Getting ready to move to a new house? That’s AWESOME! Congratulations!
Wait, you aren’t thrilled? Are you feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin?
Hey, that’s normal. An impending move is more than just a change of address. It can be the beginning of a new life; an opportunity to enjoy surroundings that are better suited to who you are now, not who you were when you moved into your current home.
It’s easy to fall into “ruts,” regarding maintaining a particular identity, a certain reputation, a way we see ourselves—or others see us. A significant life change, like a big physical move, can be a perfect opportunity to let our exteriors catch up with the growth we have experienced on the inside!
If you look around your current home and consider what no longer “fits” your life, you can eliminate quite a bit before you even start packing!
For example, the futon you bought for your college apartment probably doesn’t fit your current professional image. Perhaps the furniture purchased for your children stayed behind when they left home, but doesn’t match this phase of your life. Or, you may have hand-me-down furniture from family members that never really was your style, but it was free, and you kept it.
You’ve reached a new stage of life.
Big Decisions First
Now is the time to unburden yourself! Grab a pack of brightly-colored sticky notes and begin color-coding the largest items in your home—your furniture. Work through one room at a time, placing sticky notes according to a color scheme. For example:
- Hot Pink: I never liked it, only liked it when I needed it, or I am so “over” this thing. (Donate or sell immediately)
- Neon Green: I love it, and I’m keeping it forever because it’s perfect! (Move with me)
- Bright Yellow – It’s okay, but not amazing. Or, it’s not going to fit in the new place (wrong size, wrong style, etc.). (Consider options, including offering it to family members, donating, or selling)
Eliminate the Pink Items
Take excellent photos of any pink-tagged items you plan to sell. Then, move them to the garage, a storage unit, or one room you have emptied for this purpose. The idea is to get them out of your way.
If you plan to donate these items, arrange to have them picked up by a charity or schedule a time to get help delivering them to a donation center.
If you don’t have a way to move large items and the charity won’t pick them up, advertise them as free on social media sites (Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, etc.), and people will come to take them away for you!
If you plan to list them for sale, use the same social media sites or your local paper to post photos, prices, and contact information.
In some areas, it may also be helpful to print off flyers and post them on community bulletin boards at local grocery stores, superstores, and other locations. Or, you might advertise them during a “swap-shop” show on local radio, if a local AM station offers such programs.
Determine Placement for the Green Items
If you love an item and never want to let it go, now is the time to take measurements and make sure it will fit where you want to use it in your new home.
Create a to-scale floor plan of the new house on grid paper. Usually, quarter-inch quadrille ruled paper where each box represents one or two feet will work.
Then, measure and cut out the footprint of the furniture items you love on another piece of quadrille ruled paper, label each item, and place them on the floorplan. Play with placement until you find the best arrangement.
There are also numerous apps for arranging furniture in rooms. Check out Amikasa(link is external) (iOS and Windows), Home Design 3D(link is external) (iOS and Windows), Rooms(link is external) (iOS), Room Creator(link is external) (Android), and others.
If you can’t find a place for one of your beloved items, consider other options—giving it to a friend, a family member, to an auction or a sale site, or into storage. (Try to avoid using storage services, unless you really want another monthly bill for items you don’t plan to use.)
The Yellow Items
Once you have placed all your green, top-priority items, you may decide that you don’t need some, or all, of the questionable yellow items. Try adding the things you may want to keep to your floor plan.
Remember three things while doing this:
- Do not crowd your new home with unnecessary stuff
- Open space in a home provides a feeling of luxury
- Things you wouldn’t purchase again probably aren’t worth keeping
How to Handle Smaller Items
Once you’ve dealt with all the large items, it’s time to do the same thing for everything else in your home. Go from room to room, emptying each cabinet, drawer, shelf, and closet. Attack only one room at a time.
The easiest way to make decisions is to start with the items you can’t live without. These are the things you use every day, bring you joy, or you would purchase again if lost or broken.
Put these items back into the cabinets, drawers, shelves, and closets, making sure they are neat and organized as they are returned. Now, take the rest of the items littering the room and box them up to sell or donate. Move them to your out-of-sight storage area.
Ideally, you want to go through everything well ahead of your moving date, so you have time to live with your new, pared down possessions. See if you miss anything that’s boxed up.
If you don’t, rid yourself of those boxes full of items you no longer need or really want. Plan to pack only the things you decided to keep.
An impending move is more than an opportunity to enjoy a new space or create a new home; it’s a chance to lighten your load and remake your environment to match your new life in your new space!