Tips & Guides / Moving Guides

What to Get Rid of When Moving

By Bri Hand | Mar 21, 2022
Woman takes down picture from off the wall while packing up and moving.

Are you gearing up for a big move? If so, you’ve probably been making a lot of decisions lately, from choosing a new apartment to picking a moving company. After you gather your cardboard boxes and collect your arsenal of packing tape, one last decision remains—what stays and what goes?

A good rule of thumb when thinking of how to declutter your home is to toss or donate the items that no longer serve you, whether it’s a broken wicker chair or an old sweatshirt that’s still stained with paint splatter from your last move. 

Of course, getting rid of your possessions with sentimental value is never easy. Luckily, this guide will walk you through the basics to help you determine what to get rid of when moving, including:

  • How to get started on the decluttering process
  • How to declutter before a move
  • Decluttering the kitchen
  • Decluttering the living room
  • Decluttering the bedroom
  • Decluttering the bathroom
  • Decluttering other areas

Let’s get started! 

How to get started on the decluttering process

When moving, preparation is key. When deciding how to declutter your home before a move, it’s essential to stay organized and come in with a game plan. That said, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of unwanted household items since your last move, and confronting all of it can be overwhelming as your moving day comes closer. 

So, where do you even begin to declutter before moving to your new place? Here are some tips on how to get started:

  • Make a decluttering plan: You’ll feel better (and work better) if you have a visible, actionable plan for getting through the project. Chart a course through your apartment, room by room. Don’t try to do it all at once, give yourself enough time so that you aren’t scrambling at the last minute. Instead, section off one room and don’t leave until it’s finished. Create three piles—keep, donate, and throw away—then get to work!
  • Know where to go: Decide in advance where you’re going to take donation items and trash items. You could either donate certain items to a charitable organization, drop them off at a thrift store, or check with your garbage collection services for rules about what they will and won’t pick up. If you want to make little money and have the time, you could even host a yard sale or garage sale.
  • Avoid sentimentality: Do your best to keep your feelings in check. That pink blow-up saxophone you got for free may remind you of your first outing in the city, but does it need to come with you to the next one? However, certain sentimental items are worth keeping, even if you don’t use them on a daily basis, such as family heirlooms, important mementos, or treasured books. When parsing through your belongings, channel the KonMari Method developed by decluttering expert Marie Kondo—that is, only keep the things that bring you joy (hey, maybe the saxophone stays after all!). 

It can also be helpful to perform a preliminary purge of things that are broken or not working, things you no longer use, and items you’re already planning on throwing out. It’ll just save you time in the long run and free your home of unnecessary clutter. 

How to declutter before a move 

Now that you’ve done some prep work, the real work begins. 

It’s understandable if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed right about now. Your preliminary inspection likely revealed just how much stuff you need to sort through—and how much work lies ahead to make your home clutter-free.

But fear not! Figuring out what to keep and what to get rid of before a move is easier than it seems. The best way to do it is to take a deep breath and take it one room at a time. Here’s what to look out for in each room: 

Pro tip: While you’re getting rid of things, go ahead and start packing up the stuff you decide to keep but won’t need in the meantime, such as decorative pillows, books, and small wall hangings. It’ll make your move a lot easier if you can keep packing as you go.

Decluttering the kitchen 

Although the kitchen is often described as the heart of any home, it’s also one of the places that become a primary receptacle of all our daily refuse. Everything from junk mail to takeout soy sauce packets gets abandoned—and often forgotten—in the kitchen’s void. 

And that’s not even including the things that actually belong in the kitchen, such as pots and pans, tableware, utensils, and those handy cooking gadgets that make Friday dinners go off without a hitch. 

When you finally get rid of items in your kitchen pre-move, consider donating or disposing of the following before moving:

  • Old or surplus dishes: Plates, bowls, drinking glasses, and coffee mugs are heavy and difficult to transport safely, so think about how many you really need. Check each one for cracks, chips, and other damage, and keep only the ones that are in good condition. This is also a good time to get rid of any mismatched dishes.
  • Old pots, pans, and other cookware: From mangled, rusted cookie trays to ancient skillets stained from use, there’s a lot that’s probably surpassed its use-by date. Into the garbage they go! 
  • Small appliances: Take stock of your small appliances, such as microwaves, toasters, juicers, and food processors. These appliances might lack the heft of a refrigerator, but they still take up space. If you haven’t used it in the past six months to a year, consider donating the old appliances a friend or family member who will.
  • Items in your junk drawer: Junk drawers are ubiquitous in kitchens far and wide, but junk probably isn’t something you need to take with you. Declutter your drawer by getting rid of things like old batteries, loose slips of paper, dried-out pens, and condiment packets We promise your new city will have ketchup, too. 
  • Items under the sink: If you’re like most people, the space under your kitchen sink is probably crammed with unwanted items like old cleaning supplies and a growing collection of shopping bags—in short, stuff you don’t need. Now’s the time to gather your largest garbage bag and start dumping anything unneeded.
  • Old food: Raid your refrigerator and cabinets for expired food, nearly finished condiment bottles, and old takeout containers. If you’re moving long-distance, it’s probably a good idea to get rid of most of your food items. If you’re moving locally, there may be things worth packing up and taking with you.

Decluttering the living room 

The living room is another place that can tend to get cluttered fairly quickly. The good news is that most common living room clutter is stuff you should have no problem tossing in the garbage before moving, such as:

  • Old magazines or newspapers
  • Junk mail
  • Burned-down candles
  • Damaged picture frames
  • Old curtains
  • Busted lamps
  • Old knick-knacks and decor
  • Outdated or old media, like CDs and DVDs

You should also assess the condition of your furniture. It might be time to replace the sofa you’ve had since college or that wobbly coffee table that no amount of tightening will fix.

If you’re moving long-distance, you should be especially ruthless when it comes to your old furniture. Why bother moving large items to your new home across the country if they’ll need to be replaced in a few years, anyway? 

A move is also a great time to redesign your living spaces. If your old space is mid-century chic but you’re looking to reinvent your new home with a bohemian flair, be especially choosy when deciding which belongings stay and go. Your wooden bookcase may fit in your new space, but your stark-black leather lounge chair might need to find a new home.

Decluttering the bedroom

There are a lot of places in the bedroom that end up doubling as storage for most of us, from the back of the closet to the space under the bed. You might be surprised what you unearth once you start digging.

As such, when decluttering the bedroom before moving, start with your closet. Get rid of:

  • Old clothes, coats, and shoes: If they don’t fit, are in poor condition, or you haven’t worn them at least three times in the past year, sayonara
  • Special occasion attire: Check in on those tuxedos, suits, and dresses you only wear on special occasions. Do they still fit? Are they still in wearable condition? If not, think about letting them go by donating them or even selling them on Poshmark.
  • Odds and ends: It’s hard to say what’s buried in the deepest depths of your bedroom closet, but there’s a good chance that whatever the belonging is, you can throw it out. Empty shoe boxes, old hats, defunct humidifiers, and busted sleep machines are just some examples.

Next, go through your dresser drawers. Old underwear and T-shirts, torn socks, and worn-out sweats you haven’t worn in a long time are easy and inexpensive to replace. 

For long-distance moves, think about how attached you are to your bedroom furniture. The bed frame might be worth hanging on to, but if you’re thinking about a new mattress in the near future, now’s a good time to ditch the old one. 

Decluttering the bathroom

Not everything in your old bathroom has a place in your new one. From the medicine cabinet to underneath the sink, here’s what to pitch so you have fewer items when moving:

  • Empty shampoo and conditioner bottles 
  • Old toothbrushes
  • Empty or nearly toothpaste tubes
  • Medications past their expiration date
  • Old makeup
  • Empty or nearly empty cleaning products
  • Old razors
  • Old towels, rags, and sponges

What about your shower curtain and bathmat? If they’ve seen a lot of use, it might be worth tossing them out and starting with a fresh set.

Decluttering other areas of your apartment 

There may be many places in your current apartment that could use a little decluttering before your big move. Maybe you have an entry or hall closet you can purge of things like broken umbrellas, old snow boots, or distressed linens. 

If you have an office, you can get rid of old papers, equipment that doesn’t work, or even books you don’t need anymore. 

Whatever it is, just remember that a little practicality goes a long way. If it was clutter in your old space, it’ll be clutter in your new one. 

Looking for advice on how to clean your apartment before you move out? Check out our moving-out cleaning checklist here.

Choose Landing for a hassle-free move

When you eliminate all the clutter involved in renting an apartment—such as complicated application processes, sky-high security deposits, and rigid leases—you’re left with one of life’s most exciting events: the thrill of exploring a new city and making it home.

With Landing’s network of furnished apartments, you can ditch the rental red tape and find an apartment you love. Our fully furnished apartments make your moving-day decisions that much easier, and you’ll have access to flexible, short-term leases, concierge services, and seamless in-network transfers when you’re ready to do it all again. Landing is moving made easy—browse our apartments today!

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.