In the self-storage industry, it isn’t uncommon for our certified storage consultants to talk with people who are moving out of a home they’ve lived in for decades. That’s a long time to be in one place! And what does that typically mean? That’s also a long time to accumulate lots of “stuff.”
For most people making this big move, it often means downsizing. In turn, downsizing means decluttering. That’s much easier said than done, though, so we compiled these 5 amazing and simple tips to help make the process as smooth as possible.
1. Be ready for the memories!
Decluttering is much more than just sorting things. Often objects bring back powerful memories, and if you’re working with someone it’s easy to get sidetracked and start re-telling those stories. Allow yourself the extra time to enjoy those moments, especially if you’re working with family and close friends. (A suggestion learned from personal experience: Pick up a mini tape-recorder and record these stories so you and future generations can listen to them later.)
2. Remember you have other things to do, too.
Let’s be honest: You are not going to declutter your entire home in one day or even one weekend. Instead, write out a game plan and pick one area to declutter at a time. If you have a busy day or week ahead, then pick a space that won’t be overwhelming. For example, a hall closet is much faster to sort than the home office.
3. Know where your things are ultimately going to go.
Don’t start sorting until you know who/what/where an item will go. Have boxes pre-labeled for their destination: “Storage,” “Son/Daughter,” “Donation,” etc. This will help avoid a huge pile of, “I don’t know!” items, as that will just create more stress later.
4. Long-distance moves present a whole other set of challenges.
If you’re in this boat, then consider letting go of things you could easily and affordably buy again in your new location. Check with local homeless shelters/halfway houses to see if you can donate cleaning supplies, mops/brooms, extra linens, and towels, etc. Donate canned goods and non-perishable foods (they’re often bulky and heavy) to your local food bank.
5. Paper clutter can be overwhelming.
Bank statements, receipts, kids’ artwork, and even appliance manuals are sneaky and pile up in a hurry. Talk with your accountant to decide which financial documents and receipts to keep, and then purge the rest. (Remember our Guardian Storage stores frequently offer free shredding events to contact us for details!) Most appliance manuals are also online, so look those up and bookmark the page. That way you can still access the information should you ever need it. Kids’ artwork can be hard to throw away, we know, so make it electronic, too. Scan your favorite drawings and handmade cards, and then have them made into a digital scrapbook or photo book.