How To Declutter Before Moving

How To Declutter before Moving

It’s Monday and I am moving on Wednesday. Well, the way it works is that I take one large suitcase with me while the rest stays in my current place until the end of January. Although my new position is based half of the week in Milan and the other in Lugano, my main residence will be in Switzerland. I’ll have to wait until my prohibition period of one month will be over, before I can apply for my work and residence permit. Only then can I move all my belongings to Switzerland without having to pay import duty.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to declutter my belongings. I have so many things that I never use, but take up space and they always seem to be the things creating a mess. They are also the things that I find the hardest to declutter, but most of the things I took with me from London to Brussels and back, from London to Cologne and if I don’t sort them out now, I will take them to Lugano with me. To be fair: When I moved last year to Istanbul and put my belongings into storage, I decluttered a lot. I gave away so many of my clothes and shoes, at the time it was really hard for me and I felt very sad, but I can’t even remember what I donated or thrown away then. I am very emotionally attached to my belongings, I am actually more sad about the fact that I have to leave my almost walk-in wardrobe behind than saying goodbye to my family.

How to Declutter Before Moving /

1. Start with your wardrobe

Ladies, you have to be strict here. Start with everything that doesn’t fit you anymore and decide whether it’s going to the charity shop or straight into the bin. You didn’t wear that dress for a year? Be honest with yourself. You won’t wear it again, there is a reason why it stayed in your wardrobe for so long. Go and have a look through your shoe collection. Do you really need so many shoes? I bought lots of cheap shoes at Primark and H&M for work that have holes in the shoe sole and as they aren’t worth getting fixed, I throw them away. The rest can either be donated or be sold. You can then buy new shoes once you have moved. Simple! I also throw away any tights and socks with holes in them and underwear that I don’t wear anymore.

2.  Next comes the bookshelf 

I love a bookshelf full of books, the more the merrier. So when it comes to decluttering my bookshelf, I usually can only sort out 2-3 books at a time. This time I am not taking my books with me, they will be put into boxes and go into my grandmother’s basement. However, if you want to give away books you can either give them to friends and family or to the charity shop. Books are heavy, so every book you give away will make carrying boxes so much easier. Also, if you like me and collect old magazines, sort out any you don’t want anymore. I used to keep every single magazine I bought, but when I moved to another place in London I throw away all but my Glamour magazine collection. If you are as attached to books as I am, don’t feel too guilty if you have as many books after decluttering as you had before.

3. Documents and other paperwork

When I moved to Istanbul last year, I started sorting out all the letters, documents and other paperwork I have. I scanned every single paper and saved in a cloud with the exact name and date. Then I decided what was really necessary to keep and  the other papers I shredded. My life is so much easier now, when I need a document all I have to do is search it on GoogleDrive and instead of looking for it for hours, it only takes seconds.

4. Toiletries and make up

Having lots of toiletries and make up, is great, but when you move it really is time to sort out a few things. Last time I moved, I gave away so many of my products, it probably halved my collection. Do I miss any of the things I gave away? Not really. Last year I didn’t buy much make up or other products, so this time there isn’t much to declutter. When you move, you don’t need to take bottles of shampoo with you that are only half full. Of course, if it’s a high end product, keep it, but drugstore products can be given away or used up before you move. The same applies to make up. You haven’t used that eyeshadow for a year? How likely will it be, that you use it again? I also throw away any mascaras that I don’t use at the moment.

5. Everything else

Go through all your other belongings and be strict. If you have time, go through every single draw and get rid of everything you don’t need anymore. It will be much easier to unpack in your home when you only take the things you really need with you.

Do you have any decluttering tips? Is it easy for you to declutter or are you as attached to your belongings as I am?

How to Declutter Before Moving /


  1. January 4, 2016 / 9:17 pm

    I'm the same as you. I get so attached to my belongings. I recently did a declutter and I forced myself to sell all of my daughters' outgrown baby clothes. I don't know why I was keeping them. It was really hard to give them up though.

  2. January 5, 2016 / 8:41 am

    I wish I read this post before I moved house – you've got some great tips!

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