Saving Your Sanity before Moving

organized move


Moving is at the top of stressful transitions in life.  With a little time and effort, you can make it easier and save your sanity with some preparation for your move.  These steps include recycling, decluttering, and re-organizing.

Start with easy steps

It might be surprising how much trash and recycling is in your home. Start with this low level of decision-making. If it is paper, cardboard boxes, or plastic recycling, find local resources to recycle this. It might take a few trips to the curb or the recycling center. There are a lot of electronics to recycle in our homes. Those are older computers and devices. Ask your local Facebook group to find a trusted resource to take photos off of old computers and then recycle these. If you can power up your devices, back up to the iCloud or Dropbox and then sell or recycle your devices.  Start early with this step as this is a little more time-consuming than you might imagine.



You can save a lot of money and stress by decluttering room by room. Start in any space and go around the room letting go of what you have not used and what you don’t love.  It is likely you will not use it in your new space if you have not used it in the existing home. Decor changes and your previous colors and design would hold you back from loving your new space. If you are downsizing, use a rule of thumb of percentage of space to percentage of belongings. Donating is the easiest way to downsize. You can call a local philanthropy to pick up your donations. Begin this step 2 -3 months out or as soon as you talk to realtors about your home sale.


Closets and kitchens are especially important to declutter. Potential buyers like to see these areas more spacious. A decluttered closet or kitchen invites potential buyers.



Moves are easier when items are organized. During busy times, stuff gets put wherever, stuff gets scattered, and there is a lot of disorder in your home. You want to get together what goes together. That way you can pack like items together. As a family, re-organize stuff to get items back to the rooms they belong. Keep this momentum going throughout the moving process with a weekly reset each weekend.

Once you see stuff together again, take a good look at your categories. If you see an overabundance of one category, you can take another pass at decluttering.

What about all the papers that you have not had time to process? Keep these for later and do not re-organize. For the mail and documents that are more than a month old, keep these in boxes labeled by month and/or year to go through later. Most likely these will be easy to toss or shred once you have moved.


No matter how little time you have before you pack and move, it is well worth an investment of a short time block to recycling, declutter and re-organize. During your move, you will be so happy you did!



4 replies
  1. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    Working my way through this process with a client right now. It’s extra complicated because they are getting a divorce, neither has their next place lined up, and the husband has early onset Alzheimer’s. Talk about challenging. My parting words today were to remind the wife to drink some water and get some food. It can be easy to forget that moving is a marathon, not a sprint!

    Having a charity to pickup has been a major benefit!

  2. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    More and more moves are getting more complicated. I am sure that clients are very happy you are a part of the process.

  3. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    Moving is stressful for most people. But it’s also an opportunity to clear, declutter, and reassess. I love all of the steps you suggested for minimizing the stress. And remembering that the less we have, the easier it will be to pack, unpack, and stay organized.

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