Thankfully, the picture above is not of my own house but rather one of my favorite bookstores because books are heavy to move. In chatting with a handful of my blogging pals on Twitter over the last few weeks, I’ve come to the realization that a good number of us will be moving soon. If you’ve read my post sharing tips for moving in your twenties, then you know just how much I love this process (yes, that is sarcasm you’ve detected). As I am also going to be moving soon, I thought I’d write down and share my process for clearing out my
junk stuff with you.
The first thing I’m going to tell you, I bet you can guess it. Start early. The entire process that I’m about to describe is essentially an extended cleaning process. For reference, I’ve been getting rid of things here and there since about February, mostly because I thought that we’d be moving much sooner. That being said, there is zero shame in getting started now – it’s about intentionality.
Two more general tips before I break down this process room by room. (1) Similar to how we have the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” engrained into our brains, it’s time to make “use up, consolidate, rehome” your new mantra. (2) At the very start, take a glance around each room and pull out the items that stick out to you right away as being covered in dust, empty, unused or expired. Get rid of the “easy” stuff first.
Now, let’s go room by room.
The kitchen, my favorite place in the house. I’m going to be talking about two specific areas within the kitchen: cupboards and the fridge.
When I go through my cupboards, I use it as an opportunity to see what spices, dry and canned goods I can use in new recipes. That being said, they can easily become homes for three bottles of the same spicy or way too many cans of pumpkin puree. The first thing you want to do as you look into the face of your cupboard is see what you have multiples of. If you have multiple containers of the same item open (like three bottles of chili powder or two bottles of vegetable oil) see if you can consolidate them into one container and pitch the empty ones. If you have one open container and another unopened back up, ask yourself if you will really need the unopened one. If you’re slow to come up with an answer or blatantly say ‘no’ then see if you can give the item to a friend or donate it to a local food pantry.
This next thing I do every single time I go to my parents’ house: find the matching food storage container and lid. If you have a container and no lid or vice versa, don’t think twice about it as you toss the lone wolf into a pile to be recycled.
It’s time to check for expiration dates! If anything is well-past its expiration date (at least three weeks) and/or is moldy and/or doesn’t smell right, chuck it. It’s taking up space in the fridge and is just gross. For the remaining food you have in the fridge, the same principle from earlier applies: if you will use it, keep it. If not, give it to a friend or a food pantry if unopened. If you have any produce, this is when you want to use those newly matched food storage containers by prepping your produce. Prepping your produce not only extends the life of your produce, but keeps your fridge clean (hello, security deposit!).
We’re going to continue this process in the bathroom by using a similar process we used in the kitchen. First, go through all products you have lying around that are empty, don’t smell right or have mold in or on them. We do this first to get the easy stuff out of the way.
Similarly, go through the medications you have. Has anything expired? Did one medication not work for you? Medications are slightly different in that you cannot simply throw away all of the ones you don’t use, want or need – some need to be disposed of properly (even expired ones). Here is an online resource I’ve found that lists out how to dispose of some medications. If you have any doubts or the medication you want to get rid of is not listed, contact your doctor or local pharmacist.
Now look at the remaining products you have and decide which you are willing to part ways with. Are any unopened or have only been used a handful of times? If any products are unopened and can be returned, GET YOUR MONEY BACK! If you are unable to return unopened products or product samples, donate them to your local women’s shelter. For products that you have used only a handful of times, I recommend reaching out to your friends and family to see if they would like any of those products.
Last, but not least, the bedroom. I’m going to touch on a few different types of items you may have in your bedroom – this is not by any means an extensive list. As you’re going through the items you have in your bedroom, adapt the guidelines I’ve included above to best suit those particular items.
Books are bulky and heavy. In this move, I will be bringing about four books from this apartment to our new place. What am I doing with the rest of the books? I took all of my books out and put them on the floor. I picked up the books that I absolutely loved and would probably read again – this is my four. The other five books I was fine either giving to a friend, donating or selling. I have had luck exchanging some books through this website called Paperbackswap. For every book you list that you are willing to exchange you get a credit. Each credit is good to get a new book – you also get extra credits when you follow through with an exchange. You can sign up here using my referral link.
If you have a bunch of textbooks that you want to get rid of, you can try selling them to Chegg. I’ve had the best luck with Chegg and I love that they send you a shipping label. If Chegg isn’t accepting the textbook you’d like to sell, check local Facebook groups for students who may be looking for used, discounted textbooks.
If you’re left with a few books after exhausting those resources and your friends and family, I recommend donating them to a used book store or thrift shop.
My general rule of thumb with clothes is that if I have not worn an item in the last 6 months and don’t intend to wear it in the next 2 weeks, I don’t need it. If the item is in good condition, I try to sell it locally through Facebook groups – search *Your Town* Closet Exchange or Closet Recycle, at least one group will pop up. I also have had luck selling to my local Plato’s closet. The key to selling items at Plato’s is that items have to be in season. If you’re trying to sell a gently worn parka in March, Plato’s is not the place to sell it because their customers will be coming in to buy capris and other springtime clothing. The same goes for shoes.
I also recommend donating gently used items to your local thrift store – if nothing else, at least those items will be out of your hair and you don’t have to move with them.
If you’re a sentimental hoarder like myself, then you need to check out my post on purging sentimental clutter. In that post, I go in-depth on how to decipher what sentimental things I recommend keeping as well as ways you can preserve these items.
Like I’ve said repeatedly throughout this post, this is an ongoing process. Once you start to use up, give away and consolidate items, I recommend revisiting each area at least once a week to keep this process moving forward.
How do you prepare for a big move?