5 Ways to Declutter for a Move When You Don’t Have Time


Decluttering for a move is essential to make your move go smoothly.
Declutter for a move…sure, you know it’s a good idea, but there’s so much to do along with a shortage of time! Let’s face it, moving can be stressful.

Mayhap you’re a military spouse or working mother facing a move. Mixed emotions can deplete your energy and enthusiasm. The sheer amount of stuff you have has you feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to start.

DECLUTTERING – the place to start

There’s nothing worse than boxing up all the piddly stuff then taking it to your new home only to realize ⅔’s of it you don’t love or use! You only kept it because you didn’t know what to do with it. 

That’s a lot of expensive real estate in your new home (or storage unit) when you drag past clutter with you!

You’ll make the actual move, along with unpacking/new home set-up, easier if you first declutter for a move. Use these 5 ways and you’ll breeze through.

Declutter for a move roadmap

1. Mindset – Practice the REFRAME technique

Louise Hay says, “It’s only a thought, and a thought can be changed.”

Focus on the positives for your move.

Declutter your mind by observing your thoughts. Switch negative thoughts to positive motivating thoughts.

Procrastination will melt away, along with a dumpster of weighty clutter.

Example: Anxiety Thought: I should go through all the clothes and donate some of them, but I don’t have time.”

REFRAME:I choose to go through one drawer of clothes for 10 minutes and donate 5 items. I’ll be giving new life to those less fortunate and making room for our new life. This is exciting!”

2. Baby Step it!

I don’t know about you, but when I plow ahead, determined to change something about my life or self, I start out strong at 7am! Only to lose momentum by 11.

Start with baby steps and short blocks of time, even 10 minutes. You’ll make better progress if you choose to empty one bookshelf instead of the entire bookcase.

Start a donation box and resolve to fill it, coming back to it with each daily declutter.

3. Limit your decisions

Make one decision: Keep or Get Rid Of

To Let go of things, ask yourself:

  • Who do we want to be in our new home?
  • Do I want to unpack this again?

Declutter Actions:

  • Take a photo of nostalgic items and let go of the item itself
  • Declutter 10 things a day
  • Put Donations in your car – drop off on your next errand run
  • Find boxes that you never unpacked from your last move? Out they go
  • List to Sell items on:

3. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

It’s tempting to dump a drawer of small stuff into a box or bag, delaying the sorting for when you are at the new house.

Instead, I recommend making a commitment to let go of as much of the piddly stuff as you can. What you keep, sort into snack/sandwich size plastic zip bags. At your new home, you’ll only need to unpack and assign homes for small pieces.

  • Put furniture hardware in a labeled plastic zip bag – tape to furniture
  • Set a timer and race through a declutter session
  • Don’t get lost in the details

5. Engage Help

  • Get your spouse, kids, family and friends decluttering/packing
  • Lineup playdates so you’re kid-free to focus on the move
  • Hire a professional organizer, like me, for an stress-free move

When I work with clients on a move, I give the big picture strategy, so they can focus on important decisions. I work on client moves in-person and via Skype. I support them step-by-step helping with the entire move start to finish.

You may think, “But I can’t afford to hire a professional to help for my move. I’ll just do it myself.”

Guess what? The money you’ll save from not having to shell out for a storage unit, hire for last minute concerns or pay in emotional stress is mind boggling!

My biggest tip for undertaking a move –

Don’t do it alone!

Your turn! Share your best tip to declutter for a move. 


I’m a mindset focused professional organizer. I help entrepreneurs, busy moms and attorney clients simplify their papers and spaces. Learn about my proven system: 1:1 VIP Coaching – Jumpstart to a More Organized You!