Moving is an incredible opportunity to inventory your belongings. This is especially true if you’re looking to freshen up and declutter your new home. Perhaps you’re inspired by Marie Kondo, you’re moving to a smaller space, or you’re just plain sick of all that stuff. Maybe you’ve inherited a house full of stuff and it’s finally time to go through it.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What to Throw Out Before You Move
- What to Donate Before You Move
- What to Try to Sell Before You Move
- Still Scratching Your Head Unsure of What to Get Rid Of?
Whether you are considering a lifestyle that is minimalist, maximalist, or somewhere in between, it is always a good idea to organize your things and get rid of anything that no longer fits into your life. There is no better time to sort through everything than when you’re packing up your moving boxes.
We’ve come up with a list of ideas of things you might throw away, donate, or sell before you move.
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What to Throw Out Before You Move
Some things are not worth selling or are not in good enough shape to donate. Plus, unfortunately, nobody wants your old photographs or expired medicine! Here’s a list of 15 things to throw away before you move.
1. Old documents
If you have files and files of old documents, it might be time to digitize them and then get to shredding. No matter what organizational type you are, there are endless options available for digitizing and storing documents.
Some documents you’ll want to keep a paper copy of, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, and passports. There are also some medical records you may want to store, but some are safe to get rid of.
2. Cleaning supplies
If you’re nearing the end of a bottle of cleaner, it’s probably time to toss it. You could also use the move as an opportunity to find greener cleaning products that are healthier for you and better for the environment.
Some food you may be able to take with you, but if anything is perishable or expired, it’s time to trash or compost it.
4. Paper products
The good news is that most paper can be recycled or composted. Ask yourself if it is more cost-effective to move your paper products or to dispose of them and buy new ones. You can also use this opportunity to switch from paper to reusable items. For instance, instead of paper towels, try using cloth napkins, dish towels, and rags.
5. Miscellaneous cords
When it comes to cords, the best rule of thumb is that if you can not identify it, it’s time to safely recycle it.
6. Expired medicine
There is nothing you can do with expired medicine except to safely dispose of it and recycle the bottle.
7. Expired cosmetics
Expired cosmetics are bad for your skin and likely ineffective. These cannot be sold or donated, so must be disposed of. It’s a great idea to clean out the containers so that you can recycle them.
8. Storage junk
If you have old mouse traps, cans of pest spray, or any other junk filling the dark corners of your garage or basement, get rid of them. It will feel like such a relief to move without all of that junk you didn’t even know was there!
Most textiles can be recycled (read on for more). However, if you have rags that are so caked with cleaning products that they can’t be washed and recycled, it’s time to throw them away.
Photographs are so important and have real sentimental value. Digitizing then ensures their longevity and also frees up tons of storage space.
Unless you have very expensive alcohol, it’s likely not worth taking any bottles with you. Gift to friends, or pour any leftovers down the drain and recycle the bottles.
12. Shower curtains
If your shower curtains are in absolutely perfect condition, feel free to donate them. More often than not, shower curtains get pretty gross. They typically can not be recycled in your curbside program but may be able to be recycled the same way textiles are. If not, into the trash it goes.
13. Used office supplies and notebooks
Unless you are saving old diaries or journals with sentimental value, recycle to-do lists, shopping lists, or any notebooks you’ve held on to.
14. Anything broken or damaged
Anything that you have that is broken or damaged should be tossed or recycled. This includes scratched DVDs and CDs, unusable furniture, and broken appliances.
Tip: Learn where you can get rid of old furniture for free before you hire junk haulers or movers.
15. Bad habits
We aren’t intending to be cheeky here! You are putting in a lot of work to purge old things, organize your belongings, pack up, and move. Creating new systems in your new home is very freeing. Leave behind any bad habits and systems that no longer serve you.
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What to Donate Before You Move
Donating is a wonderful way to purge what you don’t need and give back to your community. You can donate in your local Buy Nothing Group, to an organization like Good Will, or pass “hand-me-downs” to your friends and family. Here are 15 ideas of things you can donate before you move.
Clothes that are undamaged can be donated. There are many people whose wardrobes consist entirely of secondhand clothing. Not only does donating your clothing help those in need, but it is also great for the environment and sustainability.
The EPA and Council for Textile Recycling estimate that textiles make up 5% of US landfills and that Americans each throw away 70 pounds of textiles per year. There are so many ways to recycle and upcycle textiles to avoid adding to the problem.
Libraries absolutely love when people move and donate their books. Doing so supports community programming and education. Schools and local non-profits also often take book donations.
19. Moving boxes
Giving away your used moving boxes to be reused is extremely environmentally friendly. Some companies will even buy back used moving boxes.
20. Linens and towels
Linens and towels in excellent condition are highly sought-after items for donation.
If you have furniture that’s in decent condition, but not worth much money, donating is a great option. Moving or junking furniture can be very expensive, and there’s likely a family out there that would love your old sectional!
22. Mismatched dishes
If you have extra mismatched dishes lying around, donate them! Unless you have a large family or entertain big groups, you likely don’t need a large number of dishes. A single person or small family would benefit from a mismatched dish or two.
23. Air conditioning and heaters
If you have working air conditioners or heating appliances lying around, they are hot commodities for those who can’t afford these items.
24. Anything you haven’t unpacked since your last move
If you have a box of belongings still in a moving box from your last move, it’s time to pass it along to its next home!
25. Canned food
You likely don’t want to pack your canned goods. If they haven’t expired, cans are a great item to donate to your local food kitchen or bank.
Unless you have extremely valuable art and décor, it’s probably not worth much. However, it might brighten up someone else’s home. Remember, everything you donate is also tax-deductible!
It is very difficult to keep luggage in sellable condition, especially if it is going under the plane. This is a great item to donate to your local Buy Nothing Group or a homeless shelter. A great piece of luggage is a nice and secure way for people to store their belongings, especially if they are transient.
28. Kids’ toys and clothes
If you have family or friends that have younger kids, hand-me-downs are a wonderful gift. If not, there are many children in need who would greatly benefit from toy and clothing donations.
29. DVDs and CDs
Librarians go crazy for donated DVDs and CDs. They aren’t circulating much anymore, and you would be surprised how many people still love heading to the library to borrow them.
30. Old glasses
Donating glasses that you don’t wear anymore can change someone’s life. Poor vision is a problem that affects over a billion people worldwide, many of whom can’t afford glasses. There are many options for donating.
What to Try to Sell Before You Move
Some things are not worth the time and energy it would take to sell, while other things can bring in the big bucks and offset a lot of moving expenses. You might have a yard sale, head to a local thrift or antique store, or try your hand at selling things online. Facebook, eBay, and Mercari are just a few of the many online resellers you could try.
If you have beautiful furniture in good condition, you can often sell it for a good price. This can help offset moving and refurbishing costs.
32. Designer clothing
Designer clothing in like-new condition has a high resale value. The best option to sell is likely online, but you can also take these items to a local consignment shop.
Sometimes even old band t-shirts do fairly well at a local thrift store. You can always try to sell all of the clothes you would like to get rid of, and then donate any that don’t sell.
33. Designer bags, shoes, and other accessories
As with clothing, designer bags don’t lose much of their value. In fact, some designer bags can actually increase in value.
Pieces from brands like Chanel are considered investment pieces that increase in value (as high as 70% or more!) the longer you have them. Designer shoes, scarves, hats, and other accessories are also worth selling or consigning.
Antique pieces can hold a great deal of value. Take these items to an antique shop for an appraisal and either sell them directly to the shop, online, or at your yard sale if you’re planning one.
You can sell old apple products to apple for store credit, or you can try your luck on eBay or other online retailers. TVs, speakers, and other electronics often do well at yard sales and on Facebook Marketplace.
Make sure everything you are selling is in working condition. If you have electronics that are not functioning, you can responsibly recycle them.
Your heirloom and fine jewelry might be quite valuable. It is a good idea to take the jewelry you are interested in selling to a trustworthy appraiser. You can sell online, to a local jeweler, or even at a pawn shop. If you have fashion-forward costume jewelry, try selling it to your local thrift store.
37. Baby gear
It is no secret that having a baby is expensive. If you have swings, bassinets, toys, carriers, or any other expensive baby products in good condition, you can likely sell it and make good money.
For instance, a $220 Mamaroo can be sold online for $100. If any of these items came off your baby registry, you might even profit from these sales.
38. Musical equipment
Musical equipment in working condition that you no longer want has great resale value. If you are unable to sell it, consider donating to your local school or music program.
39. Things you forgot to return
Do you have a box full of things you forgot to return lurking in the back of your closet? If you haven’t passed the return deadline, get to it! If the deadline has passed, you can often sell items NWT (new with tags) close to cost.
When we hear the word décor, we think of the expression, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” If your décor is in perfect condition and no longer suits you or your new space, try selling it. You might be surprised to find out it’s exactly the thing someone else has been looking for.
41. Your car
If you are moving a plane ride away, you can save over $1,000 (transport, gas, lodging, etc.) by selling your car and buying a new one. If you go this route, make sure to protect yourself through the selling and buying process with vehicle registrations and other important car-related documents.
If you are selling your house, selling the appliances along with it is ideal if your buyers are interested.
43. House plants
This may surprise you, but well-cared-for house plants can actually be worth quite a bit of money. If you package them properly, you can ship them all over the country.
You can even sell them in Facebook groups. Make sure to use PayPal to protect yourself from any fraudulent buyers.
Perhaps you were gifted or inherited some fine china that no longer fits into your life. Maybe it never did and has been collecting dust for years. Well, we have some good news for you, china has great resale value.
45. Power tools
Fully functioning power tools that you no longer need also have an amazing resale value of 50-75% of market cost.
Still Scratching Your Head Unsure of What to Get Rid of?
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when you’re trying to decide what to get rid of. If you answer no, out it goes!
- Does it work properly?
- Does it have sentimental value?
- Have you used it in the past year?
- Is it cost-effective to move it?
If something is sentimental, you can also ask yourself where it will live, and if a picture of the item is enough. We wish you the best of luck with organizing your belongings and getting rid of anything that no longer suits you. Here’s to a successful and safe move.
If you're looking for more on how to get rid of the stuff fin your home, read our guide on where to donate household items.
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, it's tough to handle both the emotional and technical aspects of their unfinished business without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.