re going to have to clean everything out in order to start anew.

Old documents should be organized into items you absolutely need and those you don’t. Documents you don’t need can be shredded or tossed. Make sure you know where important documents such as birth certificates and social security cards are stored and label that box accordingly. 

Old clothes can be donated if they are in wearable condition or thrown out if they’ve exceeded their lifespan.


The bathroom is another place where most of the items can be tossed— old rags and towels, shower curtains and mats, open toilettes. If these items are newer or in good condition, they can be packed away, but these items are also easily replaced, and you might also want to start fresh with decorations in your new bathroom.

 You’re also going to want to do a deep clean of your tub, sink, toilet, and floors (especially if you have tile). Be sure to bleach everything that is supposed to be white.


The thought of cleaning out your attic or basement can be triggering for those who have anxiety in choosing which personal items are essential and which can be tossed. The very nature of these spaces is to store and forget. But in order to have an effective move, you’re going to have to dedicate time and patience to go through these rooms item-by-item and figure out what is coming with you and what’s staying behind.


The backyard is another place in the house where clutter can amass for years without being properly addressed. This includes old furniture, decorations, pool toys, and other miscellaneous items.

Any furniture that is worn or cracked/broken can be thrown out. Attempting to move cracked plastic is a recipe for disaster. Get rid of any lawn decorations that are worn, or you have outgrown, especially fragile items that are difficult to transfer.

A shed is a place where a lot of heavier items are stored. Tools that are space-efficient can go on the moving truck on top or on the side of furniture. Rusted, worn, and unused tools can be thrown out.

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